8 Reasons: Hiring a Marketing Consultant (before a CMO or CRO) in 2020
A 30 Minute read to explain the failure of B2B Marketing, hiring new staff and the role of consultants
In this article we break down what has been wrong historically with sales and marketing and offer a solution to potentially restructure your revenue generation strategy into the most successful, lean and profitable process your business has ever experienced.
B2B Marketing and Sales have functioned in the same way since the 1950s. Marketing creates content to achieve exposure. Sales make cold telephone calls and cold visits to obtain appointments with a decision maker.
With all the technology available to businesses today, this approach has never changed and never will because the educators and businesses all follow the same model.
Does your business needs to employ the short-term services of an entrepreneurial marketing consultant to comprehensively review and exploit 'digital marketing' before you hire any new senior marketing personnel like a Chief Marketing Officer who will simply execute your old instructions or repeat what they did in their last job.
If you want to understand the reasons why CMO's keep losing their jobs every 18 months, then keep reading, you'll be surprised...
(Click on a link below to jump to the title)
Why is there a disconnect with Sales & Marketing?
Before we get into deciding between Marketing Directors, Chief Marketing Officers, Chief Revenue Officers, Chief Growth Officers or a Marketing Consultant, we have to set the scene and understand why there has always been such a disconnect between sales and marketing, even to the point of Enterprise organisations removing senior marketing posts altogether.
As far as the "disconnect" is concerned, because that’s what everyone in sales and marketing keeps saying, but is it really true? To understand this anathema, you have to get some background on where the two departments evolved from and how you might be persuaded to take a certain path.
The MAD (Marketing, Advertising & Design) Men from the 1950s to the 1980s
From 1950s to the 1980s salespeople did an amazing job that warranted the glamorous lifestyle - from the nice expensive suits, expense account and company car to the basic salary, commission and override bonuses. But before we all decry the ‘jack-the-lads’ today, don’t forget, they fulfilled an essential, full-on function.
First, they had to do all their own telesales and prospecting. They had to sniff out the business opportunities, make the appointment, do the meeting, arrange the demonstration and finally go in for the close. From a company point-of-view a good salesman or woman was worth their weight in gold.
When it came to marketing, or really, I should say advertising, there were three media types available; the radio, the television and the newspapers.
We were all willing participants in watching the adverts on TV or listening to the radio. The programs were interrupted with adverts and we simply accepted it. Broadcast media delivered to us what they thought we wanted to watch or listen to, and the manufacturers produced adverts based upon their respective budgets.
Broadcasting was ‘done’ to millions. But that all changed in the 1990s with the emergence of the Internet. Now there was a personal screen, the computer, that enabled direct 1-2-1 marketing. But not so fast Tonto! First of all, the advertisers tried to apply ‘broadcast’ messaging in the same way they did with TV and radio, in the belief that the Internet was going to be the ‘golden goose’ and make everyone a fortune. “This time next year Rodney...” seemed to be quite apt…
However, the dot-com bubble burst and it failed spectacularly with thousands of businesses losing the fortunes they ploughed into e-commerce sites.
But, as the Internet players matured, so did the 1-2-1 messaging. By 2010 landing pages, persona analysis and marketing automation platforms became ubiquitous. E-commerce, coupled with analytics, identified the human interaction and behaviour attributes that supported developing strategies providing a better experience for the browser.
Damaging Accounting/Business Descriptions
We then have to look at what drives business and commerce, and that’s money. And who drives the money? That’ll be the bankers, accountants and investors. Right there, there's the fundamental problem - the 'money' people who maintain; that a set of accounts and more importantly, the P&L account, must have two specific ‘row’ descriptions, i.e. Sales and Marketing.
Because financial entities expect all businesses to have these descriptions on their accounts, the entrepreneurs immediately fall into the same way of thinking as everyone else, i.e. they have to set up a business that has 'selling people' and 'creative people' and never the twain shall meet!
In my opinion, so many failed businesses never had a chance and before you even start to think about the disconnect between sales and marketing, remember that business owners set up their businesses to accommodate the bankers and then spent the next (however many) decades trying to figure out why their businesses weren't working the way they had dreamed.
Cold-Calling is still a 100-1 (per day!) shot or worse!
Back in the day, it was ok to cold call, even if it was a 100-1 shot of finding someone interested. It was ok to do mailshots and get a 2% or less response rate and it was ok to send out unsolicited emails and get a 0.5% response. Why? Because everyone was getting to grips with the new technologies.
Now it's not ok. You only have to consider that 60-70% of the exploration is conducted by your prospects before you even start talking to them, which makes for a strong argument to create as much content as possible to engage with prospects before you start speaking to them. So how do you get in on the silent conversation?
