By Matthew Lallas, Marketing and Sales Intern
I had the pleasure of interning at Heinz Marketing this summer. While I’ve gotten to experience marketing in a college environment (classes, clubs, campus organizations) and a B2C organization, I was completely new to the world of B2B and agency marketing. I was nervous, I wasn’t sure how I would fare in this new role.
Although, after 3 months of interning, I couldn’t be happier with my decision. I’ve gotten to expand my knowledge of both the conceptual and applied sides of sales and marketing, along with gaining valuable communication skills. Though perhaps the biggest standout of my experience has been getting to work alongside such a supportive, inspiring team. I’ll take you through here what I learned interning at Heinz Marketing and offer some practical advice about how to land an internship.
What I learned
While I did many different tasks throughout the week, my largest responsibility was BDR, or, being a business development representative. Put simply, this is the process of qualifying – deciding whether to directly contact or nurture – leads. I’m responsible for both inbound and outbound leads. Inbound leads arrive as MQLs, which means that each prospect has engaged with Heinz Marketing content to a level of 50 points and is a “Marketing Qualified Lead” therefore. Prospects earn points by opening emails, clicking on links, filling out forms, and downloading content, just to name a few. Outbound leads came through lists of companies in Heinz Marketing’s ICP (Ideal Customer Profile), and through search functions on LinkedIn Sales Navigator.
Having never done any sales function, I wasn’t sure how I would do being a BDR. Though thanks to the patient help and mentorship from Cherie Singer and Payal Parikh, I felt confident in the role, and found myself quickly improving in both efficiency and depth of qualification. I also gained hugely relevant experience in some of today’s marketing tools. Using programs like SalesForce, Outreach Everywhere, LeadIQ, and ZoomInfo gave me a better idea of industry applications, which is something that isn’t often taught in the classroom.
Another large part of my internship was the various copywriting and blog content projects I worked on. I wrote both social and email promotional copy for webinar events, along with a blog outline and post as a part of a client engagement. I also helped write the weekly B2B Reads and Sales Pipeline Radio posts. These projects helped further develop my written communication and gave me experience in tools like WordPress and Buffer.
As I stated above, some of the most important insights I found this summer were simply through interacting with the team. I saw first-hand how important shared company values are, and saw that camaraderie and humility modeled every week. I also saw the many benefits of weekly team bonding through virtual happy hours and monthly in-person events. A special thanks as well to Brenna Lofquist, whose leadership and mentorship has been pivotal throughout my time at HM. All in all, I’ve really enjoyed my time as an intern so far and will be taking all the lessons from this summer with me into the future.
Advice for the Internship Search
If you’re looking for an internship of your own, I know that the process can be daunting at times. Whether it’s a long string of “no’s,” or you simply aren’t sure where to start, the entire internship search can be hard to navigate. So, while I’m no expert in the topic, I can give some practical advice that’s worked for me.
1. Start Looking Early
While each company hires at different times, having an idea of when hiring seasons start and end is much easier if you start the search early. It gives you a better idea of what’s out there, when each application opens and closes, and how to best budget your time. There’s a lot out there, so it’s easy to get overwhelmed. In my experience, the best antidote is to simply start, and work in frequent, short bursts on applications and research.
2. Seek Out Career Conversations
While we all know networking is important, the idea of “building a network” can seem near impossible if you don’t know anyone in the field you’re interested in. This is where tools like LinkedIn can really come in handy. Search for professionals in your areas of interest – you can filter by commonalities like people who’ve attended the same schools or live in your area. From there, don’t be afraid to reach out and ask to chat. Nothing formal, just a polite, respectful ask for a 15-20 minute career conversation. From there, focus on asking productive, informative questions and forming a genuine connection.
3. Utilize Interview Questions
If you end up getting an interview, utilizing that time to ask relevant questions about your own journey and curiosities is important. It can often feel like an interview is a one-way street, where an employer is asking questions, and where it’s the interviewee’s job to just give the “best” possible answers. This isn’t the case, though. Interviews are a great time to ask about company culture, day-to-day work, and even opportunities for growth.
4. Be Patient and Gentle with Yourself
There will be a lot of “no’s.” Especially if it’s your first time looking for an internship. Remember to be patient and gentle with yourself throughout the process. At the end of the day, your own well-being is the most valuable thing to protect.