What’s Worrying CMOs Right Now?

We’re living in a time of marketing liminality.  Some leaders feel as if they have one hand clinging to their Zoom rooms and one hand clinging to a dusty office HQ desk.

This messy middle moment is fueled by ever-changing customer expectations, dynamic workplace configurations, and  high team turnover. (I started to see these challenges emerge in 2018 and published 3 posts about them here.)

There is a silver lining to this liminal marketing moment. It forces us to re-evaluate EVERYTHING we are doing. Today’s liminal leaders want to know:

  • How can I align my marketing efforts with Sales?
  • What can I do to prove my own impact as a new CMO?
  • What are the new rules of CMO success?
  • How does a CMO gain the support needed to drive transformation?

In my latest Mindful Marketer Life Stream, I addressed these client questions in greater detail:

▶️ Ask Me Anything! Tackling Tough CMO Questions:

Here are two of the many questions you submitted:

✔️ How do I deepen my impact and influence with Sales? 

During the livestream, I recommended starting with one powerful tool: a Service Level Agreement (SLA). This exercise and document ensures you are all moving in the same direction. HubSpot offers a sample template on their website. I modified it to adapt to the expanding roles that CMOs must embrace today, such as customer success and CX. 

The 6 key elements are:

1) Key points of contact within Sales and Marketing

2)Top 3-4 company goals (include metrics!)

3) Top 3 sales goals

4) Top 3 marketing goals. Be sure this includes your content goals, types and link to your content calendar

5) Accountabilities: Conduct a pre-mortem. Answer this: “what will happen if we do not meet these sales and marketing goals? 

6) Team communications channels: in the new world of work, we need to incorporate rituals and practices that encompass all three ways of working: asynchronous (think Slack or Miro), virtual (e.g. Teams, Zoom), and in-person (think “in a cool workspace, together, eye to eye, free of screen barriers). Who owns these channels, and how often will they be updated?

Want a free template? Drop me an email. (and big thanks to Hubspot).

Listen to the replay on Stitcher.

✔️ How do I quickly improve my street credibility as a new CMO? 

Step one: go on a listening tour. Make sure a significant portion of your time is split between customer visits and stakeholder visits. Well before your hire date, you will have completed some “secret shopper” activity and studied your product and service portfolio. Once you are armed with this information, you will find the low-hanging fruit. Get to the root cause of those urgent, persistent issues and act. Taking swift action must happen in order for you to move onto more pressing, strategic opportunities.

My best clients consciously choose where to spend their time every week. Here are the 3 places you must balance:

  • Fixing yesterday’s problems (cleanup aisle; low hanging fruit)
  • Inbox management (day to day management)
  • Designing the future (true innovation)

Over-investing in fixing yesterday’s chronic issues or managing your inbox don’t advance your company. They help you fly straight; that’s true. They also rob you of innovation.

Case in point: one of my former clients runs marketing for a $500M firm. His boss just celebrated 10 months into their promotion to CEO–and still has not made any major changes to their strategy. The low hanging fruit is now falling onto the soggy ground: team silos persist, and teams cling to tradition. 

As a result, the B2B company is missing new business goals in the new key customer segments. My client’s hands feel tied. 

Make every effort to shift from tackling the low hanging fruit to making time for designing the future. Otherwise, you never fulfill your promise to lead and grow the organization. You’re an overpaid manager.

Those are some teaser topics from the show. We also welcomed questions from Shane McCarthy, CMO of Sandboxx, and Michael Taylor, President of simplemind inc. Enjoy the rest of our livestream by clicking here

And keep sending me your great questions! 

P.S. On March 4, we will welcome Guy Kawasaki to The Mindful Marketer studios (yes, THAT Guy!). Don’t miss it. Register here. 

Watch the replay on LinkedIn.

Listen to the replay on Stitcher.

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