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90DAYS IN SALES AND MARKETING
A Series of Executive Tips
Advice from real, successful,
First 90 Days in Sales
Introduction and Table of Contents
Have you ever wondered what makes great sales people so successful? What decisions did they make early in their careers
that got them to where they are today? And if you could spend a few minutes with them, what questions would you ask?
We’ve partnered with the creator of Trigger Event Selling™, Craig Elias, to bring you a blog series full of advice from real,
successful, sales executives who have been where you may be today.
We asked them each to give us 3 tips for someone just starting out in sales that would be beneficial in their first 90 days on the
job. Often, the tips were 3 things they wish THEY had known when they started out or 3 things they actually did that propelled
them to success.
Table of Contents
3 Keys to a Long & Successful Sales Career by Craig Elias 3
Lori Richardson’s First 90 Days in Sales: Three Things I Wish I Would Have Done 4
The Good, Bad, and Fearful First Days of Sales by Nancy Bleeke 5
3 Tips to Jumpstart Your Sales Career by Mike Schultz 6
My First 90 Days in Sales by Steve Woods 7
My First 90 Days: What I Wish I Knew When I First Started in Sales by Steve Rankel 8
5 Tips to Rock Your First 90 Days in Sales by Devin Golden 9
3 Keys to ‘Killing It’ in Your First 90 Days in Sales 10
3 Keys to a Long and Successful
Sales Career by Craig Elias
CRAIG ELIASCreator of Trigger Event Selling™, and the Chief Catalyst of SHiFT Selling, Inc.
Here are three key strategies that I think every new inside sale person should use in their first 90 days, so they can get a job in
outside sales quicker and build a long and highly successful sales career.
1. Dress for Success. Before I was in sales, I spent 6 years working in the hospitality industry eventually spending a few years
working as a bartender and waiter at a very popular singles bar in Toronto. While I was there, I learned that many people judge
you by what you wear.
So once I got a job as an inside sales person, I spent my first paycheck on a nice suit and a pair of suspenders – which I would
wear to work as often as possible. As a result, I lasted less than 90 days on the job before I was promoted to outside sales.
While I agree that I was lucky enough to have an outside sales position come up shortly after I started as an inside sales person,
I am convinced that if I had not “dressed for success” I would not have been promoted into that position until several years
2. Harness the Power of Leverage. One of the many ways I’ve been lucky in sales is that my first sales job was covering a
territory that was 2,000 miles from where I worked. As a result, I learned the power of leveraging others to create and close sales
opportunities. Besides learning of early-stage opportunities that have a 74% close ratio, I also developed great relationships that
led to a fast-growth career in high-tech sales.
3. Build a Quota-Busting Network. I’m a very early user of LinkedIn and I am a big believer of the science that shows the biggest
indicator of success is the size of your network. It took me over 10 years to figure this one out. Connecting with AND asking for
guidance from those who’ve held your position in the past allows you to learn best practices and shortens your learning curve
around what really works in sales.
Later in this series I’ll share the three key tactics sales people should do once they͛ve implemented the above three strategies.
Lori Richardson’s First 90 Days in Sales: Three
Things I Wish I Would Have Done
LORI RICHARDSONCEO of Score More Sales & President, WOMEN Sales Pros
No matter what there is to learn, I’ll debate with anyone on what an admirable profession sales is, and how more young people
should consider B2B professional selling as a career. If you do, here are my top 3 things to think about:
1. Listen More, Talk Less. The worst thing to be around is a new ____(fill in the blank with any profession) who thinks they
know everything. That goes for sellers too. It is OK to keep some of your comments to yourself and become the best listener on
Earth, even if you are not normally that way. Buyers don’t want to hear you go on and on, and neither do your new co-workers,
supervisor, executives, and peers. In a fairly short period of time, my co-workers shared that with me and fortunately, I did listen
long enough to learn that.
2. Negotiate Your Offer. This is especially for, but not limited to women sellers because the trend is that most women do not
attempt to negotiate salaries. I intentionally got into a sales career after seeing how financially limiting my teaching career was.
