Chief Marketing Officer Hiring Guide | CMO Recruiters | Cowen Partners

      Chief Marketing Officer | Ultimate Hiring Guide

      Ultimate CMO Hiring Guide for Exceptional Marketing Executives

      Ash Wendt, Cowen Partners President & CRO Recruiter

      By Ash Wendt, President of Cowen Partners Executive Search

      Cowen Partners President & CMO Recruiter Ash Wendt has compiled this Chief Marketing Officer Hiring Guide to highlight what CMOs do and what it takes to hire the best CMOs for any C-suite or industry.

      Cowen Partners, a national sales and marketing executive search firm, has put together what we believe is the ultimate guide to hiring marketing leadership, including a Chief Marketing Officer and team.

      Designed for CEO’s, we outline the major issues encountered by an organization when building a marketing function.

      About Cowen Partners

      Cowen Partners is a leader among the nation’s top executive search firms and consulting companies. Our clients are both small and large, publicly traded, pre-IPO, private, and non-profit organizations.

      Clients are typically $50 million to multi-billion-dollar revenue Fortune 1000 companies or have assets between $500 million to $15 billion. Successful placements span the entire C-Suite and include VP and Director level leadership roles.

      Table of Contents

      Click on a linked topic below to skip to that section in this Chief Marketing Officer Hiring Guide.

      What Is a CMO in a Startup Business?

      A CMO is the chief marketing officer, who serves an essential role within any startup. In fact, hiring the right CMO can do a lot for your startup, including:

      Hiring for the CMO role, however, can be a bit complicated, especially for startups. Many startup CEOs have a hard time accurately assessing the right time to hire a CMO. In many cases, the CMO is brought on too early or the wrong person is selected for the role. 

      When to Hire a CMO

      At a certain point, a startup CEO’s knowledge of marketing is no longer adequate for the business’s growth. When you’re first starting, the CEO or COO may do a great job managing the marketing side of the company.

      As the business grows, however:

      • The marketing becomes more complex.
      • Questions arise that require a more experienced marketing perspective.
      • You’ll notice competitors pulling ahead and your growth flatlining.

      A CMO can come in and revitalize the business and reignite growth. 

      Another clear sign it’s time to hire a CMO is if your team is telling you they need more leadership. Talk to the marketing managers and get their insight. They may require more direction and industry experience to move the business forward. If your marketing staff needs a leader, it could be time to hire a CMO.

      How to Hire the Best CMO for a Startup: 5 Tips

      Now that you’ve determined you need a CMO for your startup, it’s time to figure out what kind of CMO would be best for your company. Below are five tips that will help you find the right person.

      1. Figure out what kind of CMO you need

      CMOs can specialize in different aspects of marketing. For example, there is the:

      • Storyteller CMO who will perfect your brand voice and image. The storyteller will help you connect with customers and will build an excellent brand strategy through content marketing, partnerships, and events. 
      • Analytic CMO who is more experienced in market analysis. The analytic CMO is experienced in growth marketing and will know how to track trends, measure campaign success, and create lead generation funnels.

      Understanding business needs will help you determine which areas of the marketing strategy you need to improve. It’s difficult to find a CMO who is the full package, often referred to as a unicorn. As long as you understand your biggest areas of need, however, you should be able to find someone to fill your most pressing marketing gaps. 

      2. Choose someone who knows how to structure teams

      No matter the main experience and skill set of your CMO, you need someone who can strategically structure the various marketing departments. During the interview process, ask candidates how they’d structure your marketing teams and have them work together.

      A few teams that fall under the CMO’s control include:

      • Content marketing
      • Customer relationships management
      • Brand marketing
      • Marketing communications
      • Product marketing

      Your business may have a few more or could be missing a unit that would drastically improve sales. A CMO should be able to come in and structure the groups into a cohesive working whole. 

      3. Ask for specific referrals

      During CMO recruiting, don’t just ask colleagues for CMO referrals. Simply asking for a CMO referral will get you a wide assortment of contacts.

      Instead, get specific with your needs and ask, Do you know any CMOs who are expert storytellers with experience in brand building and customer outreach?

      The more specific you can be, the more likely you’ll be to find a qualifying candidate. 

      4. Get insight from a marketing professional

      You may think you know what your company needs, but it’s easy to miss the mark when you’re busy focusing on other aspects of the business. Pull in a marketing professional to gain more insight on marketing talent and demands. You may be surprised by the assessment you receive from the marketing advisor.  

      5. Perfect the CMO Job Description

      A big reason startups fail to attract the CMOs they need is because of poor CMO job descriptions. Before posting anything, review the document to make sure expectations are set and realistic. Don’t be too broad with your description either.

      If you have specific areas of marketing that need attention, cater the job description to fill that role. This will help you narrow your CMO search, and it’ll also make it easier for marketing executive recruiters to find you the right person for the job. 

      Why CMO Turnover Is So High & How to Retain Marketing Talent

      A chief marketing officer (CMO) is the person responsible for managing the marketing side of your company. This c-suite position ensures your company mission and vision is being accurately conveyed to the public. They also keep the marketing strategy on track so your business continues to reach a larger audience. A successful CMO will ultimately have a big impact on your company’s revenue and overall profits. 

