Putting the Pressure on Marketing Officers


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I’ve noticed that I’m a target. Now hold on; this is not another one of those posts talking about the short tenure of the average CMO. It just so happens that I control the marketing budget … yes; I’m holding the checkbook. It means that I’m often the target of sales calls because I’m a potential customer. From major analysts and media editors to small one person web design firms the calls flood in.

I know you want to make your pitch; but I don’t have a great deal of time. Like most marketers, I spend many hours with my team fine tuning our own marketing strategy. Marketing copy, campaigns, calendars, and yes, many customer interactions fill our days. Conversations with sales to review lead quality, product management to confirm customer requirements, customer service for service-level feedback, and IT to address our marketing technology needs fill my calendar.

Since I started my own career in sales I often take these calls just to see how various sales techniques rate. Falling back into my faculty roll; the overall grade is (C-). Now, I know you’ve been through your company’s sales training class so why do I rate the overall performance barely average? Because I can tell in the first couple of sentences that this conversation is going to be about you, your company and closing the deal through fear, uncertainty and doubt (FUD), and not about listening to me.

I know you have a quota, but if this is your first call forget about closing. If you want to earn my business you need to earn my trust first. And building a relationship based on trust takes time. The average tenure of a CMO may very well be 26.8 months; but that doesn’t mean you can assume I’m in a rush to hand you a blank check.

Anthony Parinello’s book “Selling to VITO” (1994) is good read on this subject. If your sales force hasn’t read it in awhile you might ask them to dust it off.

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Alan See
Alan See is Principal and Chief Marketing Officer of CMO Temps, LLC. He is the American Marketing Association Marketer of the Year for Content Marketing and recognized as one of the "Top 50 Most Influential CMO's on Social Media" by Forbes. Alan is an active blogger and frequent presenter on topics that help organizations develop marketing strategies and sales initiatives to power profitable growth. Alan holds BBA and MBA degrees from Abilene Christian University.



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