A healthy relationship between sales and marketing is key to the success of a business, particularly in small- to medium-sized companies. Marketing efforts will develop and nurture leads, and the sales staff will carry the interested customer to the end of the buying process. With each Google search, consumers are looking for the items they want before ever approaching a sales person, making marketing even more crucial in differentiating your company from the other 112,600,000 competitors and search results.
With that in mind, filling the chief marketing officer (CMO) position in your company can be critical to the business’ success or failure. Thought it may initially seem frightening to extend such a key opening to someone from outside the company family, outsourcing a CMO can provide your company with a qualified and results-driven marketing director who can set up the processes, strategies, and goals to take your company to the next level.
The Role of a CMO
As head of marketing, the CMO has many roles to fill that can affect the success of the business.
- Drive revenue by delivering qualified leads to the sales organization through data-driven marketing efforts.
- Ensure excellent brand experience for prospective customers — this includes customer experiences with web content, payment, and service.
- Test assumptions using CRM and other data-driven research.
- Act as the right hand of the CEO and work closely with IT, operations, and other support areas within the company.
When a CMO fulfills each of these roles, it allows marketing and sales to work together to solve issues, rather than assigning blame, and it helps the CEO and company’s vision for business success come to fruition.
From the Outside In
Looking at the above list of a CMO’s roles, it may still seem that outsourcing your next CMO is not necessary. You may think that someone who is already on staff could fill those roles just as easily. But the outsourced CMO possesses a set of qualities that cannot be found within your company walls.
The outsourced CMO is:
- An Outsider. People within the same company have a tendency to think alike or become wed to an idea because they are so invested in the organization. They understand how things are done and are comfortable that it works. An outsourced CMO will have an outside view of your processes, procedures, and staff. They can interview other executives without any preconceived notions or biases, review current marketing and sales projects from the view of a customer, and will use this information to survey customers to develop fresh insights on company marketing tactics.
- Experienced. Outsourced CMOs have experienced challenges in a variety of different industries, stay current on best practices and trends in the marketing industry, and bring a different type of skill set that doesn’t currently exist within your company. They also will have connections with other industry professionals to get the talent and information your company needs to execute on marketing strategies.
- A Leader. Businesses going through a transition period (growing at an unprecedented rate, have lost a key member of the executive team, or are repositioning their brand) will experience conflicts or confusion from management and the staff. An outsider can help to keep a pulse on rising issues and work to transition the company into a more stable environment, since they won’t have formed alliance or relationships with the staff. An outsourced CMO has dealt with different types of company culture and management styles over their career, so their insights into what works and what doesn’t will be an invaluable asset.
If your business has been sluggish, the management team has been clashing, or your business is in transition, bringing in some new blood may be the jumpstart your company needs. Outsourcing is not always the obvious solution, and the idea of bringing in someone with new ideas and different methods can be intimidating. However, the fresh insights, unbiased point of view, and varied experience of an outsourced CMO can revitalize your business and challenge your team to produce truly original work.
Barbara Fowler, managing director at Chief Outsiders, a provider of part-time marketing executives to help mid-sized businesses. Fowlers specialties lie in sales and marketing synchronization, global business strategies and family business turnaround techniques. A frequent speaker and writer on topics such as leadership, cultural diversity and developing an environment of success, she has effectively led culturally diverse organizations and written and implemented training programs for CMOs worldwide.
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