Media Agencies – will you hire Media Sales People?

We have recently placed a media salesman at a leading agency. He goes to them with a wealth of experience across the print and digital markets, he’s a brilliant presenter, has full understanding of the changing marketplace dynamics and opportunities, and can sell to clients. The agency took some convincing before they would consider a sales person for the role but soon realised that his skills were transferrable and what he could bring to their business was something a pure media agency person couldn’t.
We have had other success stories – mainly placing TV sales people in AV roles at agencies where skills are more obviously transferrable, but not without a little bit of gentle persuasion at the agency end from us.

Media sales has changed over the last 10 years with a much more in-depth and strategic understanding of the media market place and analysis of research being required and there is more focus on detailed client servicing. More skills are transferrable to agency roles.
Agencies also have more focus on new business development and finding opportunities to drive commerciality for the agency especially through cross sell of group services.

Aside from junior/entry level positions, almost all the job specs we receive from agencies still state that candidate must have media agency experience.
Could they be missing an opportunity? Let us know what you think!