VP of Sales and Marketing, VP of Marketing and Sales, or Neither?

What Seinfeld taught me about sales and marketing job titles.

I’ve been rewatching old episodes of Seinfeld on Netflix lately. When you watch a show like that in rapid succession, you start to notice things the characters say over and over. Take Jerry’s “have you evers” for example:

Have you ever noticed a guy’s out in his driveway working on something with tools, how all the other men in the neighborhood are magnetically drawn to this activity?

Have you ever noticed anybody going slower than you is an idiot, and anyone going faster than you is a maniac?

Have you ever noticed how they always give you peanuts on planes?

Have you ever noticed that the waiter who takes your order is not the one who brings your food anymore?

Have you ever noticed how they keep improving your laundry detergent, but they still can’t get those blue flakes out? 

I’ve got another one for you—have you ever noticed there aren’t any VPs of marketing and sales out there?

Need proof? Allow me to share people’s exhibits A and B.

Exhibit A: Google

Google “vp of sales and marketing” and you’ll end up with about 1,370,000 results. 

Swap the order and search for “vp of marketing and sales” and only 394,000 results come back.

Exhibit B: LinkedIn

Search for “vp of sales and marketing” jobs on LinkedIn and there are 231 openings in the United States. 

Look again for “vp of marketing and sales” and there are only 21 open jobs.

Why are sales and marketing results 3.5 times as prevalent on Google and 11 times more popular on LinkedIn? It’s because sales is a higher priority at most B2B companies. On top of that, most VP of sales and marketing aren’t natural marketers so inevitably marketing gets the short end of the stick.

Over the past 25 years, I’ve worked with some amazing VPs of sales that happen to have “marketing” in their titles. Very few are great marketers. The reason is salespeople and marketers are totally different breeds. Salespeople are hunters. Marketers are storytellers. As a general rule, hunters are tacticians and storytellers are creative thinkers. 

VPs of sales and marketing are typically compensated based on sales. They need to start being rewarded for accomplishing marketing objectives, as well. When sales and marketing are aligned, marketing supports sales with the tools they need, and more business is won. 

With apologies to all the VPs of marketing and sales out there, your title is past its born-on date. The same applies to the VPs of sales and marketing. There’s no need to get new business cards. It’s rare to find a VP who excels at both sales and marketing. That’s why a team approach is successful. By partnering with an in-house marketing department or an external agency, VPs of sales and marketing get the best of both worlds – marketing that opens doors and salespeople that seal the deal. That’s when everyone gets their bonuses.  

Jason is a Partner and the CEO at Revel, a B2B marketing agency. He is a diehard baseball fan who loves his Detroit Tigers. Family vacations often revolve around seeing games in different MLB ballparks around the country – they’ve been to 21 so far and counting. Connect with him on LinkedIn or Twitter.

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