Advertising sales agents sell advertising space to businesses and individuals.
What they do
Advertising sales agents, also called advertising sales representatives, sell advertising space to businesses and individuals. They contact potential clients, make sales presentations, and maintain client accounts.
Advertising sales agents typically do the following:
- Locate and contact potential clients to offer their firm’s advertising services
- Explain to clients how specific types of advertising will help promote their products or services in the most effective way
- Provide clients with estimates of the costs of advertising products or services
- Process all correspondence and paperwork related to accounts
- Prepare and deliver sales presentations to new and existing clients
- Inform clients of available options for advertising art, formats, or features and provide samples of previous work for other clients
- Deliver advertising or illustration proofs to clients for approval
- Prepare promotional plans, sales literature, media kits, and sales contracts
- Recommend appropriate sizes and formats for advertising
Advertising sales agents work outside the office occasionally, meeting with clients and prospective clients at their places of business. Some may make telephone sales calls as well—calling prospects, attempting to sell the media firm’s advertising space or time, and arranging follow-up appointments with interested prospects.
Selling can be stressful because income and job security depend directly on agents’ ability to keep and expand their client base. Companies generally set monthly sales quotas and place considerable pressure on advertising sales agents to meet those quotas.
Getting new accounts is an important part of the job, and agents may spend much of their time traveling to and visiting prospective advertisers and maintaining relationships with current clients.
How to become an Advertising Sales Agent
Although a high school diploma is typically enough education for an entry-level advertising sales position, some employers prefer applicants with a bachelor’s degree. Sales and communication skills are essential. Most training for advertising sales agents takes place on the job.
Although a high school diploma is typically the minimum education requirement for an entry-level advertising sales position, some employers prefer applicants with a college degree. Publishing companies with large circulations and broadcasting stations with a large audience typically prefer workers with a college degree. Courses in marketing, communications, business, and advertising are helpful. For those who have a proven record of successfully selling other products, educational requirements are not likely to be strict.
Most training takes place on the job and can be either formal or informal. In the majority of cases, an experienced sales manager instructs a newly hired advertising sales agent who lacks sales experience.
The median annual wage for advertising sales agents was $53,310 in May 2019. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $25,390, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $118,300.
Employment of advertising sales agents is projected to decline 6 percent from 2019 to 2029.
Media companies will continue to rely on advertising revenue for profitability. However, employment of advertising sales agents will largely follow broader industry trends, and several of the industries that employ large numbers of these workers are projected to decline. For example, employment in newspaper publishers is expected to decline, although some of this decline may be offset by the sale of digital ads on newspaper websites.
An increasing amount of advertising is expected to be concentrated in digital media, including online video ads, search engine ads, and other digital ads intended for cell phones or tablet-style computers.
Similar Job Titles
Account Manager, Accounts Executive, Accounts Manager, Advertising Account Executive, Advertising Account Representative, Advertising Consultant, Advertising Representative, Advertising Sales Representative (Ad Sales Representative), Marketing Consultant, Sales Representative
Copy Writer, Travel Guide, Travel Agent, Real Estate Broker, Real Estate Sales Agent
The trade associations listed below represent organizations made up of people (members) who work and promote advancement in the field. Members are very interested in telling others about their work and about careers in those areas. As well, trade associations provide opportunities for organizational networking and learning more about the field’s trends and directions.
- American Advertising Federation - The American Advertising Federation protects and promotes the well-being of advertising. This is accomplished through a unique, nationally coordinated grassroots network of advertisers, agencies, media companies, local advertising clubs and college chapters. Students, college chapter memberships are available. As well, check out AAF’s abundant student resources.
- American Association of Advertising Agencies - This organization is dedicated to, and vested in, their members’ success, just as members are dedicated to helping brands create, distribute, and measure effective and insightful advertising and marketing. This organization champions the infinite power of creativity and value agencies bring in driving business growth and powerful cultural change. High School Programs in NYC are available.
- News Media Alliance - This organization prides itself on being the voice of the news media industry, empowering members to succeed in today’s fast-moving media environment. Its members represent nearly 2,000 diverse news organizations in the United States—from the largest news groups and international outlets to hyperlocal news sources, from digital-only and digital-first to print news.
- Outdoor Advertising Association of America - The Out of Home Advertising Association of America (OAAA) is the lead trade association of the $8 billion US out of home (OOH) advertising industry, including digital out of home (DOOH). OAAA is the unified voice of the industry, an authoritative thought leader, and a passionate advocate that protects, unites, and advances OOH advertising in the United States. Educational Resources are available for students of the field.
People in sales careers often talk about the thrill of “closing a deal”— that point when customers commit to buying whatever they’re selling. Advertising sales agents sell advertising space to businesses and individuals to expand the public’s awareness of products and services. They sell ads for online and print editions of publications such as newspapers and magazines, radio, television, billboards, and more. Because their income and job security both depend on it, these sales agents invest a lot of their time building relationships with their customers. They research and analyze clients’ needs, and prepare creative, persuasive materials to encourage them to buy advertising. Many need to meet sales goals, so are continuously on the lookout for sources of new clients, making phone calls and office visits to interest them in advertising. Agents need to keep detailed contact and communication records, and be prepared to draft advertising contracts for clients. They also need to represent their employer reliably and answer any questions a client may have. Good communication skills are essential for the field. Most advertising sales agents work full time, but many work weekends and holidays, or irregular schedules. Most entry-level positions require a bachelor’s degree in a field such as marketing or communications, and a proven record of success in sales.
Content retrieved from: US Bureau of Labor Statistic www.bls.gov/ooh,
CareerOneStop www.careeronestop.org, O*Net Online www.onetonline.org