      On paper, these roles seem like a great opportunity for an experienced marketing manager to come into an organization and drive results. More often than not, however, a CMO is hired only to discover the role is not as described.

      The disconnect between CMO expectations and role responsibilities is just one of the reasons why this position has one of the highest c-suit turnover rates. According to Forbes, the average tenure of a CMO is 44 months; that’s less than four years. Turnover isn’t good for any position but especially not at the c-suite level. 

      Top 2 Mistakes That Drive CMOs Away

      The first step to retaining your CMO long-term is understanding the main causes of turnover. Below are two of the main reasons CMOs do not stay long at a company. 

      1. Lack of CEO support

      Prior to hiring a CMO, the CEO is often the one assisting with the marketing plans. When a CMO is brought on, it can be difficult for the CEO to relinquish this important responsibility to a new leader. A majority of CEOs also don’t fully grasp the intricacies of marketing and everything that goes into strategy development, yet they expect a CMO to generate revenue. The problem is, it’s incredibly difficult to translate a marketing campaign into dollars earned. 

      A marketing campaign increases brand awareness and gets people talking about your company’s services or products. This is known as demand generation. In the long run, this can lead to a bigger profit as more people know about your brand and what you have to offer.

      Short-term, however, there’s not a good way to show on paper how the marketing strategy is increasing sales. To some CEOs, the lack of revenue data appears to be evidence that the marketing strategy isn’t working. When in fact, they’re trying to measure the wrong thing. Instead of profit, a CEO should be looking at engagement and brand awareness.

      2. Limited Authority & Trust

      Many CMOs have faced limited authority within a company. Even though the position is at the C-suite level, CMOs find themselves micromanaged by the CEO or other leadership positions. Again, this goes back to trusting in the professional you hire for the role. A chief marketing officer is highly experienced with a solid background in marketing.

      Being micromanaged by the CEO or COO is a frustrating position for the CMO. Not only is it frustrating, but it also makes it hard for the marketing officer to do their job. When you’re constantly requesting approval to take a new step, it feels like your position is being undervalued.

      How to Keep CMO Leadership: 3 Tips

      Now that you understand what could be driving a CMO away, let’s look at what you can do to retain your CMO. 

      1. Understand the CMO Role

      At its core, the CMO role is responsible for demand generation. Demand generation is the use of targeted marketing campaigns to drive interest in a company’s products and services. Marketing campaigns and advertisements require money to be successful, but you might not see this marketing money immediately or clearly translate into revenue. Keep this in mind and remember to pay attention to customer engagement and audience growth. 

      2. Encourage Sales Support

      Obviously growing your audience is good, but most business leaders want to see hard numbers. In this regard, encourage the vice president of sales and the chief revenue officer to work with the CMO to support marketing efforts. The sales description of the company and services needs to mesh with the image marketing is putting out, so having these two departments work together is in everyone’s best interest. 

      3. Follow Through on Your Offer

      Review the CMO job description. Make sure it’s the role that someone will actually be stepping into and doing day to day. If the CMO job description says you’re looking for someone to build a marketing strategy that will drive growth but then you limit the person to marketing communications, your new CMO is going to be dissatisfied. Moreover, you won’t get the results you really want for your company. When you hire a CMO, be ready to relinquish marketing responsibility and strategy management to the individual in that chief marketing officer role so your company can really expand. 

      Why an Outsourced CMO is the Best Option for a Startup

      A chief marketing officer is an executive position that can make a big impact on your company’s marketing strategy. The downside, however, is that the role is expensive to fill. Hiring someone with the right experience, qualifications, and background for a full-time executive role can quickly become costly. As a startup, your business can’t afford to invest in a full-time CMO, which is why you should consider hiring an outsourced CMO instead. 

      What Is an Outsourced CMO?

      A CMO is responsible for building a company’s marketing strategy. This usually involves managing social media, marketing campaigns, branding, and other online and print media information. An outsourced CMO typically works on a contract basis and serves as a company’s marketing leadership. The outsourced CMO will come in and develop a marketing plan to advance your company’s message, goals, and value. 

      Why Hire an Outsourced CMO for a Startup?

      As your startup or small business grows, you’ll need strong marketing leadership to continue advancing. At this point in business, however, you need access to capital to implement marketing strategies, so you might not be able to afford a full-time CMO. You also may not need a marketing officer in-office 40 hours a week yet.

      Another reason why outsourcing a CMO can benefit your startup is to fill any marketing expertise gaps in your company. An outside CMO will bring a fresh perspective to your business strategy to help you grow and develop in new markets. Save the company money for further investing by hiring a fractional CMO to consult and manage your marketing strategy. 

      CMO Job Description: Demand Generation Duties

      • Create a “land & expand,” web-based, low touch/low friction/high-velocity model to accelerate growth and transform the company’s offerings.
      • Assure that marketing spend is allocated to trackable programs.
      • Ensure that the working pipeline can support the company’s revenue plan.
      • Improve conversion across product solutions working cross-functionally to determine lead quality, quantity, and cost structure.
      • Develop engaging content aligned with the sales cycle to be used across all types of promotion from print to digital marketing materials.
      • Drive MarTech to analyze and discover customer and data-driven insights to increase growth.

