A 6-Step Roadmap for New Marketing Leaders

Written by: Munira Fareed on 7/7/16 2:15 PM


As a recently-hired CMO or marketing leader, your first few weeks at a new company are some of your most important. They set the tone for everything to come, and they provide the best opportunity you’ll get for re-setting the status quo.

Once you’re settled in and everyone’s gotten accustomed to things working a certain way, it becomes more difficult to shake things up and make serious changes. When you’re coming in anew, on the other hand, it’s actually expected that you re-structure and change up processes. Now’s the time to review how things are working, assess what could be better, and move forward with a better plan and structure in place for ongoing success.

To get the plan right from the start, you should take a few particular steps that will help you better understand the organization itself, the customers it serves, and the best approach to start achieving better results.

Step 1: Focus on People

Every business is different and you need to fully understand the one you’re now working within. The best resource you have for learning all the ins and outs of your new company is people.

Take time in your first few weeks to talk one-on-one with:

  • Current customers using the product
  • Other members of the c-suite and the board
  • Individuals in different roles in your marketing department
  • The head of the sales department and individual members of the sales team
  • Members of the customer service and customer experience teams

You want a 360 view of the company that encompasses the high-level goals and expectations of the c-suite, the particulars of how employees do the work of executing tactics on the ground, and an idea of how customers feel about their experience with your company.

Talking to people at various levels will help you truly understand how things work now and give you a peek into what’s working and what still needs work.

Step 2: Understand How Marketing Impacts Revenue

To supplement what people tell you, look to the company data as well. Your top priority should be looking at all the marketing data you have – both the high-level metrics and the precision metrics – that make up the larger story of how your team has been performing so far. Look back over the last few quarters and talk to your team about what’s behind any trends and changes in the results over time.  Ask your team what it takes for a lead to turn into a deal, how long it takes from one stage to the next, and why.

Then, see if there’s any data that’s been left out of the picture you’re seeing. If the sales department or customer service team have metrics they’ve been tracking that aren’t included in the marketing data you reviewed, seek that information out as well. You want to be able to see the big picture, without missing out on any important puzzle pieces that are obscured by data silos.

Step 3: Do the Hard Math of Customer Centricity

Helping your company land new customers is a big part of the job, but the most sophisticated companies go one step further. Instead of making new customers your focus, make the right customers your goal.

Your marketing analytics should help you identify which of your current customers are the most valuable. That doesn’t just mean the ones who spend the most at the point-of-sale, you want to calculate how much they spend over the life of their relationship with the company versus how much it costs to bring them in.

Your marketing efforts should prioritize the types of customers that earn you the most for the least amount of budget spend. Figuring out which customers fall into that category isn’t easy, but it allows you to develop better goals that are more clearly tied to improving your company’s ROI.

Step 4: Tightly Align Sales and Marketing

Marketing and sales teams that are at odds are unfortunately more the norm than the exception. A recent survey found that 87% of the words sales and marketing professionals used to describe each other were negative.  If your sales and marketing teams aren’t collaborating, you have a problem. And a lot of that problem is likely due to bad communication – which is solvable.

Sales and marketing need to see each other as partners. That will involve a mental shift, but it also involves taking some practical steps. You need to make sure that the goals that sales and marketing are working toward are aligned. You need the lines of communication to stay open between both teams – they should have an easy time knowing what progress the other team is making and have shared access to any relevant data.  

Everyone benefits when the company makes more money. Sales and marketing are working toward the same ultimate end game, you just need to help them get on the same page for all the steps leading up to the end.

Step 5: Align Goals To Map to Business Objectives

The first few steps will help you fill in the story of how things have been working so far. That gives you your baseline. Once you have that figured out, it’s time to start working out your plan for moving forward.

Every good marketing plan should start with clearly defined goals. The input you received from your team, the sales team, and the other executives combined with the data you have on past performance should enable you to develop clear, specific goals that are tied to business goals and objectives.

Then make sure everyone in the marketing department understands to base their work around those goals. From how the department is run, to the crafting of marketing campaigns, to the specific tactics your team undertakes, everything your marketing team does should be in the interest of helping you achieve those goals.

Step 6: Clarify Responsibilities

Developing a solid plan of what needs to be done moving forward is super important, but having a plan and executing it are two different things. To actually achieve everything in your plan, you need to make it very clear to everyone in your department who’s in charge of what.

Everyone should have a clear idea of which parts of the plan they own and the timeline they should aim to complete things by.

This step will also help you recognize what needs you have now that your current staff can’t cover. Some of the responsibilities you delegate will therefore have to do with either finding new hires that can bridge the gaps in skills and knowledge you have now, or providing training to the appropriate staff members to the same end.

Keep Up the Good Work

While those first few weeks are the most important, every day after has to be focused on maintaining what’s working and looking for opportunities to improve. If you get the structure into place for real-time data analysis, you can tweak your marketing plan as you go for ever better results.

Getting the right structure and plan in place to start is the first important step in being a successful marketing leader. That’ll take you a long way, but obviously your job is still far from done. It’s your responsibility to do everything you can to optimize your marketing organization on an ongoing basis. A good structure to start and a solid team with the right real-time marketing data will make achieving that much easier.

What’s Next?

  • Understand your marketing technology stack. How does each piece help you meet your goals?  How many places do you need to go to see what’s working and what’s not?
  • Are your measurements accurate, timely and actionable?  Does everyone on the team have access to them at any time?
  • Get a handle on your spending.  Understand the gaps, overlap and priorities in your current budget.
  • Refine how are you measuring success. Marketing performance solutions such as Hive9 can help you go from your high-level goals down to specifically mapped plans and metrics across the organization.

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Topics: Hive9