Sales agent’s in the film and TV industry main task is to help you sell your project to distributors, TV networks, airlines, hotel chains, and any other outlets that screen films and shows.
The sales agent is the middle man between the production and the people exhibiting the content and usually can get to places a filmmaker cannot get to or knows decision-makers the filmmaker doesn’t know.
You certainly don’t need a sales agent if you are taking the creative distribution path. With creative distribution, you can upload your film/content to all/any of the VOD platforms yourself without having someone charge you money for doing that.
Sales agents usually take their films catalogues to various film markets around the world, where buyers gather and try to sell your film either in bulk (with other similar films), or as an independent product (depending on how strong your film performed at the festival circus, or whether you have any celebrities attached to your film).
The sales agent is not going to help you promote your film, so if this is what you need, you will be disappointed. It’s simply not their job. Their job is to get the best possible deal for your film. Remember, the better the deal, the more money they will also earn.
VOD platforms are slowly taking over the traditional distribution, and the role of a sales agent is slowly going to lose influence over certain markets and as I said, you don’t need a sales agent, if you are taking the VOD route. Working with a sales agent doesn’t mean that you cannot creatively distribute your film as well. You may want to choose to work with the sales agent for certain markets, while you choose to cover the VOD platforms yourself, or together with your team.