Back then, you began on straight commission with a “draw” – I simply accepted what they offered and did not ask for more. It is
a HUGE mistake. For starters you need to know what comparable positions pay at competitors and somehow see if you can find
out a ballpark idea of pay for others at the company you are joining. If you are told that everyone gets the same salary, perhaps
you can negotiate options, or extra time off. Just be sure to look into this as because the better you negotiate in the beginning
the more money you’ll make in your career.
3. Connect with Others in Your Industry. I spent all my time in the beginning in the company I worked for and at home, so I
didn’t have the opportunity to meet others in my industry. When I was 23 it was before LinkedIn and we used the telephone or
met people in person. If I could do it again, I’d spend more time making connections – something easy to do today with modern
tools. Once I was connected to more people in my industry, I wish I would have found ways to stand out above the noise –
something now easier to do as well.
Bonus – Don’t Be Hard on Yourself. Be sure to congratulate yourself with the small victories – reaching that first buyer and
having a valuable conversation, or seeing your first deal all the way through. Ramping up in selling is hard, but the rewards are
The Good, Bad, and Fearful First Days of Sales by
NANCY BLEEKEPresident of Sales Pro Insider, Inc.
It’s so easy now to look back and see what I should’ve, could’ve, or would’ve done in my first days in sales. The reality was that it
wasn’t an easy start for me.
There were many reasons it wasn’t easy: I wasn’t convinced selling was the right path for me. I was scared. I was ill-equipped
and unskilled. Yet somehow it all came together and a year later, I was rookie of the year.
When I think back to the things that worked for me, there are several key actions that most anyone can duplicate in their first
days to make their start in sales easier, whether it’s a new career or a new company:
1. Secure a mentor. Identify and ask someone to help you learn, point you in the right direction, help you lick your wounds when
things don’t go as planned, and recognize you for when you do things right. It doesn’t have to be your boss; it could be a co-
worker, a neighbor, or a family member. My first mentor was a manager in another department. He saw something in me in our
first meeting and offered advice that I took. Because I listened and acted on his suggestions, he continued to mentor me.
2. Adopt and adapt best practices. Watch and listen to everyone around you and what they do that works and what doesn’t. Ask
those who are doing well for one or two key actions they take to be successful in your type of sales. Try them without too much
scrutiny. Ask them what they did that bombed. Adopt the best practices and adapt them to become your own; you’ll never be
”just like Bob or Sue,” which is great. The more genuine you are, the more your prospects will buy into you. This lesson took me a
while to learn, and the more I became my best “me,” the more I sold.
3. Make everything you do about THEM. Take the time to learn about and build belief in the value of what you sell and service.
Knowing how your product or service addresses the problems, opportunities, wants, and needs of your prospects allows you to
focus on the value that matters to each buyer. They don’t care about what you like or the long list of features, make it about what
is important to them, and you’ll win. Succeeding in sales means being a good team member, so this tip applies to interactions
with your manager and colleagues as well.
With planning, focus, belief, desire, and commitment, you can become a successful (or more successful) sales professional.
Seriously, if I did, you can too!
3 Tips to Jumpstart Your Sales Career by Mike
MIKE SCHULTZPresident of RAIN Group
One of the best Henny Youngman one-liners goes something like this: “I told the doctor I broke my leg in two places. He told me
to quit going to those places.”
If you’re just starting out in sales, you’re about to go to those places-you just don’t know it yet. Selling is not like other jobs. Let’s
say, for example, you’re an accountant. You go to your job, you get everything 99.9% right every day, you succeed.
If you’re in sales and you close 3 in 10 sales, you may just be wildly successful! That means, however, 7 in 10 of those sales end in
failure. Sure, sometimes the buyer decides not to do anything at all, but the sales landscape is littered with lost sales that should
have been won if a seller just did this or that differently. New sellers are going to take their lumps and make mistakes, but you
might as well avoid the ones you can. Here are three tips:
1. Learn what selling really is. I told someone I know from high school that, basically, we at RAIN Group teach people how to sell.
She said, “What’s so hard about it? All you have to do is…” and spent a few minutes talking about something or other. Don’t make
assumptions that professional selling is this or that because your grandfather (like mine) sold appliances in the 60s, or you
really killed it when you spent a summer working at the shoe store. If you think selling is ‘just about this or that’ you are in for a
2. Sell with others. Go out of your way to sell with people who are very successful. This might mean tagging along for a needs
discovery or early sales meeting with a pro, going to a networking event to see how a master relationship builder works at the
event, or flying to a finalist presentation to see how the big guns bring the sale home.