Get a website they said. So, every business traded in their company brochures and built a website with the words of Kevin Costner ringing in their ears, “build it and they will come”. It didn't happen! The only way a website could deliver what ‘they’ promised, was for browsers to actually look at the website! Strange as it seems, having your mother tell you it was a lovely site or pouring over the clicks from China and the Middle East, did not make your business a success.
The Confusion between B2B, B2C and B2 both…
- B2B = A product, system or service intended to help a business make money
- B2C = manufactured items sold to consumers
- B2Both = Products sold to both B2B & B2C Customers
I need to make the point of how I’m classifying different organisations:
- B2B as and that’s office hardware, software, furniture, professional services and factory ‘plant’, in other words any product, system or service intended to help a business make money.
- B2C are items that have been manufactured and are sold to consumers, from food to clothes to technology.
- B2both are businesses like Apple, Google, Amazon, HP, Samsung and so on who sell to both the consumer market and business market and are in their own category.
The reason I’m making this point is that B2C and B2Both are marketed differently than B2B. But of course, we've all accepted digital companies like Amazon, Google, Apple and so on make some serious profit, as you can see here…
T/O Staff Per Person Per Annum (2018/2019)
Apple $265 billion 123,000 $2m
Google $160 billion 140,000 $1.1m
Amazon $232 billion 798,000 $290,000
Peak Design $37 million 26 !!! $1.426
I’ve illustrated Peak Designs who make camera bags and equipment who were running at £1.426m. This is to show that some businesses who get it right can make serious money, if digital is exploited well – I didn’t say ‘properly…
By way of contrast, as you can see on this graph, in the UK, the average income per person per annum is between £80k and £160k. The number of employed people within these companies ranges from 8 to 250 employees, you can see there is a massive disparity compared to the like of Apple, Google and Amazon…
One of the misnomers for B2B marketing is that much of the marketing noise is made by companies attempting to connect with B2C or B2both markets. So, on the one hand it looks buoyant and on the other, for B2B its actually pretty flat. And to prove it, I’ve got some pretty sad statistics coming up a bit later…
In my opinion, about 20 years ago, we should have structured our businesses like Google and the rest of them and focused on building our digital presence instead of continuing to employ loads of sales staff.
Instead we’ve got an imbalance that will only get worse for those who don't build up their digital libraries.
There is still light at the end of the tunnel though, just because businesses didn’t go fully digital then doesn’t mean they can’t start it now. It all starts with the first step and it’s never too late…
That said, we’ve got to look at the problems this has caused and how it’s affecting everyone.
Black Hat SEO – Yes, really, Black Hat is a thing!
Trying to drive browsers to a website seemed like a black art. Then they coined the phrase ‘black-hat SEO’, meaning that certain unscrupulous web people would mask the wording on a website, ‘keyword stuffing’, in order to mislead the search engines. Of course, the likes of Google et-al cottoned on to this and started to penalise those responsible.
You might be interested in this one too…
We have an article on SEO which explains how you need to address article marketing and to view these articles as bait that continuously attract browsers and connect them via embedded internal links to your product pages. Click here to take a look - The Essential B2B SEO Guide for CEOs for 2020
At the time, many people got caught up with this type of SEO and lost thousands by also incorrectly using pay-per-click. They also ended up being 'stitched' by their competition clicking on their adverts and forcing them to pay stupid amounts of money to Google. I guess when you’re bidding £25 per click or more, someone is always going to play ‘silly-beggers’.
So, with the various routes to our websites being thwarted by our competition or excessive costs, it was still impossible to know how prospects wanted or liked to consume information.
When these practices are combined with the massive push for every business to invest in a website, business owners quite rightly got annoyed they had spent so much on developing a website believing what they were told i.e. "build-it-and-they-will-come". So, because the content was not driving attraction, the SEO mob came out and stated fleecing businesses and at the same time adopting the black-hat false SEO practices that ended up getting the businesses penalised by Google.
Stretch this out over a decade or so and many businesses think that having a website is a waste of time and that no one in marketing has got a clue what they're talking about.
Whoever thought of the word SPAM
And then there’s spam! There are two forms of spam, written and verbal. When a company obtains someone’s email address, they will keep emailing until they get upset them and ultimately get blocked. The other type is verbal. Once a marketing department or BDR has got someone’s telephone number they’ll call and call until they get told point-blank “get lost, I’m not interested”. So, it’s a lose-lose scenario.
The bizarre thing is, we, as recipients of cold calls, hate it. We’ve always hated it. But for some reason, Sales Directors seem to think it’s still relevant. Even Apple have now got a mode on iPhone that sends ‘Unknown’ callers straight to voicemail. No amount of turning up the activity will move the needle!
How attractive do you think you really are?
