The role of CMO is a difficult one. It's even more difficult when you're just starting out. So what do you do in your first 90 days to set yourself up for future success? To find out, we sat down with a CMO roundtable of some of the most successful CMOs around. We talked to Leela Srinivasan (LinkedIn | Twitter) CMO of SurveyMonkey, Keith Messick (LinkedIn |Twitter) CMO of Dialpadand Corinne Sklar (LinkedIn |Twitter) CMO of IBM iX.
On this episode, each of them brings a unique perspective to the discussion and share their insights on best practices for the first 90 days as CMO, how to not get fired, being memorable in B2B marketing, and much more!
Bios: Leela Srinivasan is currently CMO of SurveyMonkey. Previously, she served as CMO at Lever. Prior to that, Leela served as VP of marketing at OpenTable. Additionally, Leela was director of marketing at LinkedIn within the Talent Solutions business, where she co-founded the Talent Connect conference.
Keith Messick is the CMO at Dialpad, a digital communications technology company. Previously, he served as the CMO at Lucidworks and also held senior leadership roles at Topsy (acquired by Apple), Get Satisfaction, and SuccessFactors.
Corinne Sklar is the CMO of IBM iX, which offers creative solutions for business strategy and experience design to solve complex business challenges. Previously, Corinne served for 13 years as the CMO of Bluewolf, an IBM company.
5 Key Takeaways: - As the CMO, is it your job to be the glue that brings the business together. Your marketing and business strategy must be aligned. - Have you taken a sales call yet? Can you talk about your product to a potential prospect? Evolve as a marketer by bridging the gap between marketing and sales. - If something is high risk and you have confidence behind it, do it. If something is low risk and you have confidence behind it, delegate it. Draw yourself an axis to see the other quadrants. Keith calls this the "2 by 2." - Giving others on your team a voice to make decisions has a viral effect within organizations and allows trust, democracy, and creative freedom to develop. - It's important to constantly be adjusting and learning as you go. Adaptability and growth are what to strive for personally and externally as an organization.
Notes & Quotes: First 90 days as CMO - (3:20) - Leela notes, "You've got to know what your business priorities are so that you can be a great partner to the rest of the organization." - Leela was Survey Monkey's first CMO, so she was tasked with formulating her own ideas, her own point of view, and what needed to be different moving forward. - For Leela, she also advises leaning into your team as much as possible. Get to know them! - Corinne sees these first 90 days in three ways. First, is to start with the revenue. Ask yourself, "What are customers buying today?" Second, Corinne mentions, "You have to talk to your stakeholders, you have to understand the business. You can't develop a marketing strategy if you don't have an aligned business strategy." Third, you've got to take some risk. - Keith says that, "really understanding the product right out of the gate is a huge advantage." Determining Your Focus - (13:00) - Leela's first project was doing a virtual conference. This wasn't easy and it was difficult to get the whole organization behind it. In addition, Leela mentions, "You're trying to switch up tactics and do things differently and it's really important to take a stance on [these kinds of] things." - Keith used a "2 by 2" method to decide what to work on. The method goes as follows: you can either be confident in x and x is high risk, so you do x or you can be confident in x and x is low risk, so you delegate x. - Corinne argues that you never want to delegate facetime with your stakeholders.
What Causes a CMO to be Fired - (24:20) - Leela believes it's all rooted in communication and priorities. "You've got to understand business priorities. What is most important for your key stakeholders? Make sure you have open dialogue about those things so that you're not diverging in ways that aren't obvious to you." - Leela - "It's the alignment around what the business priorities are and understanding how marketing's going to show how they're involved in driving those [priorities] and obviously if the business isn't growing and the business isn't meeting its goals, marketing is also a part of that. But when it's going well, also making sure that you can demonstrate how your strategy is aligned to that." - Corinne - "Marketers get fired for either reasons that are totally their fault. And also, things that are probably not their fault. Marketing, in my opinion, is not a playbook job. It's a learning and doing job." - Keith - Corinne brings up that she believes CMO's go on to become CEO's more and more. She continues, "If CMO's can think like CEOs, that is how you're going to be able to drive a broader mission around where the company's supposed to be going as a whole." - Corinne
How to be Memorable in B2B - (34:00) - This is especially important for B2B enterprise sales, "We spend a lot of time in marketing thinking about our messaging, but really working with our salespeople around making their moments memorable is also important." - Corinne - Leela provides a different perspective. "Brands are using this new wave of influencers, aka their customers to do real storytelling, real-time in different environments, whether it's podcast ads or whatever it happens to be, and bringing your next wave of customers closer to your existing customer's experiences, I think continues to be super compelling." - Leela - Keith mentions the speed component and how it can be seen as a secret weapon when trying to be memorable.
Best Gift's and Gift Giving - (43:20) - Corinne can't give or receive gifts because IBM is such a large company and they have involvement with the government. She does mention that, "the things that we give customers, which I think is probably one of the most valuable gifts, is that we give them other customers as a gift." - Corinne - Keith jokes that he has very low standards for gifts. He does think gifts for his dog or his kids are interesting. - Leela thinks gifts have to have trust embedded in them. She states, "82% of people trust customer experiences and the voice of another customer over what the company is saying. It's finding how you can add value in just helping people think differently or just get a different form of inspiration or something into their lives that might cause them to act differently or to shift." - Leela
What Everyone is Excited For Going into 2020 for Their Orgs - (1:01:50) - "I'm very excited to build what I call muscle memory in an organization the size of IBM and, muscle memory in particular on sales, marketing alignment and emotion." - Corinne - Corinne is also excited for IBM's new messaging platform, which is being rolled out. - Keith is most excited for his company's recent acquisition of a company called Talk IQ. They are now able to put Voice Intelligence on every call, which has people gasping in shock at the innovation. Keith says this feeling people get doesn't last forever, but he's excited about it currently. - Leela is really excited to have their company's new messaging platform also rolled out. She's also really excited about how SurveyMonkey's story is taking flight with customers. "We really are helping organizations at scale to measure and understand feedback, turn that feedback into intelligence that drives growth and innovation." - Leela - And lastly, Leela continues, "I'm also excited about building this culture of learning and innovation, which I think we all owe to our teams."
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