Remember that post of mine on how sales is from Mars and marketing is from Venus? The Fox School of Business at Temple University invited me to moderate a panel of marketing and sales practitioners today. The goal: to illustrate the differences between a career in marketing and one in sales.
Before today I thought I was an odd duck. A corporate career in marketing started in the nonprofit world and carried on in 5 different industries and companies as diverse as you could imagine. Plus, a degree in linguistics to start with. I was not alone.
My colleagues, all from quite well respected companies in financial services, consumer products, and start ups, had as varied a history. Two of them ran their own consulting companies at various times throughout their careers. The one representative from sales also had a background in marketing and had started several BtoB ventures in the past. College degrees ranged from the classic MBA to less obvious courses of studies in psychology and anthropology.
We talked about every aspect of marketing, including the importance of quantitative skills and understanding of psychology for some types of jobs. As for sales: they just want to make more money and be left alone, as long as they meet their quota. There is some truth to that. A long time friend used to say that he sold out when he switched from marketing and communications to sales.
These days there seem to be plenty of young people wanting to jump into marketing. I attend the Wharton Marketing conference in the fall and I know several consumer products companies recruit actively there. What career would you recommend to a young MBA graduate: marketing or sales? Why?