Borrell Examines Account Executive Compensation
May 30, 2013 at 3:55 AM (PT)
BORRELL has released the third in a series of surveys examining account executive (AE) compensation issues for digital ad sales executives in various media. The company notes they "first surveyed sales managers on these issues in AUGUST 2009, then repeated it in NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2011 (reported in JANUARY 2012). Our latest survey was conducted in APRIL and MAY 2013."
Participants were solicited through BORRELL ASSOCIATES’ client base, as well as through promotions by the RADIO ADVERTISING BUREAU, LOCAL MEDIA ASSOCIATION and LOCAL SEARCH ASSOCIATION. Question wording and issues evolved over time, so not all questions were identical. The survey was conducted online. For the 2013 survey, 220 media executives responded to the interview solicitation. One-third were from newspaper companies, 56% from broadcasting, 12% from Yellow Pages, and 4% from Internet pureplays.
The survey found that hiring and training sales reps has become a top priority in the local media industry. Everyone seems to be competing for that coveted digital-savvy rep or manager who can help drive online revenue. BORRELL's latest survey of sales executives shows just how important they can be. Local media companies with digital-only reps:
* Average twice the online revenue of those without digital reps.
* Have a sales staff that exhibits greater ability to consult with and educate advertisers
* Have a sales staff with stronger capabilities to understand and sell digital products
Not everyone's on board though. Writes BORRELL, "Our survey found several managers who haven’t boarded the digital bandwagon. 'We should be focusing on our strength, audio advertising,' one radio manager commented, 'not selling our clients the pipe dream of 'interactivity' that digital has promised but seldom delivers.' It’s a minority opinion, but certainly represents a sibling rivalry occurring in local media families where the cute digital brother gets all the attention.
The survey did find that hiring digital sales reps is on the upswing again. "Our first survey in 2009 revealed that 60% of respondents had at least one rep whose sole focus was digital products. By 2011 the recession had cut that figure to 46%. Our latest survey shows 62% of sales managers in newspapers, radio, TV and Yellow Pages companies reporting that they employ digital-only reps. But it’s not a lot. Two-thirds of those respondents said they have no more than two. There appears to be formidable competition from online pureplay companies like YODLE, PANDORA, YELP, REACHLOCAL and others. The pureplay managers in our 2013 survey reported an average starting salary of $54,100 for reps, which is about 50% higher than what TV, newspaper and radio managers were offering."