Post-MBA Careers: Sales and Marketing
Last updated on June 25th, 2013
“The sole purpose of marketing is to sell more to more people, more often and at higher prices. There is no other reason to do it.” Sergio Zyman
Marketing and sales are the lifeblood of any business – no company can do without them. These are two of the most popular post-MBA career tracks and their scope is quite wide:
These are the ‘hunters’, the folks whose primary responsibility is to generate new business for the organization. They engage in activities ranging from lead generation to cold calls and meetings with prospects to deliver their pitch. Rapport building between the sales person and the prospect is of utmost importance in closing any deal. For the same reason, it is difficult to break into a sales/BD role in a culture or geography you are completely unfamiliar with, even if you are armed with a top MBA degree.
KRA: Business generated
Industries:All organizations, irrespective of industry and domain, have sales/BD teams.
Account Managers are the ‘farmers’, the folks who generate additional business from existing clients. Their key responsibilities include client engagement and identification of new ways to sell the company’s services/products to these clients. They are also responsible for understanding the clients’ requirements and tailoring the company’s offerings to suit the client’s needs.
KRAs: Client satisfaction, retention and the additional business generated from client
Industries: Technology, pharma, automobiles, manufacturing, entertainment etc.
This is one of the most coveted marketing roles, mostly because of the associated glamour and money. Brand managers are responsible for increasing the brand’s customer mindshare, and for driving the brand equity and recall. Brand managers work collaboratively with people across the board: product developers, market researchers, creative agencies, internal marketing communication teams etc.
Brand managers require a minute understanding of the market their brand operates in, and of trends in customer preferences. Therefore, getting a brand management role in an entirely new geography after your MBA can be tricky unless you have an excellent track record in the area.
KRAs: Brand performance & growth
Industries: Consumer packaged goods (CPG), consumer electronics, automobile and other consumer-oriented industries.
Involves the management of the entire lifecycle of a product from conception to rollout. Therefore, unlike brand managers, product managers are more involved with designing the product features and specifications, in addition to setting deadlines for various stages of completion.
This is an interdisciplinary role that involves coordinating between the business development team and the product development team. The scope of a product manager’s work ranges from market analysis to product feature definition. A product manager is often responsible for the P&L of his/her product.
KRAs: Cost & time of product rollout, product performance & growth, product ROI
This is a more evolved form of product management. These 2 roles are not often separated in smaller companies. As the name suggests, the key responsibility of a product marketer is to act as an evangelist for the product. He/she is not involved in the product development. The scope of product marketing ranges from product strategy and positioning, pricing, driving awareness, helping buyers with information and post-launch customer interaction.
KRAs: Coverage in press/brand buzz generated, Investors’/partners’ interest/enquiry
Is all about finding out more about the customers and the competition, and is one of the first activities conducted before launching a new product, introducing a new channel or entering a new geography. Periodic market research is also required for companies to keep updated about the scenario in which they operate and to determine the direction they need to take.
Market research can be primary or secondary, traditional or digital, quantitative or qualitative. The work of a market researcher involves quite a bit of data analysis, trend spotting, client engagement and recommendations.
KRAs: Analytical skills, solid quantitative & qualitative research skills, attention to detail, ability to look at the big picture
Industries: While almost all industries invest in some form of market research, this is especially important for CPG and pharma companies.
B-schools Renowned For Marketing
Kellogg, Harvard, Stanford, Booth, Haas, Duke, Ross, UCLA Anderson, USC Marshall
Each marketing career track is vastly different and requires a different skill set. Even within the individual tracks, what you do would be different in different industries. For example, the work of a Sales Manager at Coal India, a B2B company, is very different from that of a Sales Manager at Coca Cola, a B2C company. So, make sure you understand where your strengths and interests lie before you make a career decision.
Read our previous blog post in this 5 part series on Post MBA careers: Consulting
Read our next blog post in this 5 part series on Post MBA careers: Finance
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