3. Be brave. Selling can make you nervous, kill your mood, and derail your actions. Meetings with executives can be nerve-
wracking, especially when you are early in your career or don’t have an MBA. Call reluctance is such a phenomena that
psychology books have been written about it.
Fear of failure can be debilitating. Don’t let it get to you. Sure, you might fail, but if you fail when selling, you started with
nothing, and still have nothing. As Wayne Gretzky once said: you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.
My First 90 Days in Sales by Steve Woods
STEVE WOODSCo-founder of Nudge
In the first 90 days of your career, you should put the groundwork in place to build long-term relationships. The effort will not be
trivial, but the payoff will be huge. Here are 5 key points you will need in your approach:
1. Help first. With any interaction, and especially with any new interaction, think first about how you can help them. Are they
looking to hire? Looking for a job? Need to talk with someone with who has a particular set of skills? Any opportunity you have
to deepen a relationship by helping without looking to receive is a great opportunity to build trust and gain an ally.
2. Build depth over time. Relationships deepen over time as long as you stay in touch. Learn what people are interested in and
what’s important to them, and make notes on it to give you a chance to restart the conversation later. You’ll be surprised how
much you wish you had jotted down a few interesting notes when you’re trying to restart a conversation after 6 months has
3. Build breadth in your network. Organizational change requires a wide variety of people to be engaged. You never know
when that person who knows the tax code for charities, or how to organize a supply chain across the artic, or how to engage
municipal governments on regulation changes will come in handy. Build strong relationships with anyone who seems bright
4. Don’t lose touch after a job change. People change jobs frequently. You will, and your connections will. Don’t let that cause you
to lose touch. Relationships that span multiple jobs are very often the strongest and most impactful of any relationships.
5. Get personal. The best relationships are ones where business is secondary. Be interested in who people are outside of work,
and be an interesting person yourself. Get involved in organizations, charities, or sports, and don’t be afraid to show yourself as
a more interesting person with more than one dimension. Any conversations that are not directly work related will give you a
stronger reason to stay in touch.
You will notice that none of these tips will close deals for you in the current quarter. However, the relationships that you build by
truly being interested in people and finding ways to help them will remain with you for decades. Happy selling!
My 1st 90 Days: What I Wish I Knew When I First
Started in Sales by Steve Rankel
STEVE RANKELCreator of Value Storytelling
I started in sales almost 25 years ago, so there are so many things I wish I could do over. But the top three I wish I had in my first
90 days would be:
1. Don’t regret the role. Crush it. When I hit rock bottom many years ago due to my first startup going bust, the only job I could
find was selling home heating oil at night via phone, from 5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. (Talk about a humbling experience!) .
I decided that if the only position I could get was selling oil on 100% commission, then I would crush it. I took crazy notes and
began tracking statistics on the % of prospects with certain objections, decision rates, etc. Here’s where it got even more crazy:
using this intense level of focus and detailed recordkeeping, plus a very pleasant demeanor with prospects (even though THEY
didn’t want to be disturbed at home after dinner), I began to sell more than my colleagues.
How much more? I became the #1 sales rep within two weeks, and stayed at the top until I left. The CEO actually began calling
me (!!) for advice on what was going on in the market, because I could tell him “17% of the leads I called were not valid, I close 1
out of every 21 calls, etc.”
2. Don’t just study sales books. Study your Sales Rock Stars. In every company, there’s a wide gap between the performance of
sales rock stars and average reps. Ask yourself: “What do our rock stars DO, either on purpose or by accident, that helps them sell
more than anyone else?” What do they SAY? What language and stories do they use? The punchline: Don’t reinvent the wheel.
Just learn from the leaders and do what they do.
3. Listen & Take Notes: It Does the Closing FOR YOU. I talk too much. So I need a system that helps me listen and validate what
prospects have to say. Taking notes helps me do this. (Tip: take typed notes with the prospect when on a Gotomeeting and just
watch them help you document everything correctly! I also try to mute my phone so I don’t talk over the client). Punchline:
listen, take notes, and let the prospect see & know you’re doing it. It adds value immediately – and when done right – will speed
you to advisor status, and a close.
