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.