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How To Search For A Top Sales And Marketing Job

If you’re a top sales or marketing professional working in the business to business technology, manufacturing, healthcare or business services industries, I’ve got some advice for you on how to best go about optimizing your career search. I’m also going to talk about the job market now and the new way of looking for great positions which or often times not advertised. I’ll also give you a number of other tips and tricks regarding interviewing, résumé building techniques, and other useful ideas that I hope you will put to work in order to improve your ability to find that next great position that you’re thinking and dreaming about.

It’s a full employment economy

It’s no secret that the economy is fully employed right now with unemployment running less than 5% in most areas of the U.S. Most companies are finding that they are constrained to grow by the quality of the people that they can actually hire or recruit into their businesses. As a sales or marketing candidate, you need to recognize that times have changed. It’s a lot easier to make a move now than it was one or even two years ago, and certainly a lot easier than during the dotcom bubble back in 1999-2001. It’s a great time to be looking for a job as a sales and marketing executive, midlevel manager, or front-line sales or marketing contributor. All of the top people are working and that means that companies are starved for the kind of A-level talent that they need in order to grow their businesses. This bodes well for anyone who’s thinking about making a change or is initiating a new job search.

Have A Career Plan

If you’re a sales and marketing professional, you’ve worked in and around the planning process your entire career. It’s no secret that your ability to successfully deliver the numbers for your past employers has probably been predicated on having a sound strategy and knowing your plan of attack.

As you think about starting a career search, it’s absolutely critical that you also have a personal plan related to what it is you hope to accomplish, as you look for that next great position. Lots of people enter the job market with no specific strategy other than to prepare their résumé, post it on all of the major job sites, and start doing some networking. In order to be effective at your job search, you need to be a lot more systematic than that. I see sales and marketing executives come through my office on a regular basis who really don’t even know what they’re looking for. As a result of that, it’s very difficult for me to help them achieve their objectives.

Most people that you network with want to help you, but they want to know how they can help you. This is probably one of the biggest mistakes that I see people make when they start a new career search: not spending time to think through what it is that they want in their next career move. Before you pick up the phone, or post a résumé on any career websites, or start networking with people, start by setting aside some time for yourself to do some career planning. If you need help in this area, there are plenty of career counselors and there are also recruiting companies that help candidates to figure what it is that they want to do. There are also career guidance companies and also many great books, including What Color Is Your Parachute? which will help you go through a systematic process to figure out what it is that you want to be doing.

Sales/Marketing Career Planning Elements

What are the elements of career planning that you need to be thinking about? First of all, think about the kind of industry that you want to be in, and target the industries that interest you the most. If you don’t know what they are, go out and do some research to find out which industries are booming, have the best sustainable growth, and afford the advancement opportunities that you’re looking for. Information interviewing is perfect for this.

Second, think about the size of company that you want to go to work for. This is critical. Lots of people want to go to work in startups, but the fact is that if you’ve worked in a large company all your life, the prospect of getting that first job in a startup as a vice-president of sales and marketing is probably not very good. So think about the size of the company.

Third, think about the exact position that you’re looking for. I see lots of people who have done a little bit of everything, and as a result they say, “Oh I’m open to doing anything in sales and marketing.” Well that’s just not good enough. If you want help locating that next great job opportunity, you need to be able to visualize it in great detail and specify openly to people exactly what you’re looking for. That will give them the tools to help you go find a great job and lead you down the right path. Think also about other things like culture, compensation, geographic location (would you be willing to move or not). These are all considerations that most people really don’t give enough thought to before they initiate a career search.

If I have one piece of advise for you, if you’re looking for that next great sales and marketing job, it’s to take the time to create a plan, put it on paper, create a search summary (a one page document which you can use as an accompaniment to your résumé) and then think about taking your show on the road. If you do this, you’ll find that a lot more people that you’re networking with will be able to help you with concrete suggestions, as opposed to just sitting, listening, and empathizing with you as you think about your job search.

Great Salespeople Are In Very High Demand

Right now we have a full portfolio of clients that are desperately looking to add additional salespeople and sales management to their teams. There’s no question that the companies that are trying to grow are constrained by the number of salespeople they employ right now and they’re all out there competing for limited resources. Why? The limited resource is the salesperson that can consistently produce results. Of course everyone who’s worked in sales says that they can produce results, but we know better. The top producers are those who can actually show objective, consistent achievement or overachievement of their sales quotas, month-to-month and year-to-year. These people win sales awards, President’s Club and other types of recognition, proving that they are consistent top producers. These people are in short supply in this economy and are what everyone is looking for right now.

