Table of Contents
Imagine this…You’re sitting at your desk (covered in the million reports, projects, emails and blogs you need to approve) thinking about how far you have come…
You’ve founded and are leading a successful and growing organization that you are proud of. The people you’ve put in place are full of energy. Inspiring… they are helping you grow! You are scaling, and fast, but you can’t afford to fill all of the seats at the executive table yet.
But as great as things are, lately, you’ve been noticing little things aren’t quite…there yet.
While sales are being made and deals are getting done, they are done haphazardly and by the seat of your pants. You still don’t have much of a process in place.
Your team seems a bit overwhelmed these days and customers seem like maybe they are a bit frustrated too. This strategy isn’t going to be effective for long, but you’re not sure what your options are.
You KNOW that you need someone to organize the strategy around your marketing, but you don’t have the ability to bring someone with that level of expertise in.
If this feels like a punch in the gut, then contracting with a Fractional Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) could be the right fit.
Ok you are probably thinking “I really relate to that but… what the hell is a Fractional CMO?!” No worries, I got you covered.
What is a Fractional CMO?
Typically, Fractional Chief Marketing Officers join your team on a part-time basis as a marketing leader who oversees all of your marketing strategy and in-house marketing personnel and/or outsourced teams. The goal of a Fractional CMO is to set the direction for creating long-term growth via progressive marketing strategies.
In short, a Fractional CMO acts just like a traditional CMO but they are not employees and typically work with multiple clients. CNV’s Fractional CMO services offer senior-level guidance and a holistic marketing approach for a fraction of the cost of a full-time executive.
Ok so now that we know what a Fractional CMO is, we can determine when it is the right time to hire a Fractional CMO.
5 ways to know if you are ready to transition from your (somewhat organized) system of chaos to a model of true leadership via a Fractional CMO?
You can’t afford a Chief Marketing Officer, yet…
…but you know you need someone with expertise to help lead your growth team if you’re going to scale to the next level.
A good Chief Marketing Officer is going to cost a significant amount of money. It’s probably WAY more than your scaling business can afford.
According to the folks at PayScale, the breakdown for average costs of a Traditional CMO are:
- Base salary: $172,292
- Bonus: $37,351
- Commission: $21,000
- Profit Sharing: $15,357
- Health Benefits: $20,576
- Retirement: $20,502
That brings your grand total to a whopping $287,069.
It’s OK if you need some time to pick your jaw up from the floor.
Even if you take into consideration just the base salary, it’s still a significant amount of capital. There are not too many scaling businesses that can really afford that outlay of cash.
That is the biggest reason most people go the Fractional CMO route. It’s not that Fractional CMOS are necessarily cheaper per hour. It’s that:
- You’re not paying benefits
- They are not full time/salary
- You’re not paying taxes
- You’re not paying bonuses or commissions
- You’re not paying for office space to house them
“I Thought You Were Doing That!”
Have you been hearing that around your office lately? Chances are you have, and it’s because there is no one there to lead your marketing team.
Here’s a great example: Everyone knows there’s a big sales pitch coming up next week and the marketing team needs to get the collateral ready.
The problem? July and Bob aren’t doing it because they thought Marlee was doing it. Marlee isn’t doing it, because she thought Bob was handling it.
Or maybe worse? Three people are working on the same exact project – wasting precious time and money.
And sure, there are some great tools, like Trello, that could help make communication a bit easier on your staff, but ultimately the lack of consistency is because there is no one leading.
Guess what else? You, as CEO/Founder/President, shouldn’t be the one doing it either. This job belongs to the head of marketing, and at some point it’s a hat you need to take off your head.
So when you get to the point that marketing tasks are falling through the cracks because of YOU, then it’s time to pass it to someone else who can get results.
No Innovation (Static Marketing Methods)
If there is one thing that tends to be an issue in companies without a marketing lead, it is that so many of the decisions are based on outdated methods.