      CMO Job Description: Management & Leadership Responsibilities

      • Establish a collaborative, results-oriented and data-driven marketing department.
      • Manage all aspects of marketing planning, budgeting, metrics, and reporting.
      • Manage external agencies and relationships with marketing services.
      • In collaboration with senior leadership, develop and execute an on-going strategy and ensure monthly, quarterly and yearly targets are met.
      • Work with the executive leadership to become the organizational “glue” to deliver change.

      CMO Job Description: Overseeing Brand Strategy

      • Elevate and differentiate the brand, creating a compelling strategy and market messages.
      • Develop content marketing capacity to establish as a thought leader within target verticals to drive inbound leads and speed the sales cycle.
      • Own positioning, messaging, branding, segmentation, and marketing strategy.
      • Continuously refine comprehensive go to market plan with input from Sales.
      • Generate effective product marketing collateral such as product demonstrations, case studies, white papers, webinars, solution comparisons, to educate target buyers and influencers about a differentiated value proposition.

      CMO Job Description: Positioning

      • Utilize market & competitive research to segment and define target markets, refine and improve the product value proposition, and implement best market entry strategy.
      • A track record influencing analysts successfully to systematically improve the positioning in the Gartner magic quadrant, with proven tactics and relationships for doing so. Has dynamic personality and credibility to represent the firm in these relationships. Develop a working relationship and alignment with the Product Architect to ensure that marketing is promoting what the company is developing.
      • Ensure rigor and discipline across company-wide programs that support integrated marketing and business development models.
      • Work with business development, alliances, and CEO to support strategic business opportunities.
      • Design the right strategies and processes to carry out the vision in a multichannel world.
      • Align marketing strategy with the CEO and key stakeholders to develop and execute dynamic campaigns that drive growth for their target segments.

      CMO Job Description: Product Marketing

      • Drive integrated marketing efforts that ‘glue’ all aspects.
      • Build out the product marketing organization.
      • Participate in future product development strategy.
      • Fine-tune both the corporate and product story.

      What Are We Looking for in a Chief Marketing Officer?

      The ideal candidate will be a proven, results-oriented leader with a history of driving demand in a hyper-growth public cloud, datacenter, or infrastructure software company. S/he will have a successful track record as a category creator and thought leader in high growth B2B (vertical SaaS). This CMO has built and scaled an enterprise marketing organization and hired and led a team of “A” players, while successfully elevating the brand.

      Chief Marketing Officer Business & Domain Expertise

      • 12+ years of well-rounded modern marketing experience in positions of increasing responsibility. Ideally a combination of large companies and emerging growth companies.
      • An undergraduate degree is required; an MBA or other advanced degree is a plus.
      • Marketing success with a high growth company required. Marketing leadership for a market-making company strongly preferred.
      • Experience successfully running ABM campaigns, with quantifiable results in pipeline and closed won results.
      • Ability to identify prospects through analysis of needs, usage behavior, and account potential.
      • Proven success creating a strategy to sell to line of business owners at the department level, and “expand”/ build out to scale.
      • Industry related experience. Significant success scaling marketing programs within software or SaaS/cloud at the enterprise level.
      • A track record influencing analysts successfully to win prominent 1st position the Gartner magic quadrant, with proven tactics and relationships for doing so. Has dynamic personality and credibility to represent the firm in these relationships.
      • Proven success record of partnering with sales to drive lead generation and revenues up while driving the cost of sales and time to close down.
      • Track record of building a metrics-driven, highly accountable marketing organization focused on measurable outcomes. Analytical expertise including measuring both lead and lag measures such as #MQL’s, #SQL’s, $ value of pipeline created.
      • Proven success at internal communication to gain buy-in on corporate strategy and marketing strategy and plans.
      • External communications expertise including branding and messaging to different target audiences, online advertising/promotion, and working with the press and other media.
      • Exposure to all facets of global marketing, including Sales Support, Channel Marketing, Branding, Strategy, Messaging, Marketing Programs, Market Communications, Public Relations, and Analyst Relations.
      • Proven success developing and executing integrated business to business marketing campaigns, including goal setting, budget management and results measurement.
      • Broad knowledge of internet marketing tools and CRM data. Ideally in a “land and expand,” lower touch higher volume SaaS/cloud environment.

      CMO Leadership Experience

      • Must have strong relationship acumen: ability to build strong relationships at all levels of the organization.
      • Flexible and quick. Culture carrier who is facile with change management.
      • Holds the company and team’s best interests at heart while building and scaling a world-class company.
      • High EQ; leadership and decisions are situation appropriate, not using a blanket approach.
      • Incredibly strong conviction and vision along with the requisite interpersonal, presentation, organizational and planning skills.
      • Cool under pressure, able to prioritize and deliver.
      • Hires slow, fires fast; a proven track record of attracting, hiring, retaining, and motivating top-class marketing talent.
      • Communicates clearly, regularly and appropriately.
      • Fosters an open work environment and generates excitement, enthusiasm, and commitment.
      • Highest standards of personal and professional integrity and ethics.
      • Invests in the growth of people to match future company needs.
      • Customer-centric.
      • Able to take a laser approach to high value-projects.
      • Steady, supportive and naturally collaborative.
      • Business maturity, persistence, adaptability, and work ethic/drive.
      • Intellectually curious, problem solver, eager to learn, a persuasive and charismatic change agent.

