Ad sales managers speak out

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Ad Age interviewed some Internet sales managers to find out what was important to them in putting together a team of sales reps.

Anna Zornosa
Title: Senior VP-ad sales and affiliate development at PointCast
Background: Editor in chief and then publisher of CommunicationsWeek magazine; associate publisher of PC Magazine.
Comments: Ms. Zornosa said out of the 10 outside sales reps she's hired, the majority hail from high-tech print sales. In addition to having a grasp on the technology to demonstrate the PointCast product, sales reps from high-tech magazines are used to selling media in a vertical niche. "You have to be skilled in explaining a complex sale," she added.
Rick Boyce
Title: Senior VP-advertising and commerce, Wired Digital
Background: 10 years working in ad agencies, most recently as associate media director at Hal Riney & Partners, San Francisco.
Comments: "Of 30, we only have three people who joined us with prior Internet experience," he said, noting that only in the past six months has he been able to find qualified Web sales reps.

"We pulled people from local radio, national magazines, national TV and ad agencies, and we've hired a lot of entry-level people. What we found is that because the Web as a medium is a mosaic--sometimes it feels like radio, sometimes it feels like print or TV--this aggregation of different experiences has made our sales staff stronger."

Three sales reps at Wired Digital are from radio backgrounds. "One of the reasons I liked radio is because there's virtually not a radio station in the world that's a must-buy; it's highly fragmented, like the Web space."

Mark Mariani
Title: Exec VP, SportsLine USA
Background: Over 17 years in broadcasting, most recently as Exec VP-Turner Broadcasting.
Comments: "More than anything else, we look for strategically minded, aggressive media sales people. . . . When hiring, we don't want salespeople to be stuck in one area but rather look for those who have experience across the board--a little of everything and no one thing. However, every day the online model sounds and looks a lot more like the broadcast industry. ... Putting together a sales force we like to think of as assembling not a marching band, but an orchestra."
Paul DeBraccio
Title: VP-group advertising director, Tripod
Background: VP-ad sales at GeoCities and several years in publishing, most recently as group director of corporate sales at Conde Nast.
Comments: "I can equate a lot of Web sites with magazines. I|found that sales knowledge is more important than technical knowledge."

Forming sales teams, "I look at basic advertising discipline backgrounds." Even with seasoned Web reps, "The most experience they could have possibly had is a year and a half."

Copyright March 1998, Crain Communications Inc.

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