These three lessons have been tough ones for me to learn, but ultimately have been game changers. I hope you test them, and
get value from them in your sales journey.
5 Tips to Rock Your First 90 Days in Sales
by Devin Golden
DEVIN GOLDENSenior Vice President/GM- Small and Medium Sized Business for Avention
As a sales leader for close to 20 years, I have had the opportunity to work with many outstanding reps. Here are a few quick tips
for reps to help them on their new journey.
1. Do not re-create the wheel – High performance sales organizations develop sales messaging that enables the sales team to be
successful. As a new sales rep, you should avoid the temptation to stray away from that messaging and start creating your own
talk track. It is a recipe for failure because you do not have enough experience with the company selling the product to know
what is truly important to their customers and prospects; therefore, the message gets muddled and is, ultimately, ineffective.
2. Find the best rep on the floor or in the field and mimic what they do – Imitation is the highest form of flattery and it is a best
practice for new sales reps. Too often, new reps struggle to understand what it takes to be successful in their new environment.
Their enthusiasm and excitement for their new position leads to frustration when they do not see short term success. As every
sales environment has a different success quotient, it is critical to quickly identify the right behaviors and successful norms to
get off to a great start. Every day wasted has an opportunity cost and can make a difference in internal perceptions, financial
rewards and long term job satisfaction.
3. Build your pipeline now; Don’t wait –The first 90 days are a critical time to start building pipeline to avoid a slow start.
Regardless of your sales cycle, the faster you can find opportunities to put in the top of the sales funnel, the faster you will taste
success. If a sales person does not start building pipeline in the first 30 days, there is a strong chance that they will not have
4. Outwork the person next to you – When I was a rep, I always had confidence in my ability to be successful. Starting in a new
role means that you have a new peer group to measure up against. I found that working harder than anyone else on the team
was the fastest way to stand out. You should work hard and work smart letting your natural abilities take over.
5. Be Passionate and Have fun! – Sales is about passion. If you do not have passion for your job, you will not reach your full
potential. Find a job where you wake up each morning and want to get to work to start the day. It will help you work your way
through adversity, reach your goals and make a lot of money.
3 Keys to ‘Killing It’ in Your First 90 Days in Sales
by Craig Elias
Research shows that up to 28% of vendor switches are ‘triggered’ by a change in salespeople.
There are two reasons why this happens: a) The new salesperson does not understand the customer’s expectations, so they are
more likely to disappoint them; and b) The customer does not yet have a relationship with the new salesperson, so they are less
likely to complain, when they do disappoint them.
When this happens, the customer enters the Window of Dissatisfaction™ and is often easy pickings for the next savvy
salesperson who comes along.
1. Ask the right questions to understand your existing customers’ expectations. To keep your existing customers, I think it’s
critical to ask decision makers in each of your important accounts three key questions:
What did my predecessor do well that I need to keep doing?
What do my competitors do well that I should start doing?
What does nobody do that you wish everybody did?
2. Ask for guidance, not business. You want to establish a relationship with decision makers as soon as possible for two reasons:
a) you are more likely to keep customers because they are more likely to complain when things go wrong; and b) you establish
yourself as the preferred person to do business with when your competition lets them down in the future.
The fastest way I know to foster a relationship with key contacts is to email them asking for their guidance on what they think
you should do in your first 90 days. This allows you to start building a relationship in a non-selling manner: what Jerry Vass
calls ‘Flanking.’ You can think of this as enrolling people in your career.
3. Identify the events that triggered quick win opportunities. Research shows you are five times more likely to win business
when you are first-in with decision makers who are in a Window of Dissatisfaction. Not only that, but you are more likely to
get loyal, core customers who decide quickly, and if you ask, they will give you two things every salesperson should ask for:
testimonials and referrals.
CRAIG ELIASCreator of Trigger Event Selling™, and the Chief Catalyst of SHiFT Selling, Inc.
