When a recent or soon-to-be college graduate who also wants to go into marketing asks me for advice, I tell most of them the same thing – start in sales.

When B2B marketers well into their careers ask me where they should focus their learning time, I point them to some of my favorite sales blogs, books and speakers.

If you’re working in marketing today, spend as much time as possible with your sales team – literally amidst them.

Sit with your inside sales team for a day – watching, listening, learning.

At your next trade show, shadow your sales reps for their biz dev meetings and appointments.

Invite yourself to join your field sales team on the road.

Ask questions.  But also shut up and watch.

The more you learn sales, the better you’ll be at marketing.

Worst case, watch.  Best case, participate.

Pick up the phone and call your own leads.  Answer prospect questions and objections at the trade show booth.

If only for a month or quarter, give yourself a quota and go after it.

Who knows, you might catch a few deals.  And you’ll definitely become a better marketer.

  • Completely agree, If you want to be a better marketer than sales is the place you should start with. From my personal experience, I started in field sales 8 years back and after working for almost 3 years in sales, I switched to digital marketing and today i am better in understanding and analyzing my target audience than my other team members. Sales teaches you to understand the needs of a particular client and how to pitch your product or service that will solve that particular need. Once you master that art, you can sell or market anything to anyone.

  • rosemary lafferty

    Totally agree. The sales team are more likely to listen to what you have you say as a marketing person when they realise you understand what it is like to be a sales person. Also your marketing strategies will be very sales focussed – you know that marketing is no use unless it is driving a prospect closer to a sale in some way