For years, industry talk about the CMO role tended to focus on CMO’s shorter than average tenure in the C-suite when compared to peers. More recently, the scuttlebutt turned more ominous for CMOs, when three household-name brands (Johnson & Johnson, McDonald’s and Uber) parted ways with their CMOs with no intention of replacing them.
Fast-forward a year, and one of those brands (McDonald’s) decided they need a global CMO after all. What changed? In terms of business, everything. The pandemic turned the economy upside down, and brands of all types are frantically making adjustments. It’s also possible that some business leaders are finally realizing (and appreciating!) just how critical a role CMOs play in any economic environment.
CMOs and CROs Are Not Interchangeable
In the B2B space, some companies consolidated marketing and sales teams under the leadership of a chief revenue officer (CRO). While I’ve argued for years that marketing and sales should work together more closely, I believe it’s usually a mistake to put both groups under someone who has specialized primarily in sales or marketing. The skillsets needed to run each operation are markedly different.
In general, sales leaders focus on improving the sales team’s productivity and compressing the sales cycle, paying close attention to timing, follow-up on leads and deal closure to hit revenue targets. CMOs oversee activities that build the brand, green-light new campaign concepts and ideas, etc., to improve the company’s competitive position over time.
Marketing and sales have some overlapping objectives, and operations intersect at critical junctures, which is why collaboration between the two is crucial. But each department’s skillsets are distinct. Top-tier people in operations roles in the marketing or sales field would likely hesitate to come on board with a leader who didn’t fully understand (and therefore value) their highly specialized capabilities.
Better Alignment for Better Results
At Full Circle, we’ve seen that the best approach is to bring sales and marketing to the table around a single source of data truth. This strategy recognizes the unique skillsets each team (and team leader) possess and fully optimizes their contributions via collaboration. In this scenario, CMOs and CROs use their respective expertise to build and lead strong teams and work together to drive revenue.
A single source of data truth based on the company’s CRM system is essential because it allows marketing and sales to work together with a set of numbers that are credible to both groups — as well as the CEO. Metrics from marketing’s tech stack resonate with marketers, but to foster collaboration with sales and build credibility, CMOs need reporting on results (revenue) rather than activities (clicks).
That’s why B2B marketing teams need to generate marketing reports and track campaign attribution data inside the CRM, which most B2B marketers already use. With the right metrics inside the CRM, marketing can not only improve campaign attribution so they can invest in more productive campaigns, they can identify and eliminate significant process efficiencies by analyzing the marketing/sales funnel.
Companies Need CMOs to Navigate the Road Ahead
Business trends already in play before COVID-19 have accelerated. There’s more velocity today around efforts to achieve digital transformation and greater agility because it’s more important now than ever to be able to take decisive action based on data, continuously improve efficiency and communicate clearly (internally and externally). Those capabilities are magnified by the pandemic, but they’re important in any business climate. They always were.
In times of great uncertainty, brands must evolve as customer needs and sentiment change. That takes marketing expertise. Companies need to respond to changes in demand patterns and shorten sales cycles, which requires experienced salespeople. And everyone must collaborate to maximize revenue and efficiency, which requires the ability to measure performance and generate accurate, meaningful data, which takes technology. For all of those reasons, we need CMOs now more than ever.
CMOs and CEOs: A Meeting of the Minds During Uncertain Times
It’s important that the CEO and CMO are on the same page.
See why it’s important and how to maintain a relationship in this blog post.