Whichever sector of the industry you work in media sales positions have a number of common requirements. You will:
- be expected to meet activity targets for calls, meetings and be able to plan
your selling and non-selling time effectively
- have to achieve (or preferably exceed!) sales targets within time deadlines and
to agreed rates
- need to be aware of team targets and go the extra mile to contribute if others
are not meeting their numbers
- have to have great customer service skills and naturally go beyond
expectations, be an excellent relationship-builder
- have exceptional written and oral presentation skills
- have to ensure that your sales data is accurate and complete - no one will
thank you if you make a lot of money but there's no email address or
telephone number on file for your key contact!
- need to be meticulous - whether that's checking advert copy and compliance
to codes of practice if relevant, or making sure the right carpet and furniture are
ordered for an exhibition stand...
- need to ensure your product knowledge is second-to-none and your awareness
of competitors is current and comprehensive, knowing your market and looking
for sources of new business
- be constantly developing your understanding of your customers and their
needs to identify further sales opportunities
The specific role in which you first start your career in media sales will depend on the sector.
www.mediasalesjobs.co.uk – your guide to a career in media sales
For sale by owner
In publishing (national press, magazines etc) or online, you will generally start selling classified advertising over the telephone. A typical entry level position may be selling recruitment advertising.
You will be targeted with a certain number of calls a day - tracked in different ways - you may have to achieve a set level of 'dials' or a minimum number of conversations with decision makers, or both.
At entry level, there's no way round it, you're going to be on the phone... a lot. However if you hit your targets, you'll move onto face-to-face meetings before you know it. Your role becomes more creative as you handle larger accounts with more complex needs, selling display advertisements and more comprehensive solutions - advertorial, cross-platform solutions and more...
Roll up, roll up
Event sales will start similarly - you'll be on the phone selling delegate places to conferences for a while before you progress to selling exhibition stands and sponsorship packages.
You could then find yourself developing bespoke events based on your clients' needs - we know a guy in his mid-20's who launched a sailing regatta for his top tier clients as a networking event - he has a week of sun and fun each summer in glorious St Tropez and yes, it's work, so it's fully expensed!
White with sugar?
In other sectors such as TV or outdoor, your first job will be mainly administrative working as a team co-ordinator or assistant.
With such big budgets and high profile clients, you learn the ropes by supporting the senior team members with market research, data crunching and preparation of presentations.
You will also be a point of contact with clients for basic support, bookings and general queries.
Again, it isn't necessarily going to be very long before you're handling clients yourself - and in all sectors, there's no dead man's shoes to worry about - good people are recognised and rewarded fast.