Traditionally, marketing and sales have been more or less an afterthought: much of the marketing and sales work was performed by investment professionals. This is no longer the case, however, and firms are increasingly building teams of dedicated marketing and sales professionals.
Because sales and marketing professionals are typically required to be fluent in all of the investment products, these positions create a great opportunity to learn about the various investment styles that clients demand. This area is a great career opportunity for those who are interested in asset management but don't want to be the investment decision maker.
If your goal is to use sales and marketing as a stepping stone to the investment side, make it a point to network early on with investment professionals and prove yourself at your current job before making it known that you want to make the switch, and work toward developing the quantitative skills needed for the investment positions.
Below is a broad description of the positions that exist in the institutional marketing and sales segment.
Marketing and Sales Manager
Marketing and sales managers are responsible for identifying new clients, presenting the firm's investment capabilities to new and existing clients, solidifying new relationships and servicing existing clients. As was previously discussed, institutional clients are demanding. The search process for being selected to manage an institution's assets is rigorous and lengthy --it could take up to several years. Asset managers make several presentations, and institutions conduct extensive due diligence.
Once an investment management firm is hired, the marketing and sales managers serve in a client relationship capacity. In this role, they arrange semi-annual portfolio reviews, prepare presentations and assure that the proper reporting procedures are followed. Furthermore, managers work to broaden client relationships by introducing institutions to additional investment products offered by the firm. To do this, sales managers must be constantly aware of their clients' needs. They do this by reading current news about their clients and meeting with them on a regular basis. Additionally, sales managers educate themselves on the various products that clients might be interested in. This is where the marketing managers come in: after sales managers identify a client's product need, marketing managers determine how best to present the product to the client.
Marketing and sales managers are MBA graduates or those with equivalent experience. Increasingly, many of these managers are acquiring CFA degrees as client sophistication has increased.
Marketing or Sales Associate
Marketing and sales associates are typically recent college graduates. The positions are quite similar, although they are traditionally segmented by different types of organization.
Marketing associates assist in creating portfolio review presentations and in developing promotional presentations for potential new clients. They are traditionally segmented by investment product type such as equity or fixed income.Sales associates assist in answering RFPs (request for proposals) issued by institutions seeking to hire new investment managers. Additionally, associates assist senior client servicing officials in maintaining and expanding client relationships. Sales associates are traditionally segmented by client type --public pension funds, corporate pension funds, endowments and foundations. Uppers
- Broad knowledge of all of the investment products in the marketplace
- Great professional atmosphere for people that like the industry, but don?t want to be the investment decision maker
- Less hierarchical career path than the investment side
- More entry level jobs than the investment side
- Lots of client interaction
- Difficult to jump to the investment side
- Limited focus on building quantitative skills
- Repetitive assignments
Increasingly, as the industry grows and matures, investment management companies are focusing on professional marketing and sales as a point of differentiation --especially on the institutional side of the business.