Not too long ago, before the recession and the health care debate began dominating the news, energy was front-and-center in the national discussion. High gas prices, peak oil, alternate fuel sources and energy independence were all topics getting plenty of attention a few months ago, and though they're less covered by media sources, they are still worthy of your focus, both as a citizen and as a salesperson.
Not only are nascent clean-energy markets getting a lot of attention and funding from the federal government, which could translate into big new marketing budgets, but standard energy companies are facing more and more advertising challenges. From increased federal regulation and self-enforced green initiatives to aggressive competition from rivals in a down economy, there are plenty of ways energy companies could make use of a talented marketing professional's services.
So while there are some markets that may seem more lucrative, like collegiate or health care, perhaps it's time to consider one that is a little more behind-the-scenes and give energy markets a chance.
THE SAME, BUT A LITTLE DIFFERENT
If you've never sold to the energy sector before, the prospect may seem a little daunting. Some companies may appear gigantic in scope, and others overly technical in their needs, but such concerns might be misplaced.
"You don't have to be an engineer to sell to an energy-related company," said Gregg Emmer, vice president and chief marketing officer for distributor Kaeser & Blair, Batavia, Ohio. "It comes down to the same question[s] all the time when you're talking to a potential client: What is it that you are working on? What is the most important issue that you're working on right now?" Emmer continued, explaining that while you might expect a large power company's answer to said question to be something technical or related to convoluted legal regulations, very often that is not the case. He pointed out that these companies face the same "mundane" issues as other companies, needing help setting up employee incentive programs or picking out effective leave-behind items for their sales forces. That said, there are some nuances to working with energy companies.