      What You Need to Know When Interviewing Demand Generation Candidates

      Demand generation is all about creating targeted marketing strategies to increase brand awareness and drive interest in your company’s products or services. With the right demand generation strategy, your company can:

      1. Engage an audience
      2. Reach new markets
      3. Create a successful lead generation pipeline to grow your business

      What Is a Demand Generation Manager?

      The role of the demand generation manager fills a critical need in companies that realize the value of demand generation while facing the challenge of assigning this task to a specific team. Because demand gen strategies are intricately involved with the sales funnel, as well as marketing campaigns, the overlap of these two functions makes it difficult to task any one team the responsibility of demand generation.

      That is where demand generation managers come in. They are integral to creating, implementing, and fine-tuning demand generation strategies that will grow brand visibility while engaging target customers and maximizing awareness of a company’s products and/or services.

      What Does a Demand Generation Manager Do?

      A demand generation manager oversees all aspects of the company’s demand generation strategy. A few of the responsibilities that fall under this manager’s authority include:

      • Executing long- and short-term marketing campaigns to drive leads.
      • Collaborating with sales and marketing to enhance lead generation strategies.
      • Identifying new markets to reach.
      • Analyzing campaign success and measuring results.

      These are just a few of the many responsibilities of the demand generation manager, but overall, the position is responsible for driving interest in the company. 

      Intro to an Interview for a Demand Generation Manager

      Thank you for coming, you have seen the job description and I assume visited our website, what questions do you have for me? The best marketers have questions about your business, client profile, and current marketing function. Be open and honest with them.

      14 Demand Generation Manager Interview Questions to Ask

      Your company has the potential to see a lot of growth if you hire the right demand generation manager. Identifying the right person for the role is never easy, but the 14 questions below will help you find the right candidate for the job. 

      Cowen Partners, a national sales and marketing executive search firm, outlines some of the best interview questions for your next demand generation marketing leader. We have put this in script form for ultimate convenience (and we also have a demand generation job description, created by top-rated marketing executive recruiters).

      1. If we hired you, what would your first 30, 60, 90 days look like.
      2. Based on what you know about what we do, what would you do to generate leads, and why?
      3. What would you do to find out if our content marketing strategy is working?
      4. Provide them with a current client acquisition problem you have and ask them how they would address it.
      5. How did you drive revenue in your last role?
      6. What marketing channels do you have experience with, and can you rate yourself in those areas?
      7. How do you measure lead quality?
      8. Tell me about your B2B/ B2C experience, how much of each and what company?
      9. Tell me who you reported to in your previous roles and how did you interface with the sales team?
      10. Please go over your career progress and explain your reason for joining/ leaving your previous employers.
      11. Tell me about how you work with creative people? How do you work with sales?
      12. Tell me about something new you have learned?
      13. What are you an expert in?
      14. Thank you for your time and for answering my questions. Is there anything else I should have asked or I can tell you?

      Demand Generation vs Lead Generation

      Demand generation can include a variety of communication channels from blog posts and social media messaging to targeted promotions and list creation. When all is said and done, demand gen is typically involved in every aspect of a business’s sales funnel. Every marketing strategy should include some sort of demand generation process for attracting people to the brand and pushing them through the sales funnel.  

      A lot of companies actually mistake demand gen for lead generation. These two terms, while related, are not the same thing. Lead generation refers to a specific subset of demand gen. Demand gen attracts people to business and piques interest in the overall brand, product, or service. Lead gen then comes in and turns the interested parties into more concrete sales leads by collecting contact information. 

      Every company needs some form of lead generation if they want to continue growing and to see success. Without lead generation, targeted marketing efforts are much more difficult. Once the lead generation is complete, demand gen takes back over to continue pushing people down the sales cycle with more targeted content and value. 

      The problem with demand gen is that it takes a lot more work and manpower to accomplish successfully than businesses realize. This is not a process that can be managed by a single employee. To properly run a demand gen strategy, you need a full team or department working on the process. 

      5 Reasons to Use Account-Based Marketing in Your Business

      Businesses utilize a variety of different marketing strategies with the goal of connecting to high-value clients in the target market. Marketing campaigns typically reach a wide audience, but the leads generated are not always an ideal fit. That’s why more and more businesses are turning to account-based marketing strategies. In fact, according to the 2020 State of ABM Report, more than 94 percent of respondents had some form of active AMB program running. Companies with mature account-based marketing programs even credited ABM with up to 73 percent of their total revenue. 

      What Is Account-Based Marketing?

      The numbers clearly show that account-based marketing is affective, but what exactly is it? ABM is a marketing strategy that targets specific market accounts and then uses personalized campaigns to engage directly with the target customer. Another important aspect of ABM is targeting existing customers by focusing on upselling or cross selling. For businesses that target larger accounts, the account-based marketing strategy makes it easier to engage and connect directly with a high-profile client. 

      Account Based Marketing

      Benefits of Account-Based Marketing

      ABM is a marketing strategy that can make a huge difference to your business. Below are five reasons why you should be using account-based marketing in your business.