The only real way to find out how attractive you are is to put yourself, i.e. your business, on a dating website and wait and see…
But seriously, if you were to write a description about your business, add a photograph and explain your interests and how you’ve helped people, I guess with a few acronyms like GSOH and so on, only then could you start to see yourself as others see you.
This type of exercise is all about attraction. How attractive do you think your business is? Only the response from others will be the deciding factor, but how often does a business actually obtain feedback of other people?
Here’s another way of looking at this dilemma; do you think that forcing someone to look at a profile on a dating app by misleading them is going to work? No, of course not. Therefore, if forcing people to look at your business doesn’t work then a softer approach is needed. That requires transparency and a genuine desire to help, which can only be demonstrated by making valuable content freely available.
What type of content should be on offer?
These days, everyone has a Smartphone. No one can second guess what type of information someone likes to 'consume' and how they will consume it. The three choices are to read, watch or listen. We all do all three when it suits us and so do our customers, therefore we don't have a choice about the type of content we have to create to get on their radar.
If you only have a blog, then by definition you are ignoring 66% of your potential market who like to consume information by video and podcasts (which are now reaching staggering proportions).
As business owners, we now have to provide an inordinate amount of content to satisfy the demand of our potential customers. This content is expected to be a blog/articles, a video and/or a podcast, i.e. so that they can read, watch and listen when it suits them. And no amount of cajoling or persuasion can make a prospect consume the information any quicker or be forced to engage by our selected media method. They are in control.
In spite of the developing online technologies, many business owners still maintain their expectation of salespeople to keep cold calling and making their own appointments. Or if the salesperson is lucky, they’ll have BDR's (Business Development Representative) to do the ‘donkey work’.
In addition, the salesperson or the BDR's still continue to scour LinkedIn for possible targets using Sales Navigator or wait like hawks for someone to download a document and then immediately strike! Not only does this annoy the person who downloaded the document, it also makes them feel like they are being stalked and their privacy invaded. All they wanted was a document.
All this happens, even though your prospects are attempting to read, watch and listen, thereby researching it for themselves.
Taking on board the comment that SEO damaged the credibility of marketers, especially as many of them could never be bothered to read a book! You've then got the issue that you’re paying a salary and commission to a sales team and funding a marketing department, and it's for these reasons nothing will change.
The fundamental problem is when a business uses a commission based renumeration structure. When the salesperson does the cold-calling, appointment, proposal, presentation/demonstration and gets the order paperwork signed, then pay that person well because they’re a star! But this is the 1950s model.
If you have a 1990s marketing model that is funded expressly to provide leads to the sales team, then this also causes a problem. How many Marketing, Pre-Sales, Support and Customer Service Representatives do you currently have? And how do they contribute to the overall revenue generation process?
Identify who is being paid for what?
If in the 1950s the salesman did all the work. So, what’s happening today? If the MAD men were broadcasting on TV and radio, how are the marketing people succeeding in today’s environment?
One thing to point out. If your salespeople are being paid a basic, company car, commission and bonuses then you have to question what work they’re actually doing? And indeed, how successful would they really be if they did not have a marketing department to deliver up new leads on a platter?
On the other hand, if you have a marketing department, what are they doing if you have a commission-based sales team? Can you see the dilemma? If you challenge the success of your sales team and they blame the quality of the marketing leads, then you have a problem.
If your marketing team determine what a Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL) is before its converted to a Sales Qualified Lead (SQL) and handed to sales, then it becomes clear that you’re creating a ‘rod-for-your-own-back’ and damaging your P&L by paying out twice for the same result.
Convergence: Repairing the sales & marketing disconnect
The common disconnect between sales and marketing serves to ‘suit’ both sides as they can, at present, both blame each other for poor performance. And, because no one has come up with a satisfactory solution, the decision is invariably made to sack the poorest performers.
“Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is, I don't know which half.”
- John Wanamaker c.1920
It makes no difference if the marketing team or budget is cut. Even without them the sales teams will continue to function; they will go back to working like it’s the 1950s again, finding and making their own appointments and so the downward spiral continues.
We’ve all heard about the convergence of voice, data & VoIP. We’ve all seen how multiple marketing software solutions can integrate with one another natively or by using middleware products like Zapier. And we keep seeing one business buy another. But we’ve never seen ‘marketing and sales’ merge together!
I believe, for true convergence to happen in sales and marketing, and customer support for that matter, there needs to be a change in department titles/descriptions and, more importantly, in the structure of the revenue generation and customer retention departments.
Businesses buy like normal people do!
Marketing Departments seem to forget how people buy as individuals. They seem to have no idea about empathy, emotion, drive or desire (sounds all a bit ‘lovey-dovey’ but I’m just getting started!) or how people act and react, especially in the B2B arena. Businesses do not apply the same rules to their own purchasing decisions as marketing departments think they do when they’re promoting or selling and for a good reason – access to technology!
