Lemons to Lemonade: Why I Loved Starting My Marketing Career in Sales
Right out of college, even with multiple internships and freelance work under my belt, I didn't have the long term experience to be picky about positions. Like many other fresh graduates in my situation, sales roles were a scary boogeyman in the job market.
Looking back, I am so thankful for having the start to my career in a sales environment. Here's what I gained the most from my time in sales.
1. I Beefed My Skills Up
For any marketing professional that is dying to sink their teeth into creative work and hands on digital experience, sales might seem like the complete opposite direction for a career path. The thing is, sales can teach you some of the most versatile and transferrable skills that can apply to any industry.
Communication, closing skills, working under pressure, and bringing in results are just some of the major take aways from my experience. Let me stress here that I am by no means the "sales dog" type. Going into a sales environment was completely out of my comfort zone. But at the end of the day, it grew me to be a sharper professional that can better understand people and businesses as a whole.
2. I Met Amazing People
A huge plus of sales is networking. In this line of work you're going to find business owners to expand your professional network as well as for like-minded professionals. Sales attracts some of the hardest working and fun individuals out there. The phrase "work hard play hard" often applies to sales environments because of these personalities.
I was able to find amazing friends from these co-workers, especially in my own boss. The president of the company as well as my direct supervisor became personal friends that celebrated my career choices, even when that meant leaving the company.
3. I Gained New Confidence
I'll be honest, my journey through sales did not have a pretty start. But after some rejections and practice, I was closing in no time. Once you get some traction, there's really nothing that bothers you anymore. You become a more confident interviewee for future positions, you don't have any trouble talking to new people, and you can handle rejection professionally.
4. I Made New Work for Myself
Like I mentioned, I was able to get really close with my management. Forever a freelancer at heart, I was able to sell creative services to my boss for the firm. It built out my portfolio, and I had a chance to test out new skills. Having experience in a sales environment really helps out your side gigs, too. I had the know-how and sales savvy-ness to expand my client base and charge more for my work. In college, I was willing to do any work for any price (sometimes free of charge) if it meant filling up my portfolio. When I got into sales, I realized I could charge based on my worth because of client needs.
For anyone looking to gain valuable professional experience in any industry, but especially marketing, I highly suggest starting in sales. You'll learn so much about yourself along the way. You might just have the amazing people skills to climb sales ranks and become an executive. Or you might do what I did an soak it up like a sponge, ready to take it to my next role.