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I recently got a call from an HR consultancy that informed me that they had a lucrative job offer of a Marketing Manager at a well-known firm. Obviously I was excited, but as soon as the person delved the information about the job responsibilities and KRAs, the excitement level dipped. The job title and the job responsibilities were a total mismatch; while the title was that of a Marketing Manager, the responsibilities were that of a Sales Manager. Urgghh!

Let’s first understand these two important job roles in an organization.

Marketing Manager is an individual who carries out marketing activities viz, branding, product promotion, new product development, market study, and customer relationship amongst others for the organisation.

Sales Manager, on the other hand, is responsible for meeting the sales targets of the organization through effective planning and budgeting. He/she devises strategies and techniques necessary for achieving the sales targets and decides the future course of action for his team members.

In the era of Industry 4.0, (In which computers and automation will come together in an entirely new way, with robotics connected remotely to computer systems equipped with machine learning algorithms that can learn and control the robotics with very little input from human operators), it is highly important that we understand the different between these two vital positions in an organization. It is really sad that many Indian companies still believe that Sales & Marketing are a common domain. If you notice most of the companies have not acclimatized themselves with international standards.

A sales manager has his own competencies and not always can S/he manage marketing strategies for a brand. They might eventually get the ball rolling with their experience, but the strategic inputs will not be as sharp as that of an actual Marketing Manager/ Head.

The core difference that the companies and consultants should understand by the time Industry 4.0 takes shape in India is that Marketing is as important as Sales. It requires a lot of effort and numerous brainstorming sessions go in to making a product / service saleable. These strategies are formulated based on the inputs, experience and feedback received from the Sales Team. This is done even before the product or service enters the market.

Marketing plays a vital role in the process of Sales. It involves an integrated marketing communication approach or a 360 degree communication approach including research, competition mapping & analysis, promotion strategy, promotional campaign, and other aspects of marketing that will ensure long-term product's shelf life in the market. This is well-defined before or immediately after launching the product in the market based on the product feedback / inputs received from consumers and competitor’s analysis. While the task of the sales force is further to take advantage of all marketing efforts made, building their sales pitch on the USP of the product, and build a long term relation with the stakeholders. They are the ones that deal with the customer personally. And unlike, marketing strategy a sales pitch happens on a much more customized level.

Misunderstood roles of Sales and Marketing often leads to loss of productivity, higher attrition rate and mismanagement of execution. If that is taken care of, a combined effort of Sales and Marketing will make for a win-win situation.

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