Mark Stern is a business manager at PromoVeritas. He gives us an insight into his career and how he got there:

 

How did you get into this career?

I took an odd path. I came from an IT background, where I was a top salesman for an Apple computer company. Whilst there I discovered the power of a good marketing campaign to enhance sales. So I ended up creating and executing several major new campaigns that had a lasting impact on that business. After 8 years though, I desired a new path. Members of my family worked in marketing and I reached out to them. Originally the role was a career gap, whilst I decided what to do next – however I never left.

What does a typical day at work look like?

The role is much more relaxed than my previous corporate roles but the hours are much longer. Generally I begin my day at 9:00am reviewing the previous actions of the day and developing a new list of tasks and prospect calls. By 9:30am, I begin calling one of three types of clients. Those that work with us and need help; those that know of us and we would like to discover new opportunities with; and finally those that have never heard of us, for which my job is to change this. Around 4:00pm I stop calling and start working on my proposals. This can involve creating new and creative promotional ideas for worldwide campaigns, which is very exciting. Around 5pm, the first of normally 4 weekly calls with the United States starts and this can last anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours. Normally I don’t leave the office until 8:00pm, but there are weeks where this can be past midnight as campaigns start to go live.

The other thing I do regularly is give training sessions. We have found that our best sales technique, is to not sell. Instead, we have a belief as a company that if we help our clients as much as we can, then business will ultimately follow. On average I deliver around 2 training sessions a week at major brands and agencies free of charge. These cover a range a subjects from promotional law, social media influencers, GDPR and overseas promotions.

 

What skills/qualities does a person need to have for this sort of role?

In any role in sales there are three things that you must have. The first, is a passion for what you are selling. If you don’t believe in it or know it front to back then your sales will suffer. The second, is a willingness to pick up the phone, there is no substitute for good hard grafting. I make between 30 to 80 calls per day. Lastly, you need to not take anything to heart. It is rare now but I still get told to “piss off”, my emails and calls go unanswered and proposals I spend days working on can receive no feedback. It is important to learn from each of these experiences, but often there can be factors out of your control. What is in your control is the ability to pick yourself up and move on to the next one.

 

What advice would you give to someone looking to move towards a role like this?

If I was young again I would make sure I had as much time in the industry whether paid or unpaid. Working as a temp or an intern, to give myself as much experience as possible. Especially as this industry is overcrowded and you need something to stand out. I also recommend reading, staying up to date on the latest trends, what the latest gods of marketing are saying and what’s trending. Then think about your applications carefully, who do you want to work for. Then apply directly and write personal cover sheets about why you want to work with that company specifically. These will help you avoid drowning in a sea of professionals looking for a role at the moment.

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