CMO Huddles

CMO Job Search Success Stories

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  • October 15, 2024 7:35 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Featured Huddler

    • Was the CMO elsewhere, left the company in October after managing a 6-month transition period
    • Knew was leaving old company in May so began the search process then (and updated LinkedIn profile)
    Job Finding Process
    • A recruiter reached out in September based on CMO's unique background having marketed both hardware and software 
    • Found on LinkedIn
    • They had a total of 8 interviews in 4 weeks including a lunch with the CEO
    Key Interview Question 
    • They wanted to make sure the company was a good fit, could articulate its challenges, and had reasonable expectations for marketing
    • Most revealing question to CEO: “What keeps you up at night when you think about go-to-market?”
    • The answer, "having a predictable, repeatable sales model” enabled them to drive the conversation and offer a roadmap
    • Also allowed them to showcase what she already knew about the company’s challenges, industry and path to success
    Preparation 
    • They did hours of research on the company, its competitors and the portfolio companies of the lead VC
    • They were able to develop hypotheses on both their challenges and opportunities
    • They also had questions ready to fill in information gaps and to test for fit
    • By reviewing the portfolio companies of the lead VC, they tried to identify the role marketing played in the growth of the most successful companies (this was particularly helpful when speaking with the investor)
    • They also created visual aids to help explain their marketing approach to the CEO
    What’s Your Plus? CMO+ Concept
    • Their predecessor was head of marketing and customer success
    • Since they had managed CS in a previous role, it made sense to assume this role at the new company
    • Being able to wear both hats helped close the deal since it meant one less hire for Sensera
    • Dare: Identify your potential CMO+ areas based on your career experience (your ability to wear 2 hats should increase the odds of getting an offer).  
    Networking
    • During the search process, they reached out to a wide range of former associates and friends
    • Most responded immediately and welcomed the chance to help
    • Those who were local (Denver area) agreed to get together for a breakfast or lunch
    • Some offered industry knowledge that proved helpful in the interviewing process, others offered more contacts she could talk to
    • Dare: Dedicate at least a couple of hours a week to reengaging with former associates in your network
    Round Peg, Round Hole x 5
    • It’s a buyer’s market so recruiters are looking for perfect matches
    • Product type: They had experience with both hardware and software products
    • Growth phase: They had experience growing a start-up
    • Investor type: They had worked with VC-funded companies
    • Location: They were based in Denver and the company HQ is in Boulder
    • Vertical: The co. targets the construction industry which is the only “peg” they didn’t have covered in depth (so they made up for it by doing extensive research) 

    Lessons Learned

    • Believe: They noted how important it was to maintain self-confidence and belief in her own abilities
    • Take breaks: They made sure to take “feel good” breaks during the day (i.e. walks, hikes, work-outs, etc.)
    • Network: Because they hadn’t neglected her network while they had a job, it was a lot easier to re-engage, AND even long-lapsed associates surprised her with their receptivity 
    • Flexibility: At the beginning of their search, they thought they were done with start-ups but came to realize that if the culture fit was right, the current business phase was not an issue 
  • June 14, 2024 7:09 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Total search time: 8 months (turned down 2 opportunities that didn’t feel like the right fit)

    Job landed time: 1 month from 1st interview to offer

    Lead source: Recruiter (TrueBridge)

    Lessons learned:

    • “Create a 'must have,' 'nice to have,' and 'not important' list of role/company attributes to help guide your search process." 
    • “Create a target company list at the beginning of your search process and leverage all appropriate aspects of your personal and professional network to connect to those organizations.”
  • June 05, 2024 11:52 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    1) What was the source of the job?

    A former colleague was contacted by a third party recruiter. They thought it was a better fit for me, sent me the JD, and I contacted the recruiter directly. And actually - The original posting was for a different role (VP of Product Marketing), but they decided they liked me for this one instead.

    2) How long was the process?

    I first reached out to the recruiter in December, so it was about 5 months.

    3) Were there any surprises during the interview process?