      1. Personalized Marketing

      More traditional demand generation marketing tools can be effective, but they have their limitations. The main issue is that the marketing message is crafted for a wide audience and therefore is not very personal. Traditional marketing strategies use one message to reach a bunch of different people. ABM, on the other hand, targets specific high-value clients with personalized messages and offers. ABM allows you to tailor your marketing efforts to the specific needs and interests of individual high-value clients.

      2. Alignment of sales and marketing

      The marketing and sales teams often work separately from each other in a company. The division between these two departments can be quickly bridged through account-based marketing. ABM requires the collaboration of your sales and marketing organizations to accurately target and identify the right accounts for the campaign. The alignment of sales and marketing also creates an opportunity to move leads further down the sales pipeline. The sales team can identify accounts that need reminders or additional offers to keep them engaged with the brand and moving forward with the sales process.

      3. Measurable ROI

      It’s difficult to measure the revenue generated by traditional marketing campaigns. Businesses can see an increase in brand engagement, but this doesn’t always immediately translate into sales. However, ABM has a clearly measurable return on investment since you’re targeting individual accounts with each campaign. One survey found more than 80 percent of marketers reported ABM programs outperformed their other marketing initiatives.

      4. Streamlined Sales Cycle

      Account-based marketing can help your business streamline the sales cycle for large accounts. With traditional marketing campaigns, you send out a message, wait for a potential client to connect, and then you start the research process to present to the client. ABM is a more direct approach that identifies ideal customers early on so you can present products and services directly to them with the most impactful messaging. The ABM approach helps you connect with ideal accounts early to build a strong and lasting relationship that will quickly convert into a sale.

      5. Expand Customer Relationships

      ABM requires a heavy investment of resources into the marketing campaign. The approach focuses on a narrower account pool, but when done successfully the converted clients are more likely to stick with your company long-term. The personalized marketing approach makes clients feel appreciated and understood, so they will want to continue working with you. This also makes it easier to gain more sales from their accounts in the future. 

      As you rollout more products and services, you’ll have developed a strong relationship with existing accounts. These clients will be eager to learn about your new offerings and keep growing along with your business. 

      Why You Need to Shift to Account-Based Marketing

      The internet makes it exceedingly easy for companies to reach a wide audience. At first glance, this seems like a fantastic opportunity to bring your product or service to everyone. In reality, it’s caused a lot of companies to focus too heavily on a wider and wider customer base instead of investing in the loyal customers they already have. 

      ABM is bringing businesses back to personal relationships with client accounts. Instead of focusing on quantity, marketing and sales efforts should go toward quality. You want quality clients that align with your business so you can work together long-term and continue growing the relationship. If account-based marketing isn’t part of your marketing strategy yet, it’s time to add it to the agenda.  

      It’s Time to Reimagine the Chief Marketing Officer Role

      The chief marketing officer (CMO) role has always been a contentious one. Businesses recognize the importance of marketing to a company’s success and growth, but many CEOs and top executives are hesitant to assign a CMO position. Part of the reluctance comes from the inability to track the impact of a marketing campaign on the company’s bottom line. 

      Demand generation is the main responsibility of a CMO, which is to say a CMO creates targeted campaigns to bring awareness to a business’s products and services. A company can see an increase in engagement and brand awareness after a marketing campaign, but the sales increase can take longer to spot. It’s also often unclear what responsibilities should fall under the CMO umbrella.

      The CMO role is often extremely varied from company to company and the job responsibilities are always inconsistent. The vague nature of the role has given it one of the highest turnover rates in the C-suite group. On average, a CMO stays with a company 3.5 years. In comparison, a CEO sticks with a company an average of about 7 years. 

      Why Upgrade the Chief Marketing Officer Role?

      The advancement of technology is just one of the reasons why the CMO role needs to be reexamined. The speed with which market trends change and audience attention shifts these days makes customer engagement more important than ever. It also makes it increasingly difficult to focus energy on long-term brand building, which is a big part of the CMO role. Another common issue with CMOs is that their position focus is becoming increasingly narrow. Many CMOs put all of their energy into marketing communications when there are so many other important business aspects that could use their attention. For example, many companies are having the CMO expand the focus to customer experiences and product road mapping. 

      Expanding the CMO role has several benefits. First, by working with more teams such as sales and customer experience, the CMO can bring these departments together into a more cohesive unit. Marketing is a core aspect of the business and should be integrated into nearly every aspect of business processes. By allowing the CMO to work with the VP of sales and coordinate with the chief revenue officer, this can be accomplished. 

      Second, the more responsibility the CMO has, the more they’ll feel heard and like a real member of the C-suite. CMOs tend to be left out of the big decisions because CEOs and COOs see them as simple marketers. More responsibility will give them a bigger voice in the company and require more say in important company decisions. 

      CMOs Can Make Marketing More Effective

      Expanding the CMO role shouldn’t have an impact on your company’s marketing efforts. If anything, it’ll actually make marketing more effective because the CMO will have a more comprehensive understanding of customer needs, sales cycles, and more. The CMO will still be focusing on expanding the company brand and audience, but now excellent customer service can be integrated into the approach. Combining these two business aspects is particularly vital because marketing interacts with customers wherever they’re at through social media channels, events, and even product placement. In effect, the CMO should also be viewed as a steward of the customer experience. 

