The CMO Files: Rajesh Kumar, Head of Marketing, SAP India

Get inside the mind of the world's top marketing professionals. In 20 questions we find out what they love most about their job, what their biggest achievements are... and what keeps them awake at night. Read 'The CMO Files'...

Name:   Rajesh Kumar

Organisation: SAP India Private Limited

Job title: Head of Marketing - SAP Indian Subcontinent

Location:  New Delhi, India

(1)   Where were you born and raised?

Born in Punjab, raised in the hill state of Himachal, studied in Haryana & West Bengal,  worked in Chandigarh & Delhi and travelled all over India and most of the globe in my various assignments - for me, wanderlust began early in that sense.

(2)   What was your first job?
I loved being the sales & marketing guy after my engineering days too! I started my career selling Swaraj Komatsu Forklift Trucks just after my engineering and learnt a lot of technology and key accounts selling.

(3)   What was the first product you got really excited about?
It has been an exciting journey of marketing for me - started with automobiles, moved to liquor, then confectionaries, internet, IT and application software now - they all have given me a sense of high and helped me evolve as a marketer with a view across B2C to B2B spectrum.

(4) Who has been the biggest influence on your career?
A number of people have influenced me at every stage of my career - visionary leaders, great managers and extremely high calibre peers, I had the opportunity to work within organizations like Seagram, Perfetti, Microsoft and SAP - they have all fundamentally transformed me through these years and I am sincerely grateful for  their intersection with my life.

(5) What has been your greatest achievement?
Strategizing and building the marketing organization at SAP over the last three years has been a great source of accomplishment and professional contentment for me - the team has delivered fantastic results and consistently partnered in growth of the business - I certainly do believe this is the best marketing team in the technology business in this region.

(6) What has been your biggest mistake?
Plenty; and each one has been a source of learning - I have had my fair share of mistakes, but none has kept me from dreaming big and starting again.

(7) What is your greatest strength?
My curiosity - I am a lifelong student of Marketing! Once I pick up an idea I do not give up on it at any cost. 

(8) What is your biggest weakness?
I must confess this - I have never managed to wing it in my life.

(9) What do you think is the aspect of your role most neglected by peers?
May sound hackneyed, but developing a shared picture of success, especially in complex matrix environments, and following through with it - is the element I feel, gets missed many times.

(10) Which word or phrase is your mantra and which word or phrase makes you squirm?
‘Can do' is what I love. I squirm at phrases like "I can't do this", "This cannot be done" and "It's not my job".

(11) What makes you stressed?
Lack of dependability from the people I trust.

(12) What do you do to relax?

Spend time with family and friends.

(13) What is your favourite song?
‘Stairway to Heaven' by Led Zeppelin

(14) Which book taught you most?
‘Know How" by Ram Charan

 (15) Do you have a team or sport that you follow?

More than the sports, I love exploring new places, cuisines, food and Art in different genres - be in theatre, photography or painting.

(16) Which country would you like to work in?
Probably USA, though I would prefer to live somewhere in Europe.

(17) Which company do you think has the best marketing?

Hard to pin one - a number of iconic companies in their categories have pushed the boundaries of ‘Best' - Harley, Apple, Samsung, Singapore Airlines, ITC…. My list goes on…

(18) What do you love most about your job?

The technology industry has this unique opportunity to change the world, a truly cross-cultural empowered environment and plus you get to work with some of the smartest people on this planet.

(19) What is your favourite book?

"Tao Te Ching" by Lao Tzu and all Daniel Silva books in fiction genre

 (20) What keeps you awake at night?

Any new idea or a problem issue I can't get my head around in the day time.


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