If you’re like me, first I have an inkling I’d like or need something. If my pain or desire is sufficient, I’ll do a search. I know the remarketing pixels for Facebook or Google will pick up that I’ve been looking, and I’ll end up getting multiple adverts on the different sites I go to for the next few weeks.
Eventually, once I’ve been looking around at different sites, getting downloads, checking out YouTube and then deciding on a product, I’ll then start looking at the best price on Amazon or any of the other sites I’ve visited previously. If I’m happy, I’ll buy. If I’ve got a question and I can’t find the answer, then I’ll call someone, i.e. one of the business I looked at earlier.
Depending on the complexity of the product, I will evaluate the companies based upon the availability and accessibility of obtaining information. I will attempt to do everything myself, i.e. learning and on-line training.
If it was an item that needed direct support, I’d need to be confident the supplier could offer what I needed; that the manufacturer had enough information online so that I wouldn’t be left ‘high and dry’. If there was a problem, I would want to be able to find out answers for myself or, as a last resort, I could go on their site and start using chat or Messenger before phoning them.
Don’t call me I’ll call you…
So far, in the above example, I haven’t wanted or needed to contact anyone. And, as a CEO or MD, you too would expect your staff to be able to carry out all the necessary research before they expected you to fund any new purchase.
Using the above example, and then looking at your business, where is the salesperson, where is the marketing effort and where is the customer support team? And importantly, how is anyone able to choose one single medium over another, e.g. articles from Google search, podcasts or video. By which form of media would you assume your prospects will reach you?
A while ago I spent over £40k on video equipment. I never left my office once. Everything was done online.
60-70% of the sale is done without you knowing!
Every piece of information you can imagine is available online. As I mentioned earlier, 60-70% of the buying process is carried out before someone will call or contact you. And according to Business2Community 68% of customers will also leave you if you don’t show them you care.
Coming back to the buying cycle we’re both used to, how does that compare to the way your business is set up now? How do you present yourself and who in your sales and marketing teams are being paid to do what?
If you’re now wondering whether you should hire a Marketing Director, CMO, CRO or CGO, you have to look at the logical approach to this question. By replacing one with another, you are probably going to be jumping out of the ‘frying-pan-into-the-fire’ as they will still be left to their own devices and will be expected to tell the Board of Directors what they intend to do.
If you do hire one, the Board will probably let them do as they please (depending on the new hire's ability to present, and their apparent confidence) as the Board are not marketing experts.
If the Board don’t know 'marketing' or they allow this person to attempt to ‘up-the-ante’ to get more leads, it will end in tears because of a lack of structure. By the way, upping the 'ante' means having a plan to increase your turnover per person per annum! If not, it will be another case of attempting to digitize the equivalent of ‘dialling for dollars’ i.e. cold-calling and it will fail as a means of obtaining email leads to support achieving the ever-elusive KPI.
There has to be a senior level agreement as to the expectation of this individual and for the direction of marketing. There also has to be agreement that you have done everything you can to exploit the abilities of existing human resources before entering in to a costly agreement for a new C-Suite player who will be expecting a sizeable six-figure salary and bonus, even if they don’t hit YOUR targets.
Stage 1: Hire a Marketing Consultant first to prepare the way
My recommendation is to hire an entrepreneurial Marketing Consultant (you have to decide what constitutes as ‘entrepreneurial') to work with the incumbent marketing leader and ensure everything that can be done is done before any major human resources or internal structures are changed.
You might be interested in looking at our sX Consulting Services page. You might be thinking, well, he would say that. My response is that I have invested my 10,000 hours reviewing and researching this failing approach to generating new business, I've also sold millions of pounds of technology in a direct sales capacity and attracted millions online for other businesses through digital marketing, so I am absolutely clear what you need to do and why.
Click on the video below where I explain the 'why'.
Top Ten B2B Marketing Consultant Activities
Appointing a consultant should not be a problematic experience. There are some basic approaches they will adopt such as defining short, medium and long-term goals. Don’t expect them to wave their magic wand and for you to get instant results the following week. It won’t happen.
Reading the content on our website will give you enough of an insight to B2B Marketing that any plan presented to you by a consultant can be cross referenced, enabling you to see and separate the wheat-from-the-chaff.
What you should expect from engaging a B2B Marketing Consultant: -
- Review how your products are described to meet ‘the’ need of customers and if your existing marketing messages are consistent
- Review your website and its technical infrastructure, navigation & speed
- Review the Product Pages; page format, titles, content, internal and external links
- Review the Blog/Article Pages; page format, links, images, videos etc.