    The early phases of the process moved very slowly. Like 3 weeks between each round of interviews. But the end moved very quickly, including a flight out to meet in person with the execs. Also surprising was that they didn’t require a big presentation or test or written case study. They were really hiring for leadership experience, change management, transformation, culture, etc. They trusted my marketing ability.

    4) What do you know now that you wish you knew when you started your search?

    Good question. I didn’t think it would take this long, even though everyone told me it would. I probably would have taken more time in the beginning to really nail my LinkedIn profile and resume, instead of rushing it and constantly refinng it.

    Also - I was trying to aim for a bigger step in my career growth, but this job is extremely similar to experiences I’ve had. (But in a bigger, growing, more successful organization). Definitely a round peg / round hole situation, as you’ve mentioned.

    It really helped to be in a group like the CMO Huddles. And even your excellent programming and webinars gave me something to think about or even talk about in interviews and networking. Thank you so much for the support!

  • May 25, 2024 7:12 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Total search time: 6 months

    Job landed time: 1 month, 5 interviews, no projects or presentations.

    Lead source: “A former colleague recommended me.”

    Lessons learned:

    • Network - “Expand beyond my normal go-to network connections. It is almost pure luck that I got this connection.”
    • No news is no news - “I sent thank you messages after each interview and never got any responses (I found this disconcerting) but it didn't mean they didn't like me.”
    • Emotional rollercoaster - “I went through emotional swings and felt beaten up by the job search process. It is not like it used to be. Companies used to fly you in and have interviews in-person. Companies used to pay to relocate VP-level talent. Those days seem to be gone.”
  • May 20, 2024 6:52 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    How long was your transition period?

    Transition was from Nov 1 - May 15 so 6.5 months.

    How did you hear about this opportunity? (recruiter, network, etc)

    I got this from one of the VCs that backed my last company.

    How long did it take from 1st contact to securing offer for this one?

    It took me 4 months to secure an offer as the company needed to be fully ready.

    Did you have to do any presentations like a 30/60/90? Any lessons learned from this experience?

    I didn’t do a formal 30/60/90 to get this but did an informal one and am doing the formal one now.

    Any lessons learned from this experience?

    Biggest lesson is to hustle, hustle, hustle and keep chasing. You have to really sell yourself hard in this market.

  • May 17, 2024 6:55 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    How did you find this opportunity?

    My friend is the CEO and a relatively new one (7 months). We happened to have brunch a few months ago and they were just about to fire the CMO who they and the board weren’t fans of. 

  • May 12, 2024 7:14 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Total search time: 6 months

    Job landed time: “Over 5 weeks I met with key execs and multiple board members. 10 interviews total. No presentations this time around.”

    Lead source: A recruitment agency

  • April 26, 2024 7:11 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Total search time: 2 months

    Job landed time: “The process was super quick since I started in an interim role”

    Lead source: “A friend in my network introduced me to the incoming CEO.”

    Lessons learned: “I wish I had built up my network before I left my last job.”

  • April 09, 2024 6:58 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    How did you get the role? 

    Long story short is I got recruited by my CEO from my previous role. Not sure how applicable that is to others’ job search sadly.

    What was your job search experience like?

    I did get really deep with two other processes, both of which had a lot of stages (11 hours of meetings in one case, and I was flown into Atlanta to present for the other one). Overall it was a grind and i found the market tough.

    The irony is that there seems to be jobs at the $5m-$30m revenue level but the nature of these companies are that they - understandably - incredibly picky when hiring. At that level, mis-hires are so costly and extremely difficult to absorb. CEOs are also under so much pressure from PE firms (I am a PE-backed company guy) and it’s making them scared to be decisive.

  • April 07, 2024 7:03 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    1. How long was your job search?

    My search was 5 months from layoff to hire. I searched full time and worked fractional gigs during that time. 

    2. Is there anything you know now that you wish you knew earlier?

    As part of our program, I wished I’d known more PE talent sources. The board at my job I was let go from were very helpful with intros. I just wished I’d known several more connectors like them. 

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