How to become a marketing and sales manager (with skills)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 10 July 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Marketing and sales managers have a wide spectrum of responsibilities, including reviewing and directing their company's marketing campaigns and social media engagement, all while analysing the latest sales trends. This makes the role seem potentially daunting to enter, but becoming a marketing manager is easier than you may expect. A core part of this is developing the right skills and taking the correct approach to succeed in this competitive industry, especially with so many diverse duties to contend with. In this article, we look at how to become a marketing and sales manager, including the role's necessary skills.

What is a marketing and sales manager?

A marketing and sales manager represents a company's brand and develops strategies to help increase product awareness. Their responsibilities include researching and developing marketing opportunities and implementing new sales plans. They also manage both the sales and marketing staff, performing managerial duties to meet the company's operational goals.

How to become a marketing and sales manager

Though the job might seem difficult at first, learning how to become a marketing and sales manager could be a strong first step toward filling the position. Here are the usual steps someone may take to get themselves involved with sales and marketing management jobs:

1. Acquire a marketing qualification

When embarking upon any career path, a relevant degree is always beneficial. This often takes the form of an undergraduate bachelor's degree. In this case, a degree in marketing or an adjacent subject could be useful. For example, an advertising, business or finance degree still provides many relevant skills. Some may decide to pursue a master's degree on top of this. A master's qualification typically demonstrates an increased level of marketing understanding, while also indicating an even greater passion and commitment for the field. Qualifications don't always begin or end with university degrees.

Alternative qualifications exist and many employers recognise these. A prime example is a qualification from The Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM), the U.K.'s leading body of marketing accreditation. Their courses range from Foundation to Leadership, which cost significantly less than a university degree. Some companies may even pay for your courses if you're taking a novice marketing role with them. Regardless, a relevant qualification of any kind is important for the position.

Related: Top 9 leadership skills to develop

2. Gain marketing experience

As the title may suggest, a marketing and sales manager is a relatively high-level job with a lot of responsibility, which means having prior industry experience could be beneficial. This goes alongside qualifications, as graduate jobs for students provide a wealth of practical experience in your chosen field and could be a reliable springboard for a marketing career. This is possible even if your degree isn't in marketing. Experience is vital in any sector and many positions help you become a marketing and sales manager.

The amount of experience necessary varies depending on the job's exact requirements, but more is typically better in this instance. Marketing and sales management positions may require anything from three to 10 years of experience. You could become a marketing apprentice as an alternative to earning a degree. An apprenticeship usually requires 4-5 passes at GCSE (or equivalent) and sometimes even several A-levels (or equivalent) for the higher courses. No matter what form it might take, experience is not just helpful for this role, it's necessary.

Related: 8 different marketing courses (including online options)

3. Write a strong CV

If you have the relevant qualifications, skills and experience, you likely have everything necessary to compile a CV for any marketing and sales management role you find. Your CV is how you showcase your knowledge and practical familiarity with what the position entails, allowing you to sell yourself and elaborate on how you would fit the job perfectly. You could even use the sales and marketing manager job description as a template of sorts, as this shows you exactly which parts of your experience to emphasise.

There's no exact structure for writing a CV, but it helps to begin with a brief personal summary which describes you and your achievements in marketing, usually in just a couple of sentences. Afterwards, list your experience and education in chronological order to demonstrate your career path and perseverance through the industry. Highlight the relevant skills across each job or qualification and remember to use the job posting to guide you through this. Once you finish writing the CV, start applying for these positions.

Related: Tips for writing an attractive marketing CV (with example)

4. Apply for the role

With your CV ready, start looking for marketing and sales management positions near you, though there may be remote work available for this job. The precise requirements, especially for experience, again vary from one company to the next, but a strong CV helps you stand out to any business seeking marketing managers. Use job websites to search for vacancies, as these often allow you to sort opportunities by location and several other prominent factors, such as the role's salary information.

Alternatively, many companies might hire exclusively from their marketing team, as these members know the company well and have proven experience in helping to boost the business and its sales figures. Always be sure to pay attention to internal job postings as this allows you to reach the position via promotion. As an example, an assistant manager could easily become a marketing and sales manager. For this reason, it helps to build relationships with your peers and superiors, as this could be your path towards the position.

Related: How to go about finding a new job

5. Pass the interview

The final stage towards becoming a marketing and sales manager is to succeed in the interview and prove you're able to revolutionise a company's marketing strategies. In these particular interviews, the hiring manager may provide example scenarios and ask you for your opinion and approach to common marketing issues. They may also directly ask you for campaign ideas, so be sure to arrive with practical ideas that show you know their organisation. Managerial questions are also common, such as asking how you would help a colleague who falls behind on their work.

Before the interview, be sure to reread the job description and how it relates to your CV and other information they have on your career path. Knowing the business you're applying for is again essential, as this helps you to arrive at an intuitive understanding of what they require from you once you begin. Practice beforehand by using the STAR method, which involves describing a difficult situation, the task at hand, the actions you took and the overall result. Dress appropriately and bring a notepad and pen to further show your dedication.

Related: 33 marketing manager interview questions and sample answers

Marketing and sales manager skills

Though the above guide theoretically provides the path toward becoming a marketing and sales manager, it's important to note that success in this role depends on much more than simply following the right steps. The position also requires a large array of skills, many of which naturally develop while gaining qualifications or working in other adjacent positions. With this in mind, here is a selection of the most common skills to hone if you're hoping to become a sales and marketing manager:

  • Marketing skills: Knowing marketing and sales is vital for becoming a marketing and sales manager because you lead campaigns intended to communicate the company's brand to consumers. Knowing consumer trends is essential, as is a robust understanding of social media and how it helps their digital marketing initiatives.

  • Leadership: In a managerial position, it's essential you know how to lead your team to success using your colleagues' strengths and weaknesses. For example, delegating tasks and setting goals helps you motivate the team and ensures everyone has plenty to do.

  • Business skills: Working in sales requires a knowledge of how businesses work and the strategies they might take to enhance their figures. Strong financial acumen helps you better understand a company's sales numbers and cost-effective ways to fix deficits or otherwise plan the firm's next steps.

  • Presentation: Marketing and sales managers often work with statistics and raw sales data, meaning they help team members understand the figures and their importance. By honing their presentation skills, managers can lead meetings in a way that informs everybody and allows them to stay focused on what to do next.

  • Creative thinking: Marketing positions involve finding innovative ways to publicise a brand or solve problems that emerge, so acting as a strong creative voice is even more important as a manager. This works alongside your communication skills, letting you develop new approaches that communicate a brand's message to the public.

Please note that none of the companies, institutions or organisations mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.

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