- Review your business from a User (UX) and Customer Experience perspective (CX)
- Review your current exposure avenues, i.e. social media and available platforms
- Review existing Google Analytics and Tag Manager configuration and reporting
- Review the content strategy; articles, downloads, video and podcasts, memes, adverts, sharing and mini sites (if applicable)
- Review the strategies that address persona-segmented vertical markets
- Review the ease of doing business with your organisation, on and offline
The above should be carried out in parallel with your existing operations as it would be foolish to stop what you’re doing, unless it really is not working. In that case, enlist the help of anyone capable of supporting the new initiative to get any amendments completed as soon as possible.
As an aside, if any marketing person tries to tell you they’ll make a concerted effort regarding telesales – kick them out and fast!!!
If I had my way, I wouldn’t allow any business to rely on telesales (and, believe me, I’ve made thousands of telesales calls!) or for that matter, even start a business with that mindset. These days an investor would never throw money at a telesales orientated operation. A banker may do if you’re prepared to put your home up as security, as a bank manger may neither know nor care how you intend to make your business work.
Stage 2: Rename IT, Sales, Marketing & Customer Services
Once the consultancy stage has been given time to work, and by that I mean you have redressed the balance with your sales and marketing teams and have reviewed and relaunched a new marketing directive with the existing personnel (take a look at sX Social 334 after you've read this article).
By now you are reaching your intended market and you are collating sufficient analytics to enable your team to decide on the next stage, which is to start reorganising your infrastructure in preparation to succeed like never before.
This is the digital transformation that will redefine your business and its ability to attract new business for the long term and significantly change your cost model and boost your bottom line profitability on your P&L.
Below is an illustration of our recommended restructured organisation chart and strategy that can be implemented in parallel to your existing business plan enabling you to phase out the old and introduce the new.
The new business names are as follows: -
You will see from the above diagram that there is not a massive change, as the section ‘Head’ titles are still the same, however, the demarcation points are clear: -
- Technology is the engine that drives the business
- Content attracts and maintains contact to interested parties
- Revenue closes the business and keeps the customer ‘sweet’
Download the excel spreadsheet (The New Revenue Org Chart - available here) as it includes a variety of descriptions and explanations to help you visualise this approach.
The Technology Team
The Technology Team are responsible for the management and implementation of ALL hardware and software. I know there are marketing platforms that say “use our kit without disturbing the IT department” but that does not work as there are not sufficient demarcation points. That said, I also believe that all web development, CMS, ecommerce and marketing automation should also reside there as well as User and Customer Experience teams.
It is so important that there is continuity in technical support for the wide variety of software needed these days. When creative people are expected to fully understand how the software works and are able to devise marketing strategies, including the copywriting and so on, if that person leaves the company, more expertise is lost than simply the marketing ability to write copy.
Keeping the technical aspect within the Technology department means there is a constant resource available with ‘crossover’ training available if necessary. This ensures that Technology is the engine for the business.
But before some bright spark in the IT department thinks he or she is going to be controlling the business, think again. The technology department can now be seen as a cost centre as all the rest. If anyone starts getting all high and mighty the CGO will have the autonomy to fire them!
The Business Technology & Marketing Handbook
We published a ‘Dummies’ type book that suggests a structured ‘methodology’ to ensure your business exploits the technology you already have and offers a workable structure for your staff to use when buying new kit, to make sure you actually achieve an return on investment from the new purchase, starting with your staff putting the supplying company through it's paces and making sure they all trained properly and you don’t end up wasting time with a nice-to-have item!
Click on the image below, it will bring up a new window, so you don’t lose your place in this article.
The Content Team
Our suggestion is to rename ‘Marketing’ to ‘Content’ and drive this element of your business as if you were a publishing house. Work along the lines of having reporters, researchers and presenters, enabling your business to fully embrace written content, i.e. articles, videos and podcasts.
The objective is to start creating an interconnected framework of information, blogs, guides, links to supporting content, and exposure - written, audible and visual; content that accurately positions you and your business where your prospects are actually looking, marrying up with ‘search intent’. You must be viewed as an authority in your space by creating detailed and explanatory content that helps people understand your products and how to use them. This will elevate you above your competition who are still dialling for dollars or phoning for pennies!
The Content Team shall seek and find new business. They will create content that communicates to your desired vertical market(s) and persona(s).
They will create a process that elevates the company, makes it visible in its desired geographic area and they will draw in and attract new business into the ‘funnel’ via a combination of activities with the combined support with the Field Insight Team.
Our content distribution program sX Social 334 establishes your consistent marketing message in your desired vertical markets. It gives a definitive start and finish to a marketing strategy designed to help you own your place on social media or wherever your prospects are ‘hanging out’. You might be interested in taking a look at our sX Social 334 Framework/Guide.
The Revenue Team
Transition is a breeze – rename the existing sales team the “A Team” and create another called the “New Team”. The A Team shall seek and find new business; do all the work necessary to close sales and be paid accordingly, as they are not going to be a drain on the marketing budget or mechanism.
