Let’s start by examining the differences in the two types of executives themselves. Figure 8.1 shows an interesting insight: High-growth companies employ seasoned top sales leaders with 16 or more years of experience in that role. By contrast, top marketing leaders at these same companies are newer to their jobs; most only have three to five years of experience in the top seat.
It seems that the best way to excel in sales leadership is to have a lot of experience actually selling. Conversely, senior marketing executives should bring a broader set of experiences and fresher, more constantly renewed perspectives to their work. In some ways, this comes as no surprise; digital technologies have not yet completely disrupted the traditional sales process. But marketing hasn’t been able to avoid disruption from search engines, social media, and myriad other digital marketing technologies.