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The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) is adding a new standard for digital salespeople through its new Digital Media Sales Certification.

We interviewed Jennifer Deutsch, Director of Professional Development, on the new program and how professionals will benefit from this certification.

Why is it important for digital media sales professionals to be certified? 

Every digital publisher needs a strong sales force. That sales force is challenged by the constant struggle to keep up with emerging innovations and best practices in digital. In our recent IAB Ad IQ Survey, we found that many professionals on both the sell-side and buy-side have varying levels of knowledge. So depending on how much they know about the industry, digital sales executives might be uncomfortable talking about digital media, and hence less qualified to capture secure media dollars. 

The certification can allow digital publishers to understand how well their sales teams understand digital media, and how their companies’ offerings fit into the industry. The certification also serves as a tool for training junior staff, and more seasoned sales professionals who are migrating from traditional media—or even other industries—into digital. Hopefully, it will also help spur sales staff to seek out the knowledge that can empower them to perform better. 

What benefits would certification give to digital media sales professionals? For example, in their current job or for future positions? 

For those who already know everything they need to know about the digital world, the certification was designed to showcase their proficiency in the field. It is a badge of credibility that will help employers, clients, and future employers know, at a glance, that they have the capacity to navigate the digital media landscape. It can help boost confidence in their jobs, and help advance their careers.

For those who need to deepen their knowledge of digital, then training for and then taking the certification exam can allow them to grow as sales professionals, and make it easier to perform their jobs and advance in their careers.

Professionals who take the certification now also have the opportunity to be among the first in their field to demonstrate that they are at the top of their profession. Since everyone is aware that digital media sales professionals have varying levels of knowledge about the industry, being certified allows you to show how you’re outperforming your peers, and can give you a competitive edge in the job market. 

Why did the IAB create the Digital Media Sales Certification? 

Without a set of industry-accepted standards around the knowledge, skills, and capabilities that digital media sales professionals need to succeed, it is impossible for sales teams to do their jobs and generate more demand for digital media as a whole. But there hasn’t been a baseline for knowledge, and training standards don’t yet exist for digital—our world doesn’t have a Bar exam or a Series 7. 

Having already set many of the standards for the digital world, it made sense for the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) to launch the IAB Digital Media Sales Certification program to ensure there could be a standard for sales professionals in our industry to understand what they need to know for their jobs. 

Who has been involved in developing the Certification exam content and program?

In addition to the significant resources IAB has contributed to this program, we’ve been fortunate to have the backing of the industry. The certification’s Founding Commission is chaired by Scott Schiller at NBCUniversal, and includes leading companies in the field such as Univision Interactive Media, 24/7 Media Inc., Time Inc., Mojiva, Microsoft Advertising, Triad Retail Media, and Yahoo!, plus several other partners who helped develop the certification exam.

How would companies benefit from certifying their digital media sales professionals? 

The certification can allow companies to better understand how well their existing staff and potential new candidates understand digital media, and whether they need more training to optimally perform their jobs. 

Who should take part in the Certification program?

The certification was designed for digital media sales professionals with at least two years of digital sales experience, or the educational equivalent. For more details, potential candidates should visit the certification site, or contact certification@iab.net. 

Econsultancy has been selected by the IAB to provide training for this new certification program. To find out more about this course visit the training page.

Alexander Lund

Published 17 July, 2012 by Alexander Lund

Alex is Marketing Manager at Econsultancy's US offices in New York. Connect with him on Twitter or LinkedIn.

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