With companies increasing leveling their focus towards the customer, sales and marketing has become an increasingly important corporate function. These are times of competition; the consumer is spoilt for choice. Winning new customers and maintaining profitable relationships with existing ones is hence the need of the hour. Explains Arijit Bose, Business Head - CREATIVE SKILL, "What would happen to a company which has the best product developed, packaged well but has no customers? It is bound to fail. This is where the sale and marketing teams enter."
Sales and marketing is a practical, on the-ball function. There are different challenges on a daily basis, and the only thing constant is change. Says Bose, "As a sales person, you will either be based internally or on the field as a sales representative. They usually work within a specific area, calling in person or by telephone to make appointments to show products or services, negotiating sales and after-sales services."
Not everyone is suited for a career in sales and marketing. Reveals Bose , "The core skills every sales professional need are persuasiveness, commercial awareness, a pleasing personality and self-motivation." Communication skills are of utmost importance. Further, the individual must be able to perform well under pressure. Sales targets are very difficult, but these must be achieved. Hence organisations look for individuals who are strongly goal driven, think out of the box and show strong leadership skills.
Sales and marketing representatives should also love meeting and interacting with people. An insight into how people think and behave can go a long way in winning over new customers. The ability to network is also helpful.
Despite the importance given to personal skills and characteristics, the value of education and on-field experience should not be discounted. "Though graduation is not mandatory for entering a Sales Career, many employers prefer to hire candidates who have earned a bachelor's degree. A MBA degree after couple of years of Work experience will also benefit the candidate," says Bose.
Specialized courses, offered in the field of sales and marketing, will help the individual hone his skills. Short Certificate courses in Sales Management, Customer Service Management are also offered. Internships or training opportunities can give the individual a real and practical experience of life in the sales and marketing function.
The salary package is dependent on experience, qualifications and the organisation one works with. However, salaries usually start at Rs. 8,000 per month upwards. Those joining after relevant qualifications can get a starting salary of Rs. 20,000 upwards. Apart from the basic salary, a large component of the monetary comes in the form of performance incentives, based on whether the individual has met or even exceeded sales targets.
The future holds some good news for the sales function. "Considering the growth of Indian economy, sales and marketing would be a high career growth sector. International companies are setting up operations, and Indian Companies are growing bigger and bigger. This would result in good hiring along with good remuneration for professionals in this field. To retain talent, companies would pamper their employees with good perks and benefits," believes Bose.