CMO Huddles

8 Tips to Land Your Next CMO Role

May 07, 2024 12:50 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

Many CMOs in transition are wondering what it takes to land another CMO role right now. To help develop an answer to this question, we’ve spoken with several CMOs who recently secured new posts.

Here’s what we learned with specific references from our March 2024 Transition Team Huddle conversation with a recent success story (anonymized as Happy Huddler/HH for maximum honesty!)

1. Mine Your Network

About 25% of CMO roles are found via recruiters. More than half are the result of a connection in your network. Happy Huddler, who secured a new role in January, noted their new position came through a business contact, not a recruiter. Others have reported that a former boss or a colleague provided the introductory connection.

2. Pursue Your 5x5 Matches

HH shared that his previous experiences perfectly aligned with his new opportunity. Not only had they worked in the same category, but also they had worked for companies in the same growth stage, with the same target and the same financial backing (in this case a PE firm). Because the company operated remotely, HH’s location in this case didn’t matter (other CMOs have noted they’ve lost to the local candidate). This 5x5 match was true for the other recently hired CMOs.

3. Look for Cultural Alignment

Throughout the interview process, HH asked questions to help them assess the culture to make sure it was a good fit. Once they understood the culture, they then leaned into it, demonstrating empathy and openness. For example, when asked, “What’s it like to work for you?” they responded with a list of former direct reports, saying, “Please speak with any of them and find out for yourself rather than take my word for it.”

4. Go All In When You See the Match

HH and others have shared the extra effort they’ve taken to secure recent roles. At every stage, they tried to anticipate questions and deliver more than expected. In HH’s final round presentation, they offered up “KPIs” even though they hadn’t asked for them. They also provided a SWOT analysis that essentially played back the various ideas shared by execs during the interview process.

5. Find the Critical Unresolved Challenge

During his interviews, HH discovered a challenge that several execs referenced but had different ideas on how to fix. During their final presentation, they acknowledged the challenge and provided a path to resolution. In this way, HH showed leadership chops and the potential to be the “Convener in Chief,” someone who can bring the executive team together, a value that goes well beyond marketing.

6. Speak the Language of Business Not Marketing

HH emphasized marketing’s ability to impact revenue and margins throughout the interview process. This was especially important when they were speaking with board members. By avoiding “marketing-ese” and referencing past experiences in growing revenue and improving margins, HH established their credibility as a business leader and set themselves apart from mere marketers.

7. Keep Everyone in the Loop

Writing thank you notes is expected. Circling back to execs with whom you spoke earlier in the process is unexpected. By keeping everyone in the loop during the 5-6 week interview process, HH reinforced their interest in the job, demonstrated their working style, and stayed top of mind with all the potential influencers and decision-makers.

8. Don’t Seem Desperate

Even though HH really wanted this opportunity knowing that it was a good match and that there weren’t any others like it out there right now, they were careful not to seem desperate. Having 3 fractional clients helped here. In addition to being able to speak about their work for these clients, it showed that their expertise was in demand.

Final Thought: There is a job out there for you. You just may need to do more than you ever expected to land it. We hope that you found this informative and inspiring.

Written by Drew Neisser

CMO HUDDLES® INSPIRING B2B GREATNESS 1397 2nd Ave #177, New York, NY 10021

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