      Reinventing the CMO Role: The Bottom Line

      Review the CMO position within your own company to see what changes could possibly be implemented. Perhaps your CMO is already effectively managing your marketing needs. If this is the case, don’t feel pressure to reinvent the position. However, it doesn’t hurt to look for potential areas of improvement. Have a conversation with your CMO to get their take on the role and what it could be missing. They might tell you they need more interaction with the VP of sales to ensure a consistent brand message, or maybe they’ll express interest in working more with the product development team. 

      Reimagining the CMO role is an opportunity to shake things up at your company and get people thinking about innovative new communication techniques and branding ideas. If the CMO role isn’t having the impact you want right now, reinventing the position to cover more areas could be the key to more effective communication. The change may require a title adjustment as well. Perhaps instead of CMO, the position will morph into chief growth officer (CGO) or a combination chief marketing and business management officer. With the CMO role changing for so many businesses, now is a good time to ask whether your company needs to make a change as well. 

      How to Scale Your SaaS Company to $100 Million ARR 

      The $100 million annual recurring revenue mark is a significant milestone for SaaS companies that signifies sustainable company growth. While every startup wants to hit this number as soon as possible, it’s a process that takes time. According to Kimchi Hill, on average it takes 4.5 years to hit the $10 million ARR mark and at least 50 percent of companies take between 5 and 10 years to finally hit $100 million ARR. 

      Successfully scaling your SaaS business takes time, dedication, and the right business strategy. Below are some tips you can use to scale your business and achieve startup growth. 

      Know When to Scale

      The path to the first $1 million ARR is when most SaaS startups go through a strong learning phase. As you work toward $1 million ARR, you should be learning what works for your company and what doesn’t. For example, by the time you hit $1 million ARR, you should have determined the right product for your market, identified new customer leads, secured long-term business contracts, and have repeat customers, just to name a few. If you’ve seen consistent growth for a least two years in addition to ironing out your business strategy, you should be ready to scale your business. 

      4 Mistakes to Avoid

      Scaling a SaaS company takes skill and not all startups follow best practices. There are a number of common mistakes seen in the SaaS startup realm, but below are the top four you should avoid as you work to scale your business. 

      1. Offering too many discounts

      Startups are eager to attract customers, and a common strategy they’ll use to gain customers is discounts. People love discount deals, so it can be tempting to offer big discounts to bring more people to your service. The problem, however, is that SaaS companies start offering excessive discounts which can lead to attracting the wrong audience for the product and undervaluing the service. Instead of focusing on discounts, create a plan that includes customer incentives instead. This way customers are still encouraged to purchase the product, but you’re not giving away too much. 

      2. Ignoring current customers

      A common fallacy among startups is that new customers are more valuable than current customers. This is simply not true. Customer retention is a huge aspect of business success. Your current customers can bring you repeat business, and they’re also a valuable source of referral business. Too often startups become overly focused on acquiring new clients or leads and forget to give their current customers the best experience possible. 

      3. Hiring the wrong people

      Hiring decisions are always difficult, but startups seem to have an especially hard time finding the right people. The main problem is that startups tend to focus too much on technical skills and not enough on candidate qualities and culture fit. SaaS startups have unique cultures and expectations that employees need to understand and accept before being hired. If you’re adding new positions to your team, make sure you review candidate characteristics in addition to their overall experience and background.

      4. Falling into the “growth hacking” trap

      Growth hacking has become such a buzzword in the startup scene. Startup leaders are trying to figure out the fastest way to achieve rapid growth, but don’t be fooled by growth hacking strategies. There are several problems that startups run into when attempting to growth-hack their business. These problems can include the following:

      1. Growth hacking often involves a number of shortcuts, which leads to missed learning opportunities.
      2. By scaling too rapidly, startups can’t keep up internally with growth and the management of the company falls apart.
      3. Growth hacking often leaves customers feeling unheard and undervalued.

      All this to say, shortcuts will have a negative impact on your SaaS company long-term if you try to growth hack your startup. 

      Build Your Employee Base

      A major aspect of scaling is effectively growing various teams. In particular, the $10 million ARR mark is typically when startups begin to hire middle managers to oversee more of the business process and separate C-suite leaders from the general business process. 

      Adding another layer of sales management is also done at this time and can be especially difficult. Startup CEOs are accustomed to being involved in the sales process, but now the crucial role of managing sales falls on the VP of sales and department managers. The sales department needs particular attention as the startup scales and becomes larger, too. By the time you hit $10 million in ARR your company should have a dedicated sales team with a reliable sales pipeline in place for acquiring and driving business. As your startup grows, make sure you’re not neglecting this vital growth department.  

      How to Build a Successful Demand Generation Team | B2B Marketing

      Demand generation marketing strategies are tactics used to generate interest and demand for a company’s products or services.

      What Is Demand Generation?

      Demand generation can include a variety of communication channels from blog posts and social media messaging to targeted promotions and list creation. When all is said and done, demand gen is typically involved in every aspect of a business’s sales funnel. Every marketing strategy should include some sort of demand generation process for attracting people to the brand and pushing them through the sales funnel.  

      Demand generation is the focus of targeted marketing programs to drive awareness and interest in a company’s products and/or services. 

      Looking for a Demand Generation Job Description? Click here!

