Hello from the Other Side – My Move from Sales to Marketing

Hold on, what? 

Yeah that’s right! I made the move from sales to marketing and I love it! 

Before I jump into the details, you’ll probably want to know a little bit about me and why this makes so much sense. My name’s Shaun Williams, and in my career—and for life in general—I consider myself a renaissance man. I want to be versed in everything, and I’m the guy that can do everything from fix your plumbing, to building a website, to planning your wedding. I can do it all… well, almost. I draw the line at programming and anything involving blood. So I might not be the right person to fix a wound… I’ll pass out.

So back to my move from sales to marketing at ion interactive. At ion, I’ve held a lot of positions. I started in Creative Services helping manage projects and made it all the way to Account Management and finally (not final) the sales team. To the right is the list of business cards to give some more context.

This has been inline with my basic “renaissance man” / “Jack of all trades” approach to life. Then we get to the sales position which I love. I was the conversation starter and responsible for being the first line of conversations that our future customers experienced. And through this role, I got a ton of experience in understanding marketing in depth, building my brand, and sales knowledge. Now this is where it gets interesting. My CEO Justin reached out to me in December and asked if I would join the team. What? Are you serious? Am I doing something wrong on the sales team? He said, “You’re a voice within ion and you would be valuable to the marketing team.” He went on to explain how I would be helping with social marketing and customer advocacy among other things. A few hundred questions later and a lot of thinking, I said “yes” and made the move. I started on the first day of 2016. Ready, set, go!

So what have I learned so far? Where do I even start?

Here are 8 things I learned from my move:

  1. Marketing needs sales team members on their side. I realized that sometimes marketing can become disconnected with understanding what the audience wants. Since they’re not on the front line, it kind of makes sense and it would make sense to have a sales person on the team.  
  2. Social marketing is hard. It’s not just tweets and posts. You really have to plan things out and prepare in advance for a successful campaign.
  3. Video marketing needs a lot of planning. Yes it’s the hot thing right now… like super hot and I totally see where the market is going. But this is a struggle for a lot of marketing teams since implementing video is a totally new realm for a modern marketer. Simple things like getting buy-in on video projects is like pitching smoke and mirrors. To get the message across we need things like scripts, storyboards, and ideas that fit B2B.
  4. It’s totally weird being on the other side of the fence. I went from chatting all day with marketers and talking about strategy, to implementing the very same strategy and talking shop with sales people… as me being the buyer. #weird
  5. Marketers are SUPER busy… sometimes I come into 100+ emails from people wanting my business. Like ? So I’ve started to stress to my sales team that marketers are busy and you have to be on your game.
  6. SEO makes my head hurt… I’ll just leave this one for you marinate on.  
  7. When working with higher ups in an organization, ALWAYS add time for back and forth and needing to get approval. So my two week timeline might be one week for creation with one week dedicated to approval and revisions.
  8. This has really turned into my life. 

To wrap this up, I would say that if you are considering this move and you have the opportunity, go for it! But make sure you understand what you’re getting into and assess if you have the chops and skills needed. I’ve had tons of experience at ion and with our audience that helped make this move very, very natural. 

To see how I’m doing, be sure to follow our blog and social channels. I help manage them so any likes, shares, or comments are greatly appreciated. ?

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