First 90 Days in Marketing
Introduction and Table of Contents
Just as we did with the sales leaders, we have recruited marketing executives from around the globe to give those just starting
out in the marketing profession advice on how to be successful in today’s environment. Some is advice that stands the test of
time and applies in any decade and some is advice that has changed for them personally as technology and other aspects of
marketing has evolved.
Because sales and marketing are so closely aligned in most organizations these days, we are purposely running the series
back to back, as some tips may cross over from one team to the other.
Table of Contents
My Daybook and I: How I Survived my First 90 Days as a Marketer by Louise Robertson 12
90 Days in Marketing by Doug Fox 13
Be Fearless! Top Tips to Kickstart Your Career in B2B Marketing by Catherine Maskell 14
Three Things You Should Know When Starting Your First Marketing Job by Maia Tihista 15
Your First 90 Days in Marketing by Ken Dec 16
My First 90 Days in Marketing: What I Wish Someone Told Me! By Steve Rankel 17
A #First90Days Tool Kit for Marketing- by Vicki Godfrey 18
Wave Using All Your Fingers and Other Lessons for Your First 90 Days in Marketing- by Ed Thompson 19
My Daybook and I: How I Survived my First 90 Days
as a Marketer by Louise Robertson
LOUISE ROBERTSONChief Marketing Officer at Hubio
My marketing career did not have the most conventional of beginnings, as I was actually working in the sales department at
Bayer before being appointed the company’s Head of Dental Marketing, aged just 24. I really had to find my feet by trial and error
in my early marketing days and of course I made mistakes, but taking on a role with such responsibility early on meant that I
had to learn and adapt quickly. I have learnt a huge amount since that first job, and these would be my top three tips for anyone
new to the marketing world.
1. Listen and learn. The most important piece of advice I can give any budding marketer in their first month or so is to do
nothing but listen. When you start, you will be introduced to so many different people that you almost certainly won’t be able to
remember them all. Make sure you get a daybook and capture the names of everyone you meet, when you meet them and what
they have to say. I have had a daybook for over 20 years now and at the end of each day I reach out to people I have met face to
face and personally connect with them on LinkedIn – my own personal CRM system! LinkedIn is not only a good networking
tool, but also an extremely helpful way of getting a feel for how people position themselves in their professional career.
2. Upskill yourself. After the initial ‘listening’ period to work out the lay of the land, the second month is all about upskilling
yourself and getting up to speed with everything needed to do your job – including the more boring tasks like making yourself
comfortable with the company’s technology and learning the CRM. I’ve used Salesforce in a variety of roles and every time I join
a new company I discover a whole host of new functionality. You need to make sure you are taking the best version of yourself to
work every single day in the first 90 days, so make sure you are polite and respectful, even to people that you don’t particularly
like. It is important to bring your personality to work but you also have to tone yourself to suit your work environment.
3. Act professionally. It sounds obvious but make sure you act in a way that’s appropriate to the job you are now in, and not like
a student. Be aware of the dress code and take a good look at your wardrobe before you step into your role. I was only 24 when I
was made Head of Marketing and I am the first to admit that I didn’t translate my dress code from being a young sales rep to a
manager in the office. Please don’t make the same mistake! About 30% of the impression you make over the first 90 days are a
result of how you present and carry yourself so make sure you get it right.
Above all, make sure you go in with an open mind and treat everyone around you with respect, whatever role they’re in.
Remember – you are your first impression and you don’t get a second chance.
90 Days in Marketing by Doug Fox
DOUG FOXPresident of Brand Fox
Congratulations on starting your career in marketing. Marketing is an amazing profession where you can feed both the creative
and analytic sides of your brain. And it is a pretty short list of professions that can make that claim.
As I think back to the start of my career 20+ years ago, the first piece of advice I’d give you is no matter how promising the
analysts make it sound, don’t invest your whole 401-K in drkoop.com stock. However I realize this piece of advice may not hold
much relevance to today’s graduates, so let’s instead focus on some things they’re more able to act on:
1. Keep Studying – Having spent the past 17+ years of your life studying, you’re probably very excited to start applying all that
knowledge. However, marketing is always evolving, so strive to spend some time every single day learning something new.
Could be about new strategies/tactics in marketing, could be the history of your brand, could be about some of your brands’
competitors, could be looking at a parallel category where you can get some learning. Knowledge is power, so try and get as
much as you can.
