In Search of the Mythical VP Sales & Marketing

March 19, 2010

As a venture capital firm that focuses on providing operational advice to CEO’s and founders of expansion stage software companies we spend a lot of time with them discussing how to scale their businesses.

One area we always focus on is building out the management team which often is one of the biggest impediments to a company’s success whether they have raised expansion capital or not.

The management teams of the companies that we invest growth capital in are accustomed to wearing multiple hats across multiple disciplines in order to grow their business under capital constraints. This habit can be a challenge to overcome as a company moves forward.

We tend to see this behavior consistently in the area of Sales and Marketing and Product Management and Development. It manifests itself in the belief that one person can do both roles even though they require different skill sets and in the end will actually stunt the growth of the company if they do not split the responsibilities and hire individuals for each role as the company grows.

I was recently reading Bruce Cleveland’s blog. Bruce is an operational VC at Interwest that I have spoken to in the past. We both are philosophically aligned on how to build great software companies.

I think Bruce did a wonderful job of describing why a company should avoid having one person managing both Sales and Marketing and I believe the same logic applies to having one person manage both Product Management and Development. His blog titled “In Search of the Mythical VP Sales & Marketing” is worth the time to read for CEO’s and founders looking to understand how to scale their business by scaling their management team.

All the best!


Venture Partner

<strong>George Roberts</strong> is a Venture Partner at OpenView. He enjoys partnering with companies and helping them achieve their goals through strategy, focus and operational execution. From 1990 to 2003, George spent 13 years at Oracle Corporation, most recently having served as Executive Vice President of North American Sales. While at Oracle, George was responsible for over $1 billion in revenue and more than 2,000 employees, reporting directly to the company’s CEO and Chairman, Larry Ellison.