Sales as a Foundation for Successful Marketing Careers
Sales Management 11.09.2023

Sales as a Foundation for Successful Marketing Careers

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In this episode of Sunny Side Up, Brian Hopper chats with Catherine Dummitt to discuss success in transitioning from sales to marketing. Catherine champions the mantra: ‘Engage, don’t just sell your products.’ Drawing from her rich sales experience, she underscores the importance of relationship-building in today’s vibrant marketing world, emphasising value-driven strategies over mere transactions. Listen in to learn how Catherine merges adaptability, collaboration, and profound field insights to redefine success in marketing. 

About the Guest 

Catherine Dummitt is the VP of Marketing at Narvar. In her role, Catherine oversees all aspects of Narvar’s marketing, generating brand awareness, driving demand, and powering customer advocacy. As a Marketing leader, Catherine is passionate about building diverse teams, who operate as organizational growth catalysts. Catherine is dedicated to advancing women in the workforce – having stood up ERCs at previous organizations and having served as the Co-President to mBolden (formerly Women in Wireless) in NY.

Connect with Catherine Dummitt 

Key Takeaways 

  • Don’t overlook the transferability of your skillset. A career switch can be daunting, but a diverse career can often be your competitive advantage.
  • A carefully crafted narrative distinguishes a brand from its competition.
  • A holistic understanding of the sales process, from the first touchpoint to closing the sale, is indispensable.
  • Persuasion, negotiation, presentation skills, data-driven decisions, and understanding the complete sales process can be directly transferred and beneficial in a marketing role.
  • Broaden your focus. Transitioning from sales to marketing requires shifting from individual client focus to larger demographic targets.
  • Marketing is not just about quick wins; it’s about building a lasting brand and nurturing growth over time.
  • The cornerstone of effective marketing is understanding who you’re speaking to and tailoring your message accordingly.
  • Communication should not be unidirectional. Engage with your audience and build a rapport instead of pushing a product.
  • Using data as a guiding tool is crucial for decision-making and strategy formation.
  • Recognize that first attempts might not be perfect. Be prepared to pivot based on feedback and emerging trends.
  • Overemphasizing immediate KPIs can neglect essential long-term brand-building initiatives.
  • Marketing should not just push a product; it should offer value and engage customers through a consultative approach.
  • Value-based marketing is about depositing into the relationship before making withdrawals.


“It’s really important to think big picture when you’re in marketing.” – Catherine Dummitt 

Highlights from the Episode 

How did a background in sales prepare you for a successful career in marketing, and what are some specific skills that transfer between the two fields? 

Catherine credits her sales background for providing her with a competitive advantage in marketing. From sales, she gained insights into customer behaviour, honed her messaging skills, built an extensive network, and learned the importance of targets. Her sales experience taught her the value of agility, the importance of feedback, and the significance of understanding the full sales funnel – All skills she applies today to thrive in marketing. 

What are some of the biggest challenges you faced when transitioning to marketing from sales, and how did you handle them? 

Transitioning from sales to marketing presented multiple challenges for Catherine – Some of which she still struggles with. In sales, her focus was often on individual clients, while marketing necessitated a more expansive approach, looking at larger demographics. Additionally, the immediate gratification of closing deals in sales differs from the long-term strategy in marketing. Challenges also arose in managing ROI and the intricacies of data analytics. Unlike the independent nature of sales, successful marketing demands collaboration. 

How does your sales background influence your marketing campaign creation, and can you provide some examples? 

Drawing from her sales experiences, Catherine recognises the importance of humanising targets and understanding their emotions. She illustrated this with an example of a campaign she did, where she sent out Connect 4 games paired with a white paper promoting a CDP. Although the campaign aimed to generate sales-ready leads, its human touch fostered relationship building, underlining the importance of empathy, creativity, and revenue focus in marketing. 

How can marketers use their sales skills to build client relationships and create personalised marketing experiences that resonate with their target audience? 

To excel in marketing, you must cultivate a deep understanding of your target audience. Prioritise personalisation, ensuring it’s tailored to personas, seniority, and region. Remember, successful marketing is a two-way conversation, so always be ready to adapt and iterate based on feedback and data. As the world evolves, using data as a compass becomes vital. Be swift in your actions, and don’t hesitate to try new strategies or adjust as needed. 

How can a marketer with a sales background ensure they’re not overly focused on short-term sales goals at the expense of long-term growth and sustainability? 

When approaching marketing with a sales mindset, it’s essential to balance the allure of short-term goals with the importance of long-term brand and relationship-building efforts. Overreliance on immediate KPIs can overshadow crucial long-term strategies. While personalisation can enhance marketing, excessive personalisation may appear invasive and present scalability issues. Always aim to offer value in marketing, focusing on smaller commitments and engagement rather than pushing directly for end goals. Remember, the foundation of effective marketing is about building and nurturing relationships, not just immediate transactions. 

Good reads: Is there a book, blog, newsletter, website, or video that you would recommend to our listeners? 

Catherine recommends watching B2C marketing insights from platforms like TikTok. 


Christopher Hansen – Chief Client Officer at Power Digital 

John Charlesworth – Director of Marketing Operations at Narvar 

Anisa Kumar – Chief Customer Officer at Narvar 

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