2. Listen More, Talk Less – You have two ears, two eyes yet only one mouth, and that’s the proper ratio to use them. You might
be eager to prove you belong with your new colleagues and you’ll think your mouth (or email) is the best way to do that. The best
way to prove your worth is to listen to everything everyone else is saying, learn from it, and then pick and choose the right time
to speak up. By talking less, they’ll pay more attention to what you’re saying. Plus if you choose only the most insightful and
valuable things to share, they’ll want to hear more from you.
3. Know Your Target Audience – The most successful marketers know the pains, wants, need and desires of their target
audience intimately, and use that knowledge to drive all of their strategies and tactics. This might sound like a no brainer, but
you’ll quickly realize very few marketers are following this path. It’s so easy to think about what you want to say, and where you
want to say it, without thinking about what that means to your target. Ask every day – ‘What does this mean to our target?’ ‘What
would they think?’ – ‘What would they do?’. It’s the most important compass for everything you do.
Hope you’ve found these tips helpful – keep learning, talk less, know your target, and make smarter investment choices. Do
these and you’ll have a happy, healthy, successful and fruitful marketing career.
Be Fearless! Top Tips to Kick-Start Your Career in
B2B Marketing by Catherine Maskell
CATHERINE MASKELLHead of Global Marketing at REED
I’m still surprised at the austere way some marketers speak to their customers and prospects. I’m a big believer that bringing
personality to conversations is what really creates the connection and the cut-through. I once read that B2B does not have to be
“Boring to Boring”, which is something that has stayed with me throughout my career. So, with this in mind, these are my top
three tips for anyone starting out in marketing.
1. Talk to the people at the coalface. I think my absolute top tip would have to be to ‘go to the coalface’ and really understand
how your message is going to be delivered. If you work for a large organisation, make sure you get out there and visit colleagues
across the business in order to find commonality that can be fed into your marketing campaigns. Identifying this common
ground is one of the biggest challenges we face but you are never going to find it sitting behind a desk.
2. Know your team and don’t be afraid to find your place in it. My second tip is a little clichéd, but you have got to know your
team. It’s important to understand people’s motivations and how they think they fit into the business.
When coming into a new job, the chances are you will end up wanting to change certain things as you will have a different
perspective from the rest of your team. This can be great, but the key is to be aware of the people around you right from the get
go and to bring them along with you.
3. Really know your industry. If you are starting a career in marketing today, there is so much information out there that can tell
you what is happening in the industry. There are plenty of free products to use and free blogs you can follow, so ask yourself,
who are the marketing leaders and thinkers that you want to live up to and be inspired by? Identify them, follow their Twitter
and follow their advice. Things have never been so good. When I first started none of these resources were available, whereas
marketers today have access to such great tools. You can gain so much inspiration from other places and other brands, and
inspiration really is the key to being a good marketer in this environment. It’s all about positioning yourself and your place in
the marketing industry, so find what works for you as an individual.
Going into my first job, I really wasn’t that confident at all and I didn’t back myself enough. You have to be fearless to work in
marketing these days because there is just so much ‘new’ that you have to be comfortable with. So my parting advice to anyone
in their first 90 days of marketing would be: Just be fearless, take risks and give everything a go.
Three Things You Should Know When Starting Your
First Marketing Job by Maia Tihista
MAIA TIHISTAVice President, Global Marketing at Flexera Software
Throughout my career, I have had the opportunity to interview recent graduates for entry level positions. I did some quick
research on Illinois institutions to see how well they are keeping up with the times in terms of their Marketing courses and
while I am seeing some improvement – there still is a lot that is missing for the typical Marketing graduate today.
Here are some things I think you should know for your first Marketing job:
1. Search Engine Marketing is not Social Media. I have asked candidates if they understand Search Engine Marketing (SEM) and
the response I usually get is “Yes, I am on Twitter all the time.” College graduates today grew up with social media but they do
not understand how the Internet works in terms of generating awareness, interest and customers for a business. Understand
Search Engine Marketing and you will understand how people consume information during each stage of the buying cycle –
and most of it is done online these days. Understanding the role of a search engine and the importance of ranking high in a
search query is going to be an important element in your new Marketing role.
