CMO Huddles

3 Tips for Landing a Better CMO Role

May 29, 2024 3:50 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

“Don’t quit” I pleaded to a CMO at a billion-dollar B2B company. “It’s ugly out there,” I explained, “A year ago we had 30 members on the CMO Huddles Transition Team, now it’s 152 and many are struggling to find new roles.” There were several seconds of silence as this icy factoid sunk in.

That silence made me wonder if the B2B recession I hear about from other CMOs is universal or limited to certain industries.

I do know that you can link many CMOs desire to quit right now to this oft-repeated sequence of events:

  • Deals that should have closed are pushed back
  • Quarterly revenue targets aren’t met
  • Marketing budgets are cut
  • Pressure on CMOs to generate demand with less funding increases
  • CMO says, “I’m not a frickin magician” and updates their resume

There are a couple of problems with quitting right now. First, it will be that much harder to land your next opportunity. Having a job gives you leverage. Recruiters will want to recruit you. No job. No leverage. Second, there’s a good chance the former CMO left for the same reason you want to leave. Perhaps they too were asked to do way too much with way too little. “Magical thinking” seems to be the new epidemic, particularly at PE-backed companies.

However painful, my advice right now is to make the most of where you are [unless you have 12 months guaranteed severance or have enough funds saved for early retirement!]. And by making the most of it, I mean taking these specific actions to increase the odds you can land an even better CMO role soon:

  1. Enhance your story
  2. Grow your network
  3. Tell your story

1. Enhance Your Story

You’re a CMO. You’re a builder. You’re a leader. You’re a change agent. You’re a strategist. With a bit of self-reflection, now’s the time to tighten up your personal brand and take actions that reinforce it. If you’re a change agent, drive some more change at your current org. For example, some CMOs are taking the lead on Gen AI, not just to increase productivity but also to drive innovation across their orgs. If you call yourself a revenue driver, then initiate at least one program that bucks the overall recession-related pullback – maybe it’s an upsell/cross-sell program built on top of a community.

2. Grow Your Network

Just like finding a job is easier when you have one, so too is growing your network. You just have to make a bit of time for it (like an hour a week!) Start returning recruiters’ calls and help them source candidates for their searches. Join a community like CMO Huddles and get to know some of your peers. If they offer to set up 1:1s for you, have at least 1 per month. I can tell you that the second biggest regret among CMOs in transition is that they didn’t take the time to build a peer network.

3. Tell Your Story

The first biggest regret among CMOs in transition is that they neglected their personal brands. They were too busy, with noses to the proverbial grindstone to join a podcast, sit for an interview, speak at events, or write up their insights. Don’t be that guy. Even if you're introverted, you need to put yourself out there. It’s a skill you can master with just a little effort. And it's not purely self-serving, your company will benefit. Future employees, customers, and partners will see your content and become aware of you and your company.

Written by Drew Neisser

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

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