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Sales & Marketing Jobs That Will Vanish

In this morning's post, I explained that the current economy is going to leave many sales professionals without a job. But it's not just the economy that presents a threat -- it's the Internet, which makes many traditional sales and marketing jobs obsolete. As businesses get over their initial shock, stop their panicking, and start looking at their cost-structures, they're only going to keep certain types of sales and marketing professionals. Will you make the cut? To find out, read on...

As the economy sputters, companies are going to layoff two types of sales and marketing professionals.

The first to go will be traditional marketers. These are the guys who talk about branding all the time, buy non-measurable advertising, hold trade events that don't generate leads, etc., etc.. These guys survive during good times because the money they spend needlessly is lost in the wash. But hard times create incredible demand for accountability, so it's only a matter of time before the financial pain gets heavy enough that management begins demanding that marketing be measured quantitatively and objectively, with a metric tied to sales revenue and profit.

The next group to go with will traditional sales reps whose previous success is based entirely upon psychological skills (rapport building, closing techniques, etc.) and procedural knowledge (how to configure a deal, how to write an order, etc.) The truth is that nobody needs a sales rep to provide information that's easily available on the web. And nobody needs a sales rep to write an order when the customer can order the same product or service directly on the web.

What sales and marketing jobs will survive? There are two:

  1. Marketing quants. These are marketing professionals who understand statistics and demographics and use both traditional technology (like direct mail) and internet technology (like email, web sites, social networking) to generate leads. Those leads may end up being closed online or may be handed over to a sales professionals, but everything will be measurable and measured. The quants are more like engineers than ad execs. They'll think, and act, like scientists. They'll do real research (not focus groups) and they'll use real mathematics and historical data to help sales groups (when needed) set forecasts and make those forecasts into a reality.
  2. Outsourced Managers. The sales professionals who survive the "great extinction" will be the ones that can act as if they are managers inside their customer's firms. They will not just "consult" or "build solutions" or other namby-pamby BS. They'll take complete responsibility for a certain function inside a customer's account and ensure that that function is always delivered on-time and on-budget. They will be highly professional and treated as such. They will have training programs that will last months, before they go on a single sales call. They will make big money, because they'll be critical to the customer's success.
And that's about it. Those traditional sales and marketing jobs were destined to disappear in any case, but the economic troubles are going to make the extinction happen that much more quickly.

Over the next few weeks, I'll be laying out exactly what you need to do to get yourself firmly repositioned in one of these two valuable positions.

READERS: Do you agree with my analysis? I'm hearing stories all over about traditional sales reps, managers and VPs who can't find a job. And I'm also hearing some pretty incredible success stories -- but they're all in either quant marketing or high-level "managerial" selling. Do you see what's happening? Or have I got it all wrong?

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