So there’s a situation I see happening with many (not most, but many) SaaS companies as they build out the first management team:
They hire a VP of Sales that doesn’t think much of the VP of Marketing. And doesn’t work with them.
So they bypass marketing, do their own thing, rebuild some of that function themselves, and sort of just have … a ton of distance from marketing.
Does this always fail, when sales and marketing don’t really talk, and aren’t a team? Not exactly. Sometimes, the VP of Marketing really just isn’t very good, and a replacement comes in that works better with sales. And the situation is fixed. Sometimes. And sometimes a VP of Sales just brute forces it on their own.
Just as often though, I see it as a sign the VP of Sales isn’t going to make it.
So what do I do? I do two simple things:
- First when I interview VPs of Sales candidates, if there’s already a marketer in place, I asked the candidate what they think. If they have no idea at all, and/or don’t want to meet the VP of Marketing before joining — that’s a flag. A real flag.
- Second, when I interview VPs of Marketing candidates, I always ask how they like to work with the sales team. If they don’t have a terrific answer — I say pass if you have a sales-led motion. What you want to hear is how closely they work with sales, and how they enjoy it, some frictions aside.
- Third, when I attend a board meeting or team meeting and see a VP of Sales ignoring the VP of Marketing — it’s always a sign of a problem that has to be fixed. You can’t ignore this. The passive aggressiveness, the mocking of marketing, etc. It’s a sign you don’t have a true GTM team.
So a simple post, but an important one. In a sales-driven motion, you need a GTM team, and Sales and Marketing working together. At least mostly. At least partially.
What doesn’t work is if they don’t talk, or respect each other. Try to figure that out on the way in for a hire. And if it happens on the job — root it out, fast.
Few things are more 1 + 1 = 3 that when a VPS and a VPM are truly a great team
— Jason ✨Be Kind✨ Lemkin (@jasonlk) June 22, 2021