A non-sugarcoated approach towards marketing.

A non-sugarcoated approach towards marketing.

February 11, 2020
February 11, 2020

I remember staring at my business plan, the same one who got my investors excited.   I planned on a steady stream / “top of the funnel” of Marketing Qualifies Leads (MQLs’) that slowly but surely converted into meaningful and scalable sales. I also remember that I planned ahead the costs of the marketing team, outbound and inbound campaigns, events, conferences etc. I event allowed four (!) month of rump up time to allow us to recruit the marketing talent.

Recruiting the marketing leader was relatively easy as they all assured me that their experience and track record is consistent with my business expectations as articulated in my business-plan. Really a no brainer!

Guess what happened during our monthly review meetings? I got exactly what I deserved!

“The website is just horrible, it lacks any messaging consistency and clear call to action!”

“There is no consistency in our brand, we must rebrand and replace all of our collateral”

“We must implement a system to enable executing our digital campaigns”

“How can I generate leads without proper customer case studies and endorsements?”

“We must invest in brand awareness before we can see tangible leads as we are not recognized in the market” (that’s my personal “Favorite”)

And of course there was the suffix the sounded like “I require at least three month and $Ks’ to properly pull this off”

Honestly, most of these arguments were quite justified as we were building everything on the fly, isn’t this what a startup is all about?!

So why do some CMO’s have hard time maintaining their tenure with growing startups?

1. Setting expectations – the CEO has strict sales objective, and the VP sales is expecting SQLs’ to drive his sales. The CMO must put her foot down and explain why generating a steady top of the funnel takes time and effort to build as it spans across multiple a/b testing cycles.

Consequently the CEO should set expectations with the shareholders. I will be naïve to assume we can set this buffers in our initial plans as our investors want to see how we generate $30 m in our first three years (Yes, I am cynical, but this as issue worthy of separate article J)

2. Investing too early in sales – I’ve worked with so many well-funded companies that made the mistake of putting the cart before the horse, onboarding sales rock stars that are accustomed and depended on a steady flow of high quality MQLs’

This leads to unnecessary friction and sometimes having leaders leave the company.

3. Maturity – unlike our mature elder companies, we usually lack proper references and foundations towards executing consistently

4. Winds of Change 1 – I know you all feel the macro-trend of buyer fatigue, all quadrants are red oceans, all marketers are practicing Omni-channels (not always in a respectful / minded manner) This makes the marketing challenge to be increasingly meaningful

5. Winds of change 2 – marketers should reposition their role and interaction with the c-suite, check out this great article -

Please share your thoughts and experiences.

I remember staring at my business plan, the same one who got my investors excited.   I planned on a steady stream / “top of the funnel” of Marketing Qualifies Leads (MQLs’) that slowly but surely converted into meaningful and scalable sales. I also remember that I planned ahead the costs of the marketing team, outbound and inbound campaigns, events, conferences etc. I event allowed four (!) month of rump up time to allow us to recruit the marketing talent.

Recruiting the marketing leader was relatively easy as they all assured me that their experience and track record is consistent with my business expectations as articulated in my business-plan. Really a no brainer!

Guess what happened during our monthly review meetings? I got exactly what I deserved!

“The website is just horrible, it lacks any messaging consistency and clear call to action!”

“There is no consistency in our brand, we must rebrand and replace all of our collateral”

“We must implement a system to enable executing our digital campaigns”

“How can I generate leads without proper customer case studies and endorsements?”

“We must invest in brand awareness before we can see tangible leads as we are not recognized in the market” (that’s my personal “Favorite”)

And of course there was the suffix the sounded like “I require at least three month and $Ks’ to properly pull this off”

Honestly, most of these arguments were quite justified as we were building everything on the fly, isn’t this what a startup is all about?!

So why do some CMO’s have hard time maintaining their tenure with growing startups?

1. Setting expectations – the CEO has strict sales objective, and the VP sales is expecting SQLs’ to drive his sales. The CMO must put her foot down and explain why generating a steady top of the funnel takes time and effort to build as it spans across multiple a/b testing cycles.

Consequently the CEO should set expectations with the shareholders. I will be naïve to assume we can set this buffers in our initial plans as our investors want to see how we generate $30 m in our first three years (Yes, I am cynical, but this as issue worthy of separate article J)

2. Investing too early in sales – I’ve worked with so many well-funded companies that made the mistake of putting the cart before the horse, onboarding sales rock stars that are accustomed and depended on a steady flow of high quality MQLs’

This leads to unnecessary friction and sometimes having leaders leave the company.

3. Maturity – unlike our mature elder companies, we usually lack proper references and foundations towards executing consistently

4. Winds of Change 1 – I know you all feel the macro-trend of buyer fatigue, all quadrants are red oceans, all marketers are practicing Omni-channels (not always in a respectful / minded manner) This makes the marketing challenge to be increasingly meaningful

5. Winds of change 2 – marketers should reposition their role and interaction with the c-suite, check out this great article -

Please share your thoughts and experiences.

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