2. B2B and B2C marketing are very different. Know the terms and what they mean, and how marketing differs depending on
whether you are marketing to businesses or to consumers. My company, Flexera Software, sells software to other companies
that want to manage their software applications. Microsoft sells Office 365 Home software to consumers. How I market my
software to companies and how Microsoft markets its products to you is very different. Spend some time on the Internet to read
about the differences so that when you go into an interview, you will understand the company a bit better.
3. Marketing Automation Platforms – know your “MAPs”. As a marketer, you are going to need to find ways to reach out to your
target audience. You may purchase radio or television, or billboards, or digital ads on Websites. All of this information about your
audience needs to be stored somewhere and that is why most modern marketing departments today have what is called a MAP
– Marketing Automation Platform. Do you actually need to know how it works right out of school? No – but you need to know
they exist and how they are used.
If I am interviewing you right out of school and you can talk to me intelligently about any of these listed above, the chances of
you being hired increase dramatically. You cannot just rely upon your Marketing courses to teach you what is going on in the
real world today.
Your First 90 Days in Marketing by Ken Dec
KEN DECManaging Director at Ovation
Welcome to the wonderful world of marketing. It’s filled with fascinating, creative people full of amazing energy and passion. It’s
being surrounded by those kinds of people every day that has me doing this for more than 30 years.
Here are my three pieces of advice for those just getting started. Things I wish someone had told me when I first started.
“How can I help?” “How can I serve?”
This isn’t specific to the marketing profession. If you consistently think in terms of ‘service’ – to your colleagues, your clients,
your partners, you’ll do well by consistently doing the right thing -which is to look at what you do as helping and serving others.
You are a storyteller now – learn from storytellers – outside of marketing too!
Ultimately marketing is about storytelling – the truth well-told. Never forget it. And study, study, study storytelling from outside
advertising and marketing. Learn from filmmakers, novelists, poets, visual artists, political campaigns. Observe and use how
they tell stories. Learn how they bring people to their cause. How they connect emotionally with consumers of their content.
Here’s a list of what I think are the best storytelling books – Robert McKee’s STORY is the best place to start (yes, its about
screenwriting but remember I told you study outside of marketing). I also highly recommend three others: Wired for Story; Trust
me, I’m Lying, and The Story Factor are all great.
No ‘one’ is as smart as everyone
Marketing is a team sport and no matter how smart you think you are there is always something you can learn from others. I’ve
found that the most successful people in this business are the best collaborators. Be a good teammate; your work will be better
and you’ll be happier.
My 1st 90 Days In Marketing: What I Wish Someone
Told Me!!! by Steve Rankel
First: Get a Sales Job. (Seriously). At one point in life I lost everything and ended up sleeping on an Aerobed at a friend’s place.
The only position I could find (even though I was a marketer) was a 100% commission role selling home heating oil at night.
Eventually, I crushed that role, becoming the #1 sales rep. When I tell that story to salespeople, and explain how I’ve sold things
without a net – under duress, in tough circumstances – their respect for me goes up, they listen to what I say, and they use the
tools that I build for them.
PUNCHLINE: It’s really critical for you to establish credibility with the sales team you are going to serve. How will you do that?
Second: Anything That Doesn’t Come from a Customer’s Mouth is Nothing More Than an Educated Guess. Early on in my career, I
was very opinionated – even about things that I only knew a little about. Shoot, I’m still very opinionated.
Here’s the thing: I discovered that the only thing that stopped arguments or debates was when I could respond with something
like, “I interviewed eight of our customers and they told me the following five things…” End of discussion. Not only was I able to
provide an answer to an objection, but I provided insights that many people didn’t have in the room. As Morpheus said in the
movie The Matrix, about the Sentinels: “They are holding all the cards; they are holding all the keys.” Customers are similar.
PUNCHLINE: Be the person in your company who doesn’t drink the Kool-Aid about the product, features, etc. Understand the
customer – ask THEM why they buy – and share those insights. The rest of the organization will notice and respect you for it.
Third: Tell Value Stories, Not Product Stories. I actually learned this from selling. Nothing focused me like sitting in a conference
room across from the prospect, and knowing that if I didn’t close that deal, then I was not going to be able to pay my rent or
mortgage that month. This is one of the advantages to selling, as I recommended in point #1. Getting a sales job for even a short
period of time will focus your messaging very, very quickly down to the things that customers respond most to.
