The CMO’s Achilles’ Heel


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The Achilles’ Heel is defined as a fault or weakness that causes or could cause someone or something to fail. B2B CMO’s largely do not have direct reports with expertise in demand generation. This is a major weakness heading into 2014.

The pressure to provide marketing contribution to the funnel is greater than ever. The specialist roles involved in executing world class B2B marketing in 2014 is complex. CMO’s need support from capable direct reports who are competent in driving funnel contribution.

In any $100M+ B2B organization, the CMO can no longer fill the gaps alone. As the cry for revenue contribution intensifies, demandgen specialization is required. Every CMO must have a ‘right-hand’ report with substantial demand generation experience to be successful. Moving into 2014 with a vacuum in this capability is Death.

The purpose of this blog post is two-fold:

  1. Outline assessment criteria of existing director-level marketing staff responsible for Demand Generation.
  2. Provide a guide for the recruitment of ‘A Players’ to serve as your right-hand direct report.

Direct Report Staffing Mistakes to Avoid

One of the most effective ways to assess existing staff is to review common mistakes.

Implementation Inexperience – Lack foundational knowledge of implementation details for Demand Generation. They do not understand the steps to implement Inbound and Outbound Marketing. They have not been involved enough to provide leadership. They cannot help junior staff overcome challenges.

  • Tip: Ask questions that get to whether he/she has intimate knowledge of the challenges faced in implementing demand generation.

Content Marketing Hot Potato – Their view of Content Marketing is that it’s someone else’s job. They discharge responsibility and task Product Marketing to produce all content. When product marketing is not able to produce the content, they seek outsource writing. It’s anyone’s job but theirs.

  • Tip: Discover their view of Content Marketing. Make sure they understand their responsibility for developing effective content.

Corporate Hideout – Don’t see value in spending time in the field with the sales force. Even when attending conferences with sales, they do not seek to leverage sales feedback.

  • Tip: Look for the candidate to volunteer their belief in spending time in the field when asked about performing solid sales support.

Branding Imbalance – They are overly focused on evaluating brand attributes and debating brand principles. This is done at the expense of revenue generating activities. They lack balance in their branding focus.

  • Tip: Ask about how they prefer to use agency partners. Get a sense for how interested they are in working with brand consulting firms. The right demand generation expert will be focused on marketing agencies to provide campaign support.

Lack of B2B Marketing Passion – Through sheer necessity, B2C marketers often find their way into B2B organizations. The most common path is the desire to advance their career. These seasoned professionals lack a passion for B2B marketing. They are perennial B & C players who cause CMO’s to miss their objectives.

  • Tip: Look for a specific passion for Business to business, understand what they liked/disliked about B2C vs. B2B. Don’t settle for second-tier talent who didn’t chose B2B marketing as a deliberate career path.

Three Direct Report Profiles to Avoid

Evaluate your direct reports responsible for Demand Generation. There are three types of direct reports that will ruin a great CMO. Leverage these descriptions to quickly identify potential trouble spots. Each of these fictional characters is built based on common failure profiles in B2B roles with responsibility for demand generation;

Branding Benson

• Doesn’t see value in spending time in the field with sales
• Takes personal pleasure in evaluating brand attributes and debating brand principles
• Directs his minions to take care of what he considers to be the ‘scut work’ of b2b campaigns
• Invests heavily in brand engagements with brand consulting firms

B2C Cathy

• Historically a ‘B Player’ in B2C companies, not promoted beyond manager level. She has
‘slummed it down’ to a smaller B2B organization to advance
• Highly interested in her title
• Tolerates B2B sales, but has no passion for working with sales
• Gravitates toward brand and corporate marcom activities
• Overly fixated on Marketing activity, not results. Tries to keep clear of revenue objectives

Trench Warfare Tom (a genuine B2B marketing terrorist)

• Found advancement in B2B Marketing with aggressive talk about driving marketing ROI. Lacks strategic savvy to deliver results beyond budget slashing
• Loves to gain favor by throwing red meat to CFO’s, CEO’s and Sales Leaders by degrading marketing
• Slashes tradeshow budgets without taking a surgical view of what’s working
• Irresponsibly recommends cutting marketing budgets while pointing to in-year ‘savings’ with no negative impact to sales (For now…)
• Too daft to recognize the importance of brand to the business

CMO Success in 2014

In summary, Chief Marketing Officers require demand generation expertise in direct reports. Enter 2014 with a right-hand direct report with significant experience in driving funnel contribution.

Download our Demand Generation Roles & Responsibilities Assessment to help you drive revenue contribution in 2014. Get your copy by signing up for SBI’s 7th annual research tour: “How to Make Your Number in 2014: A Strategy You Can Execute“. After signing up, Direct Message me on Twitter @vinkoe or connect with me through LinkedIn to receive your tool quickly.

Demand Generation Roles u0026ampu003B Responsibilities Assessment

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Vince Koehler
Vince is a demand generation thought leader with more than 16 years of industry and professional services experience. He has been chartered with "filling the funnel" for organizations to keep sales resources productive in driving systematic growth. A sample list of Vince's engagements include: Colgate, CITGO Petroleum, GE, Yellow Freight, and Roadway Express.


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