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How to Get Through to CMOs

With the rise of marketing technology, more and more companies are looking to get into the head of a CMO. B2B marketers and salespeople alike are trying to understand what makes a product stand out, how CMOs evaluate new technologies, along with the top challenges CMOs face day in and day out.

Recently, we hosted a panel of expert marketers on the topic of getting through to the marketer. Our CMO Brian Kardon, led the discussion alongside Peter Isaacson of DemandBase, Kathleen Schaub of IDC and Jim Bell of Jaspersoft. There were so many insightful takeaways, insights and observations from the session. Here are a few of my favorite takeaways:

On Measuring Success

All of our panelists agreed to the importance of tracking marketing-contributed revenue as a means to measure the efficacy of a CMO, but it also makes sense for CMOs to focus on a one to two major initiatives to help convey what marketing does to the organization at large. Most commonly, this is either a rebranding initiative, sales enablement focus or a website redesign project. Pipeline and closed business matter, but softer metrics around lead generation can help gauge the success of progressive markets.

“How to measure success depends on the span of control of the marketer and what he or she is really driving towards. The stage of the company matters. More progressive companies will have lead goals. More mature companies will have goals around loyalty.” – Kathleen Schaub

“In today’s world, the ultimate success of the CMO is defined by the success of the sales team and the revenue number.” – Jim Bell

On Cold Calling and Responding to Sales

In this case, cold calling is really dead. Our CMOs agreed that they probably wouldn’t take a call without having a relationship or solid understanding of the tech offering first. Many mine their VC or investor connections to get ideas about new technologies and want to be involved in the education and evaluation phase. When it comes to an existing technology or offering, forget about the CMO.

“If the offering is just enhancing or replacing an existing tool or process, I’ll hand it off to another team member. If the offering is new or carries a hefty budget or impact, I want to be a part of the process.” – Kathleen Schaub

On Adding Value

CMOs are likely targets for a wide variety of technology offerings and the best way to cut through the clutter when reaching out to a CMO is simple. Add value throughout each touch point, even on discovery calls. On average, our CMOs noted that they only evaluate 5-10 vendors each year, so it is important to stand out.

“It helps when the sales rep understands my challenges, gives me new ideas, answers my questions and solves my problems, rather than just pitching product. I want to hear what other customers have done and how that company has helped them solve the challenges. We like hearing ‘I’ve talked to 12 CMOs who have the same challenge..’” – Peter Isaacson

“When there is so much information available online, make our phone call or face-to-face meeting worthwhile. Get out of your swim lane and be useful.” – Kathleen Schaub

“Be the resource who delivers value that I would pay for. Give me something pragmatic.” – Jim Bell

In today’s world, CMOs are responsible for positioning a company’s products amidst a changing marketplace full of new technologies, roles and skill sets. CMOs are juggling expectations while trying to absorb new technologies and maneuver organizational and political shifts. It’s important to keep these insights in mind when you are reaching out to or engaging any chief marketers.

   Image Credit(s):                GarryKnight0                    

Written by

Amanda Maksymiw
July 10, 2014

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