So be sure you translate what you offer into value stories. Better yet, follow #2 above and interview your customers, capture
THEIR VALUE STORIES and repeat what THEY SAY.
These lessons have been game changers for me. I hope they give you a leg up in your journey as well.
STEVE RANKELCreator of Value Storytelling
A #First90Days Toolbox for Marketing
by Vicki Godfrey
VICKI GODFREYCMO of Avention, Inc.
Over my (very) long career in Marketing, I have had many jobs and many #First90Days. Over time, I have developed a
“First90Days Toolbox” that guides me as I start a new job. Following are some key tools in the box.
1. Make sure that you have passion for the Customer. It does not matter if you are working for a B2C or B2B company,
understanding your customer- who they are, what their problems are and how satisfied they are with the solution the company
is offering- is of critical importance.Customer insight can be gained through a wide range of activities and my suggestion is to
utilize as many as you can. There is no substitute for direct customer interaction; tag along on a sales call, either in person or
over the phone. I also like to read any and all customer research that I can find.
2. Write a plan. In final interviews or in your first meetings when you join the company, gain alignment about what Marketing’s
key objectives are. Then put together a concise plan to deliver the objectives. Once completed, the plan should guide your
department’s activities and be used as a way to build alignment with the rest of the organization.
3. Deliver some quick wins. Let’s face it- most marketers are ambitious and passionate and want to be rockstars. One way to
ensure that you are on the path to “rockstardom”, is to pick one or two things that are visible wins.
The win(s) could be something that is broken and needs to be fixed, establishing a process that will make daily tasks easier,
or leveraging a prior contact to bring a in new piece of business. Use the win as a way to build or establish Marketing in the
Wave Using all Your Fingers and Other Lessons for
Your First 90 Days in Marketing by Ed Thompson
ED THOMPSONDirector, Demand Generation at Avention, Inc.
I’m not sure when the clock started for the first 90 days of my marketing career. Did it start when I did my first freelance
illustration? When I got my first job in Advertising (which was actually in Sales) or Web Design or Demand Generation? Perhaps
it started long before I even learned to draw, when I was a kid sweeping the floors for my father’s business. Though those careers
were quite different, I think they also had some common threads that you can use as you begin your career, or as you begin your
next first 90 days.
1. Behave like your name is on the door. My dad would tell me to behave like my name was on the door, because it literally was
on the door, and it was his name too. It meant being polite, doing quality work, and making sure the customer was satisfied. It
also meant not giving other drivers the finger when driving the company van – I guess some lessons just have to be learned.
Today, we’d use some flowery marketing-speak about being a brand ambassador or embracing company values. It’s the same
concept, wave using all your fingers.
2. Measure twice, cut once. It’s good advice if you’re a carpenter and don’t want to waste materials, but it is even better advice if
you’re a marketer and don’t want to waste time – whether it’s yours or someone else’s.Planning is critical to any project and it is
also the best time to ask any question. Ask, ask, ask! No real marketing leader will mind a lot of questions, and in fact they will
welcome it, and if you’re not sure you understood the answer, ask again to be sure. A few more minutes now will save hours or
possibly days if you head in the wrong direction on an assignment.
3. Don’t take it personally. The most important benefit of going to college for design was the process of “Critique”. It’s a process
that puts your work in front of the professor and the whole class for comments and criticism. Most of my fellow students
dreaded critique and depending on the class it could be brutal. There was a rule, however, that your feedback had to include both
positive and negative aspects in order to be constructive. Needless to say, there’s no rule like that in business AND you are the
only person who has their work on the wall. There is also a lot of money at stake, and that money is not yours.
It’s important to be passionate about your work and to be able to articulate your thought process. Often an explanation about
why you did this or that can help someone see a perspective they did not perhaps think of. Sometimes, unfortunately, the
answer is still no. Don’t get upset about it, regardless of how it was communicated. Accept the feedback and challenge yourself
to take it to the next level. This will probably take some practice.
For more sales & marketing tips, visit the Avention blog at www.avention.com/blog