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Getting into SD functional consulting

I have sales and marketing background with 10 years of experience with leading manufacturing companies. I want to become SAP functional consultant in SD. I would like to know from you that what are the basic competencies/skills reqired to become SAP functional consultant. Is going for a certication program essential at this moment? In case I don't go for the certication program, how can I train myself on SAP?
Once again, anyone trying to break into SAP should check out my previous month's answers and/or my FAQ. You're thinking along the right lines so far. With your sales and marketing background, you have matched your knowledge to the SD module, which is the closest connection to your current skills, and is, therefore, the area of SAP where you'd have the most to offer. I would also look ahead to SAP CRM as another product area where your current skills would come into play. If you do get certified, you will find the response to your certification underwhelming. The main benefit of getting certified is developing a network of other aspiring SAP professionals to share leads and market information with. Usually, the best way into SAP is to simply get hired by a company that is implementing SAP or planning a major upgrade. However, sales and marketing folks like yourself have another option. You can move into sales or pre-sales for either SAP, or perhaps for a third party vendor that sells add-on products for SAP environments. The best thing about pre-sales is that you begin to get technical experience, while building on your existing sales and marketing experience. The options for getting into SAP are limited right now by a stagnating consulting environment, but you may be able to find a way into SAP by helping SAP service firms develop new business opportunities. Patience and a long-term view are both keys to making this work.

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