- A Team – Commission Based Targeted Salespeople
- New Team - Revenue Directors - Group Based Bonuses
The Field Insights Management team will help drive new enquiries to the New Revenue Channels’ Pre-engagement representatives. Once the pre-engagement representative has completed the ‘data-fill’ the Field Insights Team, together with the various support teams, will accompany the prospect on their journey through the company process until the prospect is ready to buy.
When the prospect is ready to buy, The New Team A.k.a. New Revenue Director arranges the necessary demonstrations, proposals, analysis and data fill and asks for the order.
Once complete/signed up, the sale is handed over and managed by Installation/Training or whatever implementation process you have, and in turn, handed over to Customer Success.
Having implemented the above, it places you in a much stronger position to decide who to hire and why. The new information you have to hand will be as follows:
- You will have carried out your own comparison between your old way of marketing and your new content focussed strategy
- You will have seen how your staff have reacted to readdressing the commission-based approach and intense KPIs and a reduction in excuses why they didn’t achieve them
- You will have recalculated your P&L for the next twelve months and realised the upturn in profitability, not simply because of reduced costs, but increased sales too
- By adopting the customer centric approach and instructing your staff to deliver the most complete solution to customers, be it in writing, video, podcast or service, your retention rate will have also increased
Your new marketing hire, if talent acquisition is still necessary, will be expected to improve on an already successful formula and a structure you and the board will have knowledgeably and informatively implemented - but there are some serious words of caution as you read the next section.
True Leadership is Required
We’ve all heard of Chief Revenue Officers (CRO) and the crucial element of any successful CRO is that they must be 100% proficient in sales, marketing and customer service. They must also have the ability to visualise the revenue-generating and Lifetime Value (LTV) aspect of a business with such clarity, as to be able to deconstruct all three disciplines and put them back together again (blind-folded and with their hands tied behind their backs!)
Sadly, this rarely happens. Very few CROs have ever run a business themselves and therefore have never acquired the ‘T-shirts’ and experience needed to have such a complete grasp on running a business. In most cases the CRO can only act like a sticking plaster on a broken leg!
There is also a Chief Growth Officer (CGO), another acronym for someone who is expected to know how all this digital, new-business-generation stuff hangs together. But the one thing missing from the various job descriptions is the ability to drive the technology needed for all this activity. If the CRO or CGO is not able to have the Technology or IT Department report to them too, then other forces can scupper the chances of a successful intermediary that is responsible for income.
There are people out there who can genuinely help businesses achieve the success they want, but the caveat is that the new hire(s) must fully understand the new rules of business operations, attraction and retention.
The Job Descriptions
Just to be clear and make sure we’re on the same page, below are the descriptions relating to marketing leaders:
- Marketing Director oversees marketing campaigns and branding techniques for a company or organization, from brainstorming ideas to implementing large-scale plans. They conduct research and analyse trends in the product or service offered by the company to develop marketing...
- CMO responsible for activities in an organisation that have to do with creating, communicating and delivering offerings that have value for customers, clients or business partners.
- CRO is responsible for all revenue generation processes in an organisation
- CGO works across the key activity areas that drive growth
Chief Marketing Officer (CMO)
There are various options depending on where you are in your marketing journey. Whether you start out by hiring a hungry Marketing Director or hiring a CMO, the trouble is, they’re both going to be doing what they did in the past and will no doubt ‘sell’ you on their previous success and return on marketing investment (ROMI).
In my opinion, so what? All they are doing is marketing for the email addresses, i.e. Lead Generation to give to sales and their jobs are done, so nothing changes. Bear in mind here, I’m talking about B2B products and services and not B2C ecommerce.
You only have to do a quick search to see that the average tenure of a Chief Marketing Officer in the UK is hovering around 18 months or so: -
- 2016 Marketing Week - https://www.marketingweek.com/why-cmo-tenure-is-falling/
- 2017 Mediatel - https://mediatel.co.uk/newsline/2017/03/27/taking-the-short-term-view-has-consequences/
- 2018 Adage - https://adage.com/article/cmo-strategy/cmo-tenures-grow-longer-study/315994
- 2019 Campaign Live https://www.campaignlive.co.uk/article/future-cmo-certain-death-rebirth/1582585 )
Therefore, in light of the above, it is clear that, in the UK at least, the CMO is failing at his/her position and no one seems to be making a correlation between the psychology of the buyer and the conduct or strategies of the CMO's.
Losing their jobs every eighteen months seems to me to be a case of a CMO being employed, given six months to get their feet under the desk and then they try and 'do what they've always done' having told the board how great they were in their previous role, then within a year or so, the board decides to fire them for poor performance and the company needs to hire again.
