How Digital Media Account Executive Sells

<How to Sell Digital Media>

While working as a digital marketing professional, I have been aiming to study the digital media seller program set by the IAB. During the study and preparation on becoming a certified digital media seller, I came to aware that much of the digital account executives perform these set routines. (Well, not exactly 100% of the procedures are followed, but most of them are similar.)

The process of selling digital media seemed at first bit too rigid, but the inner working of these procedures made logical sense. Six major steps are important to follow, but do note that few steps can be skipped than most others. For example, negotiation part maybe longer and somewhat of art, rather than procedure process. While prospecting for new customers can be utilized effectively for increasing sales effort for even marketing professional.

The six major steps of selling media to a client as follow:
A) Prospect for New Customers
B) Conduct Need Assessment
C) Align Digital Advertising Products with Client Objectives
D) Comprehend Internal and Third Party Research
E) Generate Proposal
F) Negotiate Digital Media Insertion Order (IO)

A) Prospect for New Customers

  1. Typically, digital media seller first select prospecting tools, identify potential prospects.
  2. They research prospect business and research prospect industries using some tool like:
    – Competitive reporting
    – Trade Publication
    – Search Engines
    – News Alerts
    – Advertising Lists/Databases
    – Company or Industry Website
    Knowing competitive information, financial data, industry news and client data can gain prospects effectively.

B) Conduct Need Assessment

Sales person would need to:

  1. Define the client’s historical buying habits
  2. Research the client’s buying process.
  3. Identify the client’s objective
  4. Prioritize the client’s objective

Common advertisers’ objective are:

  • Increase targeted traffic to a brand site
  • Increase sales (Increase sales online & offline)
  • Increase brand perception
  • Drive loyalty
  • Social Activation
  • Promote a new product or service
  •  Steal market share from a computer

After gathering all necessary information, secure a request for proposal (RFP). Referral for proposal should have the following criteria:

  • Specific objectives for the client’s need
  • Parameters
  • Budgets/Costs client can use

C) Align Digital Advertising Products with Client Objectives

In this section, the digital media sales professional should be able to:
– Identify client’s digital media marketing objectives
– Identify client’s creative assets
– Identify digital platforms available for the campaign

Then the digital media seller should be:
– determine digital advertising product recommendations that align with the client’s objectives, assets and expectations for the campaign.
– Select targeting solutions
– identifying applicable digital media technology
– confirm technical capability among systems

D) Comprehend Internal & Third Party Research

Prior to proposal generation, the digital media seller should be able to:
1. Articulate raw data points from independent & internal research resources
2. Identify the client’s budget
3. Identify the client’s metrics

Most digital media sales professional knows and have working knowledge on:
– Market Research
– Audience Reach Measurement
– Audience Composition
– Ad Effectiveness
– Retail Tracking Data

Preparing tools used by the seller and buyers include:
– Market Research
– Audience Research Measurement
– Audience Composition

For the post-campaign tolls that track the ROI on a specific campaign, you should use:
– Ad Effectiveness
– Retail Tracking Data

E) Generate Proposal

To evaluate the client’s RFP effectively, the digital media buyer needs to:
– Obtain digital media pricing
– Evaluate digital media pricing model (ex: Performance-based vs Fixed)
– Obtain digital media budget levels

F) Negotiate Digital Media Insertion Order


Usually it takes few days to few weeks in closing a digital media sales deal.
– Make sure that the pricing are firm.
– Check the budget & inventory availability
– Reconfirm the client’s campaign objective and parameters
– Check terms & agreements/conditions
– General standard terms and conditions should be evaluated.

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