Builder vs Optimizer

When it comes to channel sales & marketing, there are Builders and Optimizers, and the rare occasion where the team has both skill sets.

I’d like to highlight a few key differences between the two and raise awareness that in order to grow successfully, you will need to communicate that the team dynamics and skills needs will be continuously changing in some form.

These are general characteristics, but I’ve been in both roles and noticed that I had to have a different mindset for each.


  1. Risk takers, Entrepreneurial mindset
  2. Have to sell the vision to cross-functional teams to support the new idea and work with them in building the new shiny object
  3. Will need to do whatever it takes to just get on the board to gain confidence of management to keep investing in the new thing
  4. Creators of new systems and processes
  5. Chaos creators


  1. Analytically driven to find improvements
  2. Able to perform process and system improvements
  3. Focused on streamlining vs just doing whatever it takes
  4. Chaos eliminators

For both, every sale matters, but for different reasons…

Builder – every sale is a step closer to becoming a viable revenue channel

Optimizer – every sale is a step closer to reaching a revenue goal of an existing channel

One piece of advice that I have for Optimizers, is that when you come in after a Builder, don’t criticize what was done and what you’ve inherited. You don’t know the internal battles they had in order to get things going. An Optimizer is brought in because of “Now we got this up and running, you’re here to nourish it and take into maturity”.

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