Wages are going up, particularly base salaries, and in addition to that, the top candidates are being more choosey about which opportunities they would be willing to consider. Many people stayed in the same job through the last several years struggling along, but being forced to keep their job because the economy was not doing very well. Now, as they think about busting out and moving to the next position, they want to make sure they’re actually upgrading their career and taking advantage of the job market to do so.

Companies that want to attract these candidates have to have a very compelling growth story, strong leadership, a strong culture, a compelling definition of the market opportunity, and competitive compensation.

If you’re a candidate and you’re thinking about making a move, it’s a great opportunity now to do so because there will be multiple companies that are chasing you. If you’re a job seeker, the number one thing for you to think about is back to what I mentioned previously: career planning. Make sure you really understand both the hard and the soft criteria which you will use to evaluate any opportunity, and really focus in on building a plan that pinpoints what it is that you want to be doing in your next career move.

Slashing Sales and Marketing Budgets May Be Just the Right Thing to Do

There is a widely accepted belief that “When times get tough the last thing a CEO wants to do is to slash his or her sales and marketing budgets.” After working as a Fortune company chief marketing officer and also as a consultant to dozens of Fortune 100s and hundreds of smaller companies (through two major recessions) I have come to conclude that this corporate old wives’ tale is a bunch of bunk.

When business times get tough (such as they are right now) CEOs and CFOs have to take a hard look at every one of their company’s business processes. They have to look at what each one of those processes costs. And then they have to take a hard look at what each one of those processes contributes to profits (or lack thereof). And, as they identify a process that costs more than it contributes to profits . . . they have to make some budget cuts. Sales and marketing budgets are no exception.

Of course, simply slashing budgets seldom saves a company. And it certainly does not prepare a foundation for restoring positive growth. Slashing budgets is a holding operation. It is an emergency step that may buy time while business process improvements that have potential to get the ship turned around can be made.

Taking a hard look at Sales and Marketing what many CFOs are confirming is that very few traditional Sales and Marketing processes are producing positive financial returns on the costs and expenses invested in them. As a result, CFOs are doing what they have to do. They are recommending slashing sales and marketing budgets.

In the face of budget cuts what most traditionally trained sales and marketing people are doing is continuing to do what they have traditionally done. But they are doing less of it. As a result, sales continue to decline and deteriorating financial situations continue to deteriorate.

What an increasing number of forward-looking CEOs are doing is stepping back to reassess their entire customer-facing business process (in which Sales and Marketing comprises only about one-third of the business process dots). They are redefining that process to include not only Sales and Marketing but also the functions that design and produce and deliver what their customers want. And, they are forming cross-functional sales and marketing business process improvement teams and they are providing them with the training and tools they need to connect the business process dots that Promise, Produce and Deliver what their customers want (and will pay for).

So, Mr. or Ms. CEO, slash your sales and marketing budgets if you must. But, by all means, move on to connect all of your business process dots that build customer bonds, increase sales and profits and build a foundation for quantum growth.

Sales and Marketing For Your Catering Business Start-Up

When working out a sales and marketing plan for your catering business start-up you first have to understand the market both in terms of the competition and what kinds of events local clients will require catering for. Before writing up your business plan you should look at how your future competitors are running their businesses and doing their marketing. By calling them up on the phone or even having a meeting with them you can get a fair idea about the marketing and sales methods that they are using.

From wedding catering to social events, the various catering market segments that you could target are almost endless. Look for market segments in which you have strengths in which you feel are currently not being serviced sufficiently by your competitors. If you do take on one of the larger segments of the market such as corporate catering you should try to define your unique selling proposition or how you will differentiate your company from your competitors.

Get a branding strategy together and create some promotional materials including business cards, a website and brochures showing off some of your menus and photos from previous events that you have organized.

Work out a sales process right from the point of first contact with the customer through to closing the deal and test various aspects of it until you find the most successful process. Try to relate to your customers by imagining yourself being in the same busy situation that they are in. When you meet with clients don’t forget to take along some samples of your food for them to try. When it has become clear that you have a new client, try to up sell them on more profitable menu items or additional services.

Test a variety of advertising methods, starting with the methods that other caterers in your city are using. It is also important to realize that a large part of your business will come through word of mouth referrals. How successful you are in getting referrals from your existing customers will depend on how good they perceived your catering services to be.

Successful caterers realize that while it is important to focus on the food side of the business it is even more important to focus on the marketing side to have a steady stream of prospective clients coming in all the time. By fine-tuning your marketing and sales for your catering business start-up you will be setting yourself up for a great deal of success.