Nick Martucci and I met through LinkedIn, when we were both looking to expand our network. With over nine years of digital experience, Nick has worked at agencies like Ogilvy and TBWA. After taking on a sales role in NYC, he transitioned back to agency life, and is currently the Director of Client Engagement at SYZYGY, a WPP company. This week, he brings us a Guest Pro Email highlighting the unspoken value of a sales role in the industry, and how it applies to working in an agency. I'll let Nick explain.
Sales isn't always associated with a career in advertising. In the industry, sales jobs are typically found at media and technology companies focused on selling ad space or an ad product to agencies and brands. But sales today is much more than selling ad inventory. The market is oversaturated, so sales reps have to be more knowledgeable—they need to know their competition, their client's competition, the client's audience, and have distinct unique selling points. Here are a few reasons why working in sales is valuable experience for those in advertising. Because the concept of creating and pitching ideas to a brand is a “sale”—it’s just rarely positioned that way.
Sell me this pen. But do your research first.
Some might associate sales as a glorified 9 to 5, with an expense account for rooftop happy hours, ball games, and custom shopping experiences. What you don’t see is all the hard work and rejection that goes into securing those meetings with agencies and brands. Each connection, if done correctly, requires research before making contact. Getting to know the individual, but also understanding their company, product, and competitors is crucial before making initial contact. It's very much like the deep dive agencies do on clients they're pitching. The more you know about them, the more effective you'll be at selling your product or idea.
Diversity of experience.
Some worry that working in sales will limit their future opportunities. But the proper sales role can provide you with diverse experience that employers like to see. Whether your product is channel-specific or multi-channel, having a comprehensive knowledge of how it integrates with all channels is not only key to successfully selling it, but also helps you see the larger consumer ecosystem. The same can be said for cross-device ad products. The more devices you work with, the better insight you'll have of how consumers are using them. Lastly, based on how the company is structured, sales reps may be given the opportunity to work on brands across multiple industries, which helps prepare you to handle clients in different verticals at an agency.
Handshakes are priceless.
You can't put a price on the network of industry contacts you’ll make in sales. While securing phone calls and meetings isn't easy, the payoff is worth the effort. With the proper approach, you'll connect with brand and agency leaders, who can be beneficial contacts in the future. You’re also in a position that requires you to stay connected to new and emerging companies within tech, brands and agencies.
Remember that the handshakes are only invaluable if you leave a lasting impression. You won't always close the sale, but you can always build a relationship if you're honest and respectful. After a connection is made, be sure to stay in touch. People frequently change companies, and their next position may be a better fit for your product—or your next job opportunity.
Sales can be a valuable career option for working in the advertising industry, but asking the right questions during the interview process is crucial. Once you find a company you believe in, are passionate about, and that challenges you, don’t lose sight of the big picture. With the right company, dedication and focus, one sales role can provide a wealth of experience—and set you up to bring a unique perspective to any agency or brand you work for in the future.