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What is the difference between a sales manager and a marketing manager?

What is the difference between a sales manager and a marketing manager?

Sales managers and marketing managers are both responsible for managing and organising their respective divisions within a company. While sales managers and marketing managers may work closely together to achieve certain goals and objectives, their roles and responsibilities have defined differences. As an employer, you should ensure that the right tasks are going to the right managers if you want business to run smoothly and effectively.

At the end of the day, sales managers and marketing managers hold some of the most important positions within a business structure. Together, they are responsible for driving sales to your ideal target audience and meeting all of your sales and marketing-related goals.

In this article, we look at the differences, as well as the similarities, between sales managers and marketing managers, and their roles and responsibilities.

Understanding the role of sales managers

Sales managers are highly organised people with a deep understanding of numbers, sales, and statistics. Sales managers make use of sales data and a range of tools and applications to develop new sales strategies, ways to improve products and services, and ways to improve customer satisfaction. These managers are in charge of a team of salespeople and will need to have fantastic leadership skills in order to motivate their team to push sales.

There is often frequent travel required of sales managers as they are required to meet up with wholesalers, retailers and distributors to discuss business strategies. This job may require working overtime or working weekends.

The responsibilities of a sales manager should include:

  • Coming up with sales plans and strategies
  • Assisting customers that may have questions about the company’s products and services
  • Determining the profitability of certain products
  • Managing their sales team and motivating them to push sales
  • Setting sales goals
  • Training team members
  • Communicating with other divisions

Understanding the role of marketing managers

Marketing managers are responsible for all of a business’s marketing efforts. They will decide when and where to run campaigns, which specials to run, and which platforms should be the focal point of marketing efforts. Marketing requires creativity and an attention to detail. The brand’s identity should be kept consistent throughout marketing campaigns so that the customer has a clear idea of who the brand is.

Marketing managers need to keep on top of the latest marketing trends, which, in the age of technology, are forever progressing. They should have a clear idea of what the company’s competitors are doing in terms of marketing and find ways to get a few steps ahead.

The responsibilities of a marketing manager should include:

  • Coming up with a marketing plan and strategies
  • Negotiating and closing certain business contracts
  • Deciding the pricing of certain products
  • Determining when discounts and specials should run
  • Managing their team and ensuring that all marketing tasks run according to schedule
  • Dealing with clients
  • Training team members
  • Communicating effectively with other teams

Key differences between a sales manager and a marketing manager

  • A sales manager manages the sales process while a marketing manager is in charge of all marketing operations.
  • Sales managers usually manage smaller teams than marketing managers do.
  • Sales managers take care of the sales pipeline and driving people to the business while the marketing manager focuses on keeping up a consistent and cohesive brand identity.
  • Sales managers are target based while marketing managers are more result-orientated
  • Sales managers focus on revenue generation activity, while marketing managers focus on lead generation.
  • The sales team needs the marketing team more than the marketing team needs the sales team.
  • Sales’ primary objective is to make sales, while marketing is more nuanced in that it needs to portray the brand a certain way and come up with new innovations and ideas.
  • Marketing managers are responsible for creating leads, while sales managers need to close the leads.

From the above, you should gain an understanding of the different roles and responsibilities of sales managers and marketing managers, but understand how these two roles are closely linked.

Studying to be a sales or marketing manager

Are you interested in becoming a sales or marketing manager? Most sales and marketing managers have a bachelor’s degree in subjects such as business, finance, or marketing. Sales managers usually lean towards business while marketing managers typically focus on marketing.

That being said, those with abundant experience, and that have worked their way up, may not need a degree at all to hold these management positions. There are also many different online courses and resources available that would assist in the improvement of sales and management knowledge and skills.

At the end of the day, sales managers and marketing managers share many of the same characteristics such as solid leadership skills, effective communication, confidence, organisation, and an analytical mindset with attention to detail.

How sales managers and marketing managers have to work together

Sales teams and marketing teams work very closely together in most businesses. The sales team should collect and analyse all sales data, and present it to the marketing team along with sales goals. From there, the marketing team can come up with marketing strategies that will help achieve these sales goals, and push certain products etc.

There should be constant and open communication between the sales manager and the marketing manager if things are to run smoothly.

Can one person fulfil the role of a sales manager and a marketing manager?

In the cases of small businesses, the sales and marketing teams are often merged as there are not enough employees for two separate teams to make sense. In these cases, usually, one manager is employed to fulfill the role of sales manager and marketing manager and to manage the sales & marketing team.

If this is something you plan to do as an employer, you should ensure that the tasks and responsibilities set out are not too much for one person to handle. When interviewing candidates for the role, it should be made exceptionally clear what the role entails.


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