Although layoffs cause great uncertainty and change, they also present a chance to reflect on your career trajectory—maybe working at FAANG or in consulting isn't what you want long-term.
If you were recently laid off or feel burnt out and unfulfilled in your sales job, transitioning into marketing may be the right move.
Former salespeople bring a unique set of skills, making them especially well-suited for non-sales jobs in:
Marketing is the creation and promotion of products or services to customers.
Marketing roles often involve working on longer-term projects and campaigns that may feel like they have a more significant impact. This can provide a sense of fulfillment and accomplishment.
Salespeople's communication skills, existing relationships, and customer empathy make them excellent marketers by nature.
A junior digital marketing job may involve market research, product development, or creating marketing materials for a sales team. And if you've already worked with customers one-on-one and understand their pain points, you can help lead those conversations.
Salespeople are responsible for specific metrics like quotas, call-back rates, and qualified leads.
Marketers are part of a team with many moving parts and have to deal with numerous variables that impact the success of a campaign.
Although both roles have metrics tied to them, salespeople have more control over their metrics than marketers do.
Transitioning from sales to marketing may require time and effort in skill-building and upgrading. Sales and marketing have many overlapping skills: communication, customer understanding, and selling skills.
However, sales and marketing are very distinct. To be an effective digital marketer, you'll need knowledge of key drivers like:
Depending on your previous sales role, you may have already been exposed to some or all of these things.
Identify any skills gaps between you and a marketing job you'd like.
Research job descriptions for marketing roles that excite you.
Using the example above, you may be familiar with HubSpot Sales as a salesperson, but technical SEO for local businesses might be missing from your toolbox.
Take some classes to level up your skills or find junior-level positions to apply to. Spend a weekend watching YouTube videos on key marketing skills.
The most common skill gaps between salespeople and marketing professionals are:
Differences in thinking
Marketing teams are responsible for developing and executing a go-to-market strategic marketing plan. Salespeople focus on executing specific sales tactics to close deals in a pipeline.
This can lead to a gap in strategic thinking between the two roles. While sales are responsible for converting down-funnel traffic and customers, marketing helps drive awareness long-term.
Marketing professionals often need to analyze data to understand customer behavior, track campaign performance, and measure ROI on things like email newsletters.
Salespeople, on the other hand, may not have as strong a focus on campaign analysis. Instead, they may be used to using a CRM and paying attention to average deal size per vertical.
Marketers write everything from sales emails to social media posts. Good written communication skills are necessary for leveraging SEO opportunities and editing internal copy at the organization. Salespeople focus on building relationships and closing deals.
Both roles require communication, but the individual communication skills may differ. Find ways to improve your marketing copywriting skills with a workshop or class.
Marketing professionals are often called upon to develop creative campaign ideas, while salespeople focus on replicable sales strategies. Are you able to bring a creative spin to reaching customers?
Of course, these skill gaps are not inherent to every salesperson and marketing professional, and some people may have strengths in both areas.
However, these skill gaps are some of the most common for former salespeople, and bridging them can better your chances of transitioning into a marketing role.
Once you have identified your skills gaps, focus on building relevant skills through
Consider pursuing a certification in digital marketing. Even if you don't use the certificate, you can use the course to learn the basics of a new skill.
You'll need to focus on:
Here are some essential strategies to remember as you begin your job search.
To transition from sales to marketing, find an industry you're passionate about.
Consider your interests and skills to find the right fit, and contact people in that industry for advice.
For instance, you may be excited about working on next-gen climate tech. Or maybe videography and content creation drives your passion. Use those ideas as a way to start your job search.
Determine what role fits your skill set best, and start building your marketing network through some cold LinkedIn messages.
Find Marketing Roles and Jobs
Networking is huge when it comes to getting a new job. This is especially true for those transitioning from sales to a new marketing job.
Chances are, you’ve never had an actual marketing job before.
Reach out to former colleagues and contacts on LinkedIn. Ask if there are any marketing projects or freelance jobs at their companies you could take on to build your resume.
Highlight your skills, achievements, and experience in sales and marketing, and tailor your resume and cover letter to each job you apply for.
Leaving a sales job for a new career path is a big decision. But you might leave a sales job for several reasons:
Unfortunately, layoffs are becoming more and more common. When a company experiences economic challenges or restructuring, job loss may result. Sales positions are often among the positions impacted.
A sales career can be demanding and high-pressure. Skilled salespeople can make lots of money, but burnout and dissatisfaction are common.
If you find that your work in sales has become increasingly stressful, leading to physical and emotional exhaustion, a transition may be necessary to maintain your well-being.
Your sales job may not align with your values, interests, and career goals. So you can be left lacking in satisfaction and personal fulfillment.
Some sales organizations have limited growth opportunities. Do you feel stagnant in your career?
Changes in the market, company or personal circumstances may present new career growth and advancement opportunities.
Exploring opportunities outside of sales can help you find a role that aligns with your current priorities.