The other scenario is that the board keep changing the goal posts because of poor performance and the dutiful CMO does as they're told and get fired anyway because they didn't speak up, simply because they're not going to tell their paymasters they're wrong or they don't know any better and just did as they were told.
All in all it's a pretty poor state of affairs. So be careful how you move forward.
Chief Revenue Office (CRO)
If you already have a CMO and want to inject some intense sales effort you might be tempted to hire a rebranded CMO who now calls themselves a CRO. This could also lead to disaster, especially as it seems, that businesses attempting to do this are actually trying to understand why sales and marketing are still failing.
I read one website that the ‘Chief Storyteller’ believed CMOs were to be consummate salespeople. Nonsense! It is rare that anyone in marketing has ever seen the ‘whites’ of a prospect's eyes and closed the prospect to get the sale.
Whilst many companies still advertise for sales and marketing directors, this simple description illustrates that the hiring companies don't understand the current state-of-play in the revenue industry and they're still directing their businesses as if it we're the 1980's or 90's. A sales professional rarely, if ever, left college, went to university and obtained a degree in marketing, started as an intern and worked their way up and then switched to sales and injected their significant marketing intelligence into a sales director role.
Sales directors achieve their stripes by consistently making sales and working their way up from salesman, to sales manager, to sales director. And all because of being a great closer. Over time, some of them become great leaders, but not many. Then the Board decide to put the 'closer' in charge of marketing!
Companies that do not have a sales and marketing director are now employing a CRO who is expected to understand all the income activities . and how they correlate with marketing and vice versa. Whilst there is a position for CRO's, the existence of this title means that an awareness of convergence is required, but again, if the directive is to generate leads from gated content, you're not going to move your business forward.
Don't get me wrong, someone has to be responsible for revenue generation, but they have to have a current understanding how to generate new business in the first place. And if you were doing that already, you wouldn't be seeking a CRO.
If this was simply all about my opinion, then you could dismiss and dismantle this article. However, when some of the largest enterprise organisations on the face of the Earth are replacing their models as mentioned above, then perhaps it’s time to sit up and start questioning the status quo.
The rise of the Chief Growth Officer (CGO)
It is accepted that there has been a rise in the new role of Chief Growth Officer, but I believe it is because there is such a disconnect within most businesses simply because senior management don't understand 'digital' for the reasons I mentioned earlier. Perhaps they have already tried taking on a CRO and it failed. Now they want a CGO to see if they will do a better job.
Marketing Week's article asked the question– Will rebranding CMO to CGO damage the company? Yes, if the CGO can’t sell or can’t do marketing!!!
It’s almost as if marketers are admitting defeat and confirming the suspicions of shareholders, analysts, and even their colleagues in finance and other departments, that marketing doesn’t have any real impact on business performance.
- Marketing Week
Well, the trouble is, I actually agree with this quote as marketing departments have consistently underperformed, especially in the B2B space. And whilst they keep blaming each other, no one has come up with a solution.
- The CMO of Johnson & Johnson stepped down today after six years. J&J stated that the role of the CMO was being eliminated!!! - https://www.thedrum.com/news/2019/06/20/johnson-johnson-scraps-global-cmo-role-part-streamlined-business-model
- Forbes – Should a Start-up have a CMO - https://www.forbes.com/sites/quora/2018/07/05/should-a-startup-have-a-cmo/#34624e057457
- Adweek – The Rise of the Chief Growth Office- https://www.adweek.com/brand-marketing/the-rise-of-the-chief-growth-officer/
- Marketing Week – Chief Growth Officer at Coca Cola https://www.marketingweek.com/chief-growth-officer-coca-cola/
- Forbes Magazine – The Chief Growth Officer, Proxy or Profit? https://www.forbes.com/sites/forrester/2019/06/18/the-chief-growth-officer-proxy-or-prophet/#5c5b60d5a3eb
- Vision Critical – From CMO to CGO, How the C Suite is shifting Focus https://www.visioncritical.com/blog/from-cmo-to-cgo-how-the-c-suite-is-shifting-focus
It is essential that business owners, stakeholders and board members understand the dynamics they are trying to fuse together, and what they are ultimately trying to achieve, before they hire someone to be their next marketing leader.
How to view the future?
- Existing Approach = I know you exist and I will try and force my way into a meeting and and sell you my product, whether you need it or not...
- New Approach = I want to let you know I exist and have everything you need to help you make a decision to buy from me when you're ready...
The existing approach can only be achieved by a one-to-one sales approach using cold-calling, lead generation and a typical funnel strategy. When you try to reach out to more people, it fails becuase it is percieved as spam.
The new approach allows to you reach out/share/connect with infinitely more people as you're simply informing them your business exists and content is available and are inviting them to look at you when they're ready or have a requirement.
