Investor Mindset for Hiring CMOs

Had a wonderful conversation on the CRM Playaz with Brend Leary and Paul Greenberg inspired by a post (see below) on some findings on evaluating and selecting CMOs.

I was recently brought in by various investment firms to evaluate marketing and growth leaders. Posted some interesting thoughts on Linkedin. Three (3) parts stood out (original post):

1) Internal candidates seem to be often overlooked or underappreciated.

a. As an internal candidate – Demonstrate that you have taken an alternative approach to your predecessor and can still navigate existing relationships. The reason is that most CEOs and boards who want a new CMO are seeking one that can think differently and execute.

b. As a company – Unless the overall GTM strategy has undergone significant changes, focus on internal candidates. If none, then look in the mirror at your retention and talent management strategy moving forward.

2) CMOs keep themselves siloed.

a. As a CMO it’s imperative that you understand how other C-suite folks make decisions and navigate challenges.

b. As a CEO and/or Board, it’s not your job to hold the CMOs hand. However, if they demonstrate insightfulness, initiative, and business empathy, it is critical to open doors and smooth out reactions to their plans.

3) CMO evangelists make poor candidates.

a. Fan of evangelists, but CMOs whose primary accolades are showing up on events, panels, podcasts, and interviews make for poor operators and often poor leaders. Too much self-focus leaves little spotlight and attention for others.

b. Besides listening for ‘we’ in interviews, we found candidates who demonstrated culture building that encouraged ownership, experimentation, skill/experience building, and collaboration for top candidates.

Just a short list, but the differentiation between good and great candidates revolved around these.