Making the Transition from Marketing to Sales

As a young marketing professional you most likely want to glean as much experience in your industry as possible.  In corporate settings we tend to start out as a marketing intern or analyst in one area of a company and move around internally while climbing the corporate ladder.  Within this time, destiny may have it that you transition from marketing to sales.  Speaking from experience, I started my marketing career as an intern at Consultants 2 Go (C2G) after graduating from Rutgers University in 2007. Two years later, I was placed on my first marketing consulting assignment at American Express and moved around internally for the next three years.  While my last assignment was winding down Sandi and Peggy asked me to join the C2G sales team.

I actually avoided sales positions because I knew there can be some challenges and stigmas associated with them.  Additionally, sales had never been a passion of mine, so this prospect sort of threw me for a loop.  I weighed my options for a few days and decided to move forward with the opportunity for a few reasons.  The most important being: personal growth (what new qualities would I discover about myself?) and career development (it never hurts to have sales/business development on your resume!).  I have been in my new role for about seven months now and can say I am a successful saleswoman.  So the question now is: How did I make a smooth transition from marketing to sales?  Here are four tips I recommend to anyone interested in making a transition:

Understand the essential difference between marketing and what your new role will be in sales.  Oftentimes marketing and sales are confused and thought to be the same function within a company.  To clarify, the marketing team works to create customers by determining strategy and developing sales support, like advertising and promotions.  The sales department works directly with customers as the face of the company to sell goods and/or services.  Both may have the word “customer” in their definition but the functions are different.  A few characteristics of a good salesperson are:  superior listening skills, a self-starter, an ability to identify opportunities, negotiating and most importantly closing deals.  Capable salespeople are a necessity to any successful business, so when making your transition remember your value to the company and the essential function you play.

Have an optimistic and goal-oriented mind.  Venturing into anything new deserves a fresh clear mindset allowing you to accept and receive what’s in store.  Also, create a list of short-term personal and financial goals for yourself that are separate from your company’s goals.  This is a great way to stay focused and ensure you stay motivated on an individual level while working as part of a larger team.

Maintain your network and relationships.  In the process of building your sales pipeline some of your best advocates and sponsors could be your past colleagues, friends or even family.  Depending on your industry they might be your first client or give you referrals and warm introductions.  Utilizing social media such as LinkedIn, Facebook and Instagram is a great way to keep in touch with your connections.

Have a qualified mentor in your corner.  Mentors can play an integral role in your success.  A good sales mentor should have solid experience and a proven track record in your sales industry.  They should be eager to show you the ropes while you are getting your feet wet and coach you along the way.

Every career move requires patience, dedication and hard work.  Similar to running a business, there is no cookie-cutter approach so it is important to stay open, positive and adapt to change quickly.

This week’s blog was written by Ediomi Utuk. Ediomi is a Sales Associate at C2G Resourcing, a subsidiary of Consultants 2 Go, LLC.  Prior to Ediomi’s current position, she was a C2G intern in 2007, and in 2009 became a valued Marketing consultant placed at American Express.