      Demand Generation vs Lead Generation

      A lot of companies actually mistake demand gen for lead generation. These two terms, while related, are not the same thing. Lead generation refers to a specific subset of demand gen. Demand gen attracts people to business and piques interest in the overall brand, product, or service. Lead gen then comes in and turns the interested parties into more concrete sales leads by collecting contact information.

      Every company needs some form of lead generation if they want to continue growing and to see success. Without lead generation, targeted marketing efforts are much more difficult. Once the lead generation is complete, demand gen takes back over to continue pushing people down the sales cycle with more targeted content and value. 

      The problem with demand gen is that it takes a lot more work and manpower to accomplish successfully than businesses realize. This is not a process that can be managed by a single employee. To properly run a demand gen strategy, you need a full team or department working on the process. 

      In marketing, lead generation is the initiation of consumer interest or enquiry into products or services of a business. Leads can be created for purposes such as list building, e-newsletter list acquisition or for sales leads

      What a Demand Generation Department Does

      One main role of the demand gen team or department is to bridge the gap between marketing and sales. The overall demand gen campaign process includes multiple components that require a lot of work. A few of aspects of demand gen covered by the demand team are listed below:


      The demand gen team is constantly reviewing customer insights to ensure the sales funnel is working appropriately. By monitoring what works and what doesn’t, the team can tweak the marketing strategy as necessary to continue generating growth and sales. 


      The sales funnel encompasses many key metrics, all of which should be tracked by your company. Detailing customer experiences, engagements, and decisions can lead to more efficient and accurate campaigns in the future.


      The demand generation team knows not only what to say to potential customers but also how to say it. Value and customer-relevant information are conveyed through a variety of content delivery systems. Each message must be carefully constructed and targeted to convey the most important information to customers. 


      In today’s tech-heavy world, companies have a number of delivery systems they can use for reaching customers. Email, social media, blog content, and advertisements are all content delivery options available to your company. A demand gen team knows which delivery system is best for your content and goals. 

      Revenue generation is one of the most important activities any business can engage in. It is defined as a process by which a company plans how to market and sell its products or services, in order to generate income.

      How to Build a Demand Gen Team

      There are two positions in the C-suite that facilitate the overall success of the demand generation team. These two positions are chief growth officer (CGO) and chief revenue officer (CRO). A CGO monitors all aspects of the business that help drive growth and the CRO is responsible for ensuring the company is leveraging all marketing opportunities to generate the most sales. Together, these two leadership roles help shape and drive the overall marketing strategy involved in demand generation.  

      Under these two important positions you’ll often find the VP sales and the VP marketing. The vice presidents of these two departments are responsible for overseeing the demand generation process, from strategy to revenue goals. These two positions help create the overall demand gen campaign funnel and monitor the progress to ensure metrics are being hit. 

      Finally, you have marketing managers and sales development representatives. These team members are responsible for executing the overall demand gen strategy and nurturing potential customers throughout the sales cycle. 

      These positions are just a few of the main roles needed for a successful demand generation team. Since demand generation touches on sales and marketing, you need people who can confidently handle every part of customer development. In addition to managing customer development and business growth, you also need leaders in these positions who can work well together throughout the sales cycle. Demand gen teams can struggle when sales representatives and marketing managers fail to communicate important data insights and value propositions. 

      A demand generation team is a must for the future success of your business. Determine which essential demand gen positions are missing from your company and fill those roles as soon as possible so you can see an improvement in company growth.

      Demand Generation Salary and Team Roles

      • VP Sales & Marketing – $200,000 average salary
      • VP of Demand Generation – $175,000 average salary
      • Director of Demand Generation – $125,000 average salary
      • Demand Generation Marketing Manager – $85,000 average salary
      • Demand Generation Specialist – $55,000 average salary

      CMO Salary Guide | Executive Marketing Salary

      Marketing is the lifeblood of every business. To get customers for your business, you have to first attract them to your business. The way to do that is through marketing. However, before you attract customers to your business through marketing, you have to first attract top talent for your company’s marketing positions. 

      And the right salary can be the best way to appeal to exceptional candidates for marketing positions from the C-suite down.

      If you’ve been looking to flesh out or revamp your marketing department, check out this essential marketing executive salary guide. While it takes a deep dive into the different salaries and responsibilities for various marketing professionals, the table below shares a snapshot of the average marketing executive salary by role.

      RoleAverage Marketing Salary
      Chief Marketing Officer (CMO)$174,662
      Chief Sales Officer (CSO)$170,567
      Director of Product Marketing$144,097
      Director of Brand Marketing$121,759
      Director of Marketing$107,332
      Marketing Manager$65,834
      Social Media Marketer$53,460
      SEO, SEM & PPC Specialist$49,202

      Continue reading for a closer look at each role, explaining how salary and compensation can vary and what each position generally does within a company.

      Chief Marketing Officer  (CMO) Salary

      $174,662 is the average CMO salary, according to the latest data. That compensation for chief marketing officers is typically associated with those who have at least 6 to 8 years of experience.

      The Chief Marketing Officer is responsible for creating and executing the broad sales and marketing strategy for a company. CMOs, who often play critical roles in large, publicly listed corporations, are also responsible for managing sales and marketing teams. This means that the buck stops at the chief marketing officer when it comes to hiring and firing members of these teams. (S)he should also be able to evaluate senior executives in the marketing and sales departments.  

