What is sales and marketing?
Sales and marketing involve putting products and services into the hands of customers in a profitable way. Sales includes the activities related to selling a product or service for money. Marketing means analyzing the needs of potential customers, developing a product to meet those needs, and connecting buyers and sellers.
What kinds of positions are available in the sales and marketing industry?
- Advertising manager
- Advertising account executive
- Account executive
- Business development
- Product manager
- Public relations director
- Sales associate
- Sales consultant
- Sales representative
- Sales manager
- Marketing coordinator, manager or director
- Marketing consultant
- Territory manager
- Manufacturer’s representative
- Inside/Outside sales representative
- Graphic designer
What skills do I need to begin a sales and marketing career?
Most of the skills required for success in a sales and marketing career are the same as those required in any industry. But, generally speaking, you may want to focus on the following qualities:
- Brainstorming – whether you want a creative role like graphic design or a more sales-focused position like account executive, brainstorming can help you come up with creative solutions for problems
- Relationship building
- Information technology – contact/customer relationship management systems, presentation software, office applications, order tracking, web analytics, etc.
- Selling (even marketers need a good understanding of selling)
- Marketing (even sales people need to work with marketing strategies)
- Product knowledge – you’ll need to understand the products you sell or promote
- Customer knowledge – to convince people to buy, you’ll need to understand their needs and the problems they solve by buying
- Trend spotting
- Planning – identifying opportunities, developing strategies, and implementing solutions
- Presenting – public speaking, making sales presentations and pitching marketing strategies and creative work
How much will I make?
Sales and marketing jobs span a wide range of opportunities. As a result, junior sales associates in retail stores may make minimum wage while vice-presidents in software companies earn $150,000 or more a year. Marketing can see the same discrepancy. However, many CEOs and senior managers come from sales and marketing backgrounds, showing the sky’s the limit.
Sales professionals often receive a base salary plus commission or large bonuses for meeting goals. Depending on the industry and position, it may take up to several months before you build a “sales pipeline” of customers willing to buy. In those cases, employers usually provide a training wage or higher base salary for that time period.
In addition to your wages, many employers offer competitive benefits packages that include medical and dental plans, discounts on merchandise purchases and perqs or bonuses.