Although not many think there is an exceedingly wide gap, taking a sales or marketing job at a smaller company is just about as far as you can get from taking one at a larger organisation.
First, sales and marketing employees who have large companies backing them will typically have an easier time selling. They are behind a name brand have a lavishly budgeted marketing department dedicated to improving their image and competitive status within the industry vertical landscape.
However, while working at a big company typically means a quicker foot in the door during the sales cycle and more lax work hours (unless you are in certain sectors such as finance), it is actually harder to make a significant amount of money in one’s career. Rarely does anybody get rich working only in corporate. Entrepreneurial company would allow for salary and compensation negotiations that are highly favourable the employee becoming an executive of the firm, where the employee has hard work and top-notch skill to leverage.
Another problem with large Fortune 500 or bigger companies is that getting to the executive level is a rare accomplishment and many people spend their entire careers chasing the invisible. Hold in your mind the vast number of employees working at a typical Fortune 500 firm, then calculate the approximate percentage of that employee body that the C-level executives make.
Of course, when it comes to compensation bigger companies make up for some of their other weaknesses, especially for job seekers heading into early middle age with families, by providing benefits like very comprehensive retirement, health and life insurance, and various perks. Such offerings put many at ease and allow them to work happily at their jobs and know that if one thing goes wrong, not everything will go wrong.
However, the downside to these future-oriented benefits is that they can be taken away as quickly as they are given. Anyone who hasn’t been living in a cave since the turn of the 21st century knows about disappearing pensions, slashed 401(k) plans, and drastically restricted insurance plans. Publicly traded companies never seem to go bankrupt until they’ve forestalled failure for a little while by balancing on the backs of their employees.
Another difference between working at a large and small organisation is the ratio of account management to new business acquisition. Many salespeople strongly prefer one over the other.
Typically there is a direct relationship between the size of the company and the percentage of existing account management the sales representatives (as opposed to dedicated client services or account managers) will have to do. Companies don’t get to the size of Google be a having 20,000 people in the room cold calling. Again, the one caveat here is that there is another direct relationship: that between the amount of extra compensation paid per sale and whether that sale was made via prospecting rather than farming existing accounts.
If taking a marketing job at a large company, be prepared to go directly back to college, or at least to feel like you’re there again. I was talking to a friend of mine, a former dean of Syracuse’s entrepreneurship school, and he made a great point: Many marketing classes teach the students very broad things such as “branding” and other macro marketing topics that are not too pertinent to the small business.
Until you get to the point where you are spearheading plans to take the Budweiser frogs of the TV screen and slap them onto merchandise, having a marketing job at a large company is more analytical than anything else.
While this brief essay was 500-some odd words, one could pen pages on the differences between taking a sales or marketing job at a small versus a large organisation. Do I particularly like one better than the other?
I would have to say the answer is, I’m indifferent. Large companies tend to pay more quickly, for one, though it was a large company that fired me a few months after graduating college.