      Chief Sales Officer  (CSO) Salary

      $170,567 is the average CSO salary, according to recent reports. In fact, while CSO salaries can start at the low end of ~$97,000, the high end can be up to $250,000 or more. Generally, Fortune 500 companies shell out higher salaries for Chief Sales Officers. 

      The role of the Chief Sales Officer can be pivotal in companies that want to separate the marketing and the sales departments at the C-level. The Chief Sales Officer is the equivalent of the Chief Marketing Officer, but he is in charge of sales. 

      The Chief Sales Officer crafts the broad sales strategy for your company and would evaluate senior sales executives on their sales performance and metrics. (S)he should also be able to evaluate prospective sales employees during interviews. 

      Director of Marketing Salary

      $107,332 is the average salary for a Director of Marketing, according to the latest data. This usually applies to professionals who bring at least 6 years’ experience to the role.

      The Director of Marketing is the head of the marketing arm of the company. Small businesses, private, and medium-sized companies alike all make strategic use of the Director of Marketing position. In larger companies that have a CMO, the Director of Marketing could be in charge of marketing for sub-sections of the company. This could be different regions, products, or services.

      Director of Brand Marketing Salary  

      $121,759 is the average salary for a Director of Brand Marketingrecent findingssuggest. This ranges from a low of about $63,000 per year to a high of roughly $156,000 per year. While the average salary can be a great benchmark, the realities of a given industry and unique brand position also tend to play a huge role in determining salaries for Directors of Brand Marketing. 

      The Director of Brand Marketing is responsible for crafting the brand image for your company. This is something that requires subtlety and as such, you need to have someone who is refined enough to carry out a task like this. 

      The Director of Brand Marketing is usually in charge of ensuring that there are smooth brand to customer interactions, and oversees the success of brand campaigns. 

      Director of Product Marketing Salary

      $144,097 is the average salary for a Director of Product Marketing, according to the latest reports

      The Director of Product Marketing is the alternative to the Director of Brand Marketing. While the Director of Brand Marketing is focused on ensuring that the brand gets a good image, the Director of Product Marketing is more concerned with the marketing strategy for the goods and services of your company. 

      The Director of Product Marketing handles things like product pricing, product strategy and analysis, developing your sales messaging, and so on. Essentially, your Director of Product Marketing handles the pricing, positioning, and packaging experience for your product. 

      Marketing Manager Salary 

      $65,834 is the average Marketing Manager salaryrecent data shows. Of course, just like other marketing salaries, compensation for marketing managers varies based on several factors, like industry, location, and business-specific needs.

      The Marketing Manager is one or two steps below the director of marketing. The Marketing Manager is responsible for the narrow marketing strategy connected with specific products and campaigns. 

      This means that the marketing manager handles things like positioning, and selling a specific product in your product line. If you’re a company that offers one product or service, the marketing manager is usually the person in charge of different marketing campaigns for your company.  

      The Marketing Manager is usually broadly responsible for supervising employees handling: 

      • Website Management 
      • Social Media Management 
      • SEO 
      • Copywriting 
      • Other marketing-related activities within a company

      Social Media Marketer Salary

      $53,460 is the average salary for a Social Media Marketer, according to the latest reports

      Social Media Marketing should be a very important part of your marketing strategy. However, while it might seem straightforward, it isn’t. It goes beyond creating an account and asking your customers to follow you. 

      To truly harness the power of social media, you need to hire a Social Media Marketer. This would be the person responsible for crafting your social media campaigns. They would also be in charge of ensuring that you grow your social media following and engage your customers. 

      SEO/ SEM/ PPC Specialist Salary

      $49,202 is the average SEO/SEM/PPC salary, the latest data reveals. The professionals in the Search Engine Optimization roles generally are focused on driving traffic, converting that traffic, and generating leads to get new business. While SEOs will focus on organic rankings and getting free traffic from search, PPC specialists will work on generating paid traffic through AdWords (and/or other paid traffic sources).

      This is a very sensitive part of your company’s operations. If your SEM/PPC Specialist isn’t skilled enough, you’ll essentially be throwing money at Google and Facebook. Well, with the right salary, you can be sure to get the right SEO/SEM/PPC specialist for your company.  

      Check out CEO vs COO vs CFO Salary Averages Here

      Cowen Partners: CMO Recruiters Making It Easy to Find Top Talent 

      Trying to find the right talent to fill in the marketing roles at your company could be overwhelming. You can make things easy with the experienced chief marketing officer recruiters at Cowen Partners.

      As a leading executive sales & marketing recruitment firm, our skilled marketing and sales executive recruiters connect companies with top C-Level and Senior Executive talent who contribute their fair share to the growth of your company. 

      Leading Sales, Marketing & Demand Generation Recruiting Firm

      Talk to CMO recruiters at Cowen Partners to find out how we can deliver extraordinary talent for any chief marketing officer or marketing executive role faster than the competition.

      We also invite you to check out our industry-leading marketing recruitment resources to see why Cowen Partners continues to be a top marketing executive search firm in New York City, Chicago, Atlanta, Portland, Seattle, Dallas, Los Angeles, and beyond.

      Get in Touch.

      Fill out the email request form to learn more about our approach.

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