It's a no-brainer.
Who to employ?
In terms of who to employ, well, you may well need them all. The key is to be confident that your business is functioning properly in terms of attracting new business. To genuinely exploit digital, you have to replace your existing methods of exposure to an audience, connecting with prospects and allowing them to self-serve their inquisitiveness about you and your products.
If you have implemented the new organisational chart/structure, then the CMO's title may change to VP of Content or Editor-in-Chief.
Rather than call someone a Sales Director or VP of Sales, they would become VP of Revenue and responsible for new business and long-term income from customers which include add-ons, maintenance and support.
And finally, if you decide you want to have someone in charge of development and growth, then this superstar will of course be your CGO and the VP's of Technology , Content and Revenue will all report to him/her.
How to manage the business
Once you have decided on your long-term plan, you can begin reducing the numbers of people used to close deals; and increase the numbers of people creating the mechanism to attract new business.
It is impossible to change everything within your business overnight, however, you can continue doing what you're doing at present but have the new plan developing in parallel without damaging or affecting existing operations.
New sales approach
As the new approach gathers momentum, the old way of working can naturally decrease, the end result being increased profitability, collaborative working and a new environment for revenue generation without having to rely on cold-calling or highly paid salespeople. The team are all part of a new breed of revenue generation personnel.
Having a lean New Revenue department may look like a dream scenario, but there’s no point having loads of salespeople if they’re sitting around twiddling their thumbs and looking busy when you turn up at the office all too eager to blame marketing.
I’d rather have one or two well paid salespeople on my books. Heck, I’d even fly them by helicopter to appointments and keep them closing all day long than know I’m paying for my whole team to sit around 50% of the time or more. Because we both know, they are absolutely not busy all day, every day!
A dear friend told me once that he employed ten staff yet only ever got work out of nine of them and that was in retail. Direct sales are even worse. Next time you’re in the office, calculate how much ‘face-time’ each of your salespeople had with new prospects last month.
Conversion Rate Optimisation
Now you can start looking at Conversion Rate Optimisation, before you begin to think about generating/paying for more traffic to be sent to your website via Google Pay Per Click.
Convert the browsers first. Know your infrastructure is working and then turn up the exposure when you’re ready and don’t get bamboozled into agreeing to do pay-per-click by anyone. There's plenty of time for that later if you really need it.
Change your content, get it right and let the content do the sales work for you, 24/7, 365 days a year, without commission, holiday, back-chat or complaint.
Treat your content as you would a salesperson; is it getting exposure, how often is it read/seen by browsers, is it converting and sending browsers to your desired web pages? Identify your best performing articles, podcasts or videos. Promote them, advertise them, do everything you can to encourage browsers or prospects to read them. Don't allow your content to sit around and do nothing, expecting browsers to comer to 'it', make browsers and businesses aware that your great content exists. And if it is failing, edit it, enhance it or delete it.
And every second of every day, week, month and year will be measurable, allowing a handful of salespeople swan around the country closing deals. Happy days!
The ball is in your court…
- Have you had enough of re-hashed attempts by new marketing personnel trying to impress you with out-of-date strategies?
- Are you really going to be swayed by a new 'hire's' boasting of their intense work rate?
- Do you need new marketing personnel or does your business simply need a new B2B Marketing Strategy that meets the needs of your digital-savvy prospects?
- Do you need to hard sell any of your products, or can you replace the tyre-kickers with video explainers and podcasts?
- What’s on the horizon for your company's future?
Call to Action
salesXchange offers a clear path to help you review and restructure your B2B Marketing: -
- A ‘Fast-Track’ option to review and analyse your business B2B Marketing Consultancy – sX Consulting
- Workshops to help your staff get to grips with new digital content creation technology, i.e. video and podcasts. Find out more information about sX Workshops
- Agency style service to implement a new Content Marketing and Social Media Distribution strategy by implementing sX Social 334©
- Event Management to launch your business to a new audience via sX Launch
- Matchmaking you with four compatible businesses that can work together and sell to each other’s customers, whilst reducing all round costs, via sX Syndicates
As you will see from our downloads and resources, everything is accessible without demanding you provide an email address. We know there are businesses and individuals who will be early adopters and want to do the work themselves. Others will make a decision that they want an expert to jump in and make it happen quickly – because what’s the point in hanging around and waiting for someone to learn the ropes?
Let us know your thoughts about the above in the Comments below or if you prefer, call us for a chat on 0800 970 9751 to get your business leaner and more profitable for 2020.
About the Author
Nigel is the Founder & Managing Director of salesXchange and has been helping SMEs for over 25 years to develop their marketing, technologies and infrastructure to generate more profits, more efficiently. His recent book "Integrate! The Essential Business Technology & Marketing Handbook" can be downloaded from Amazon.