Many founders believe that they know their industry and this might be true (it should be!) but it’s also likely that as a founder:
- You wear rose-colored glasses about your business and
- You don’t fully understand the needs of your market and the ever-changing marketing tactics your competitors are using.
When your employees can barely keep up, innovation simply doesn’t have a place at the table. We’ve all been in meetings where a problem is presented and the marketing reps say something like, “this is how we’ve handled it in the past so this is what we will do.”
But no one stops to consider if it’s going to work , they are just happy to have SOME sort of answer. Look, I am all about not spending time and money fixing something if it’s not broken. But marketing is a big game of A/B testing, analyzing and adjusting. And assuming you can keep doing the same old things is enough to put your business six feet under.
I’m also willing to bet that BECAUSE you are short on time and don’t have a marketing lead, you weren’t able to take the time to analyze how things ACTUALLY worked out last time.
Having an outside expert at your disposal can give you an unbiased opinion and experienced guidance that can lead to innovation and growth.
A HUGE benefit of your Fractional CMO is that they specifically do not feel like they have to keep the status-quo. They are there because the status-quo sucks!
They won’t tell you what you want to hear. Their job is to guide you towards long-term success, not band-aid solutions.
Of all the traits I look for in business partners, the ability to cut the bullshit and talk to me honestly is the most valuable. In the past, I’ve poked fun at Crystal for telling clients they wouldn’t get a “Yes Girl” when you work with her, but it’s true. And it’s so valuable.
Admittedly, I tend to focus a lot on the negative side of business, because honestly, we can all relate with the frustrations we face everyday.
But often times, things aren’t dire. In fact, things are fine. 🤷🏻But to me? Fine is just another word for mediocre. Sure, you and your sales team might be producing a minimally viable product to get things done, but does getting things done actually move things ahead?
One of the biggest benefits of a Fractional CMO is that they bring in a fresh energy, giving new life to your organization.
I’m sure you’ve worked around that one Steve Ballmer-esque person who just has that energy and spirit that just makes you want to be the BEST you can be.
Aside from expertise, that’s what a Fractional CMO can bring to the table.
- The ideas to get the table thinking and talking.
- The motivation to have a plan and execute on it.
- The determination to push everyone to the common goal.
THAT is what you get out of a good CMO.
Getting Across the Finish Line
Now that we have the butterflies and unicorns out of the way, we can come back to the doom and gloom of the negative side of things.
Ok, that was a bit extreme, but we are going to round things out with one of the biggest reasons you might need to hire a Fractional CMO:
Drumroll please…. You aren’t getting shit across the finish line.
Let me take a wild guess, everyone on your team is taking things on that they have no business adding to their plate, overextending themselves. You guys are coming up with great ideas, jumping on the newest bandwagon, trying a million things to get to the next step. But…
Then something else comes up.
And the project we were just laser focused on (not really… it’s hard to be laser focused on 100 things at once) is now on the back-burner….
It gets added to the endless pile of things that get started and never finished?
BECAUSE NO ONE IS LEADING INITIATIVES (see a theme here?)!
Bringing a Fractional CMO into the mix ensures that someone is setting the pace (and knows how much you can realistically take on), leading the team and are focused on getting projects across the finish line. Guess what that does? Suddenly:
- Your team isn’t feeling as stressed, drained and burnt out.
- Instead they feel accomplished and proud.
- Your morale goes up.
- People are happier and more fun to be around.
- Your revenue increases.
Look, at the end of the day, it comes down to this: do you want your company to run functionally and GROW, or do you just want to continue with the status quo?
If you look at business through the decades, the companies that make waves (and oddly enough, money) don’t settle: they move the ball forward. They innovate.
Does this sound familiar? Are you struggling to move forward?
Are you sick of taking 1 step forward and 2 steps back? That’s when you know that it’s time to make the change and contract a FCMO. I’ll also tell you that:
Companies who are typically ready for a Fractional CMO
- Understand the value of a strategic marketing leader
- Are ready to allocate significant budget to marketing
- See marketing as the way your business will grow
- Are ready to invest in a marketing team and resources