Executive Search: 5 Traits to Consider When Hiring a CMO For Your StartUp

Executive Search: 5 Traits to Consider When Hiring a CMO For Your StartUp

If you are beginning to look at hiring a Chief Marketing Officer or marketing leader for your startup, you are likely looking at how to scale your business to the next level.

CMOs and marketing leaders can play a crucial role in your company’s journey toward long-term growth and success, calling on the necessity for a thorough and clearly defined executive search process.

It is extremely important that the candidates you are considering have the essential skills and experience to align with the needs and goals of your company. CMOs that consistently perform to their peak capacity can be difficult to find. During your executive search, not only is it tough to find candidates but it can be even more difficult to find creative marketing candidates that fit your company’s culture and can perform in your company’s environment.

Here are 5 traits to consider to ensure a successful CMO executive search:

1. Entrepreneurial

The CMO’s core responsibility is to market a brand or business in a way that drives revenue, profitability and business results. A CMO needs to act as a combination of a business owner and an entrepreneur. They should always be able to answer these types of questions when considering where to invest their marketing budget: How will this translate into revenue? What will be the return on investment? How will this affect profitability?

Being conscious of how marketing decisions and activities will impact the company’s profitability is essential to continually drive a high ROI and marketing effectiveness. As most startups typically need to be especially cost-conscious at times, the ability for a CMO to act like an entrepreneur will support your marketing efforts to be more effective, measureable, and drive true revenue for your company.

2. Analytical

The days of being a marketing professional without understanding the importance of numerical data are long gone. The boom of digital and social marketing stimulated the movement of focusing on utilizing analytics and data-driven decision making. The trial and error phase of pushing out advertising and hoping it will work no longer exists. Predictive analytics and applying data to determine which marketing activities are working effectively will make your marketing efforts and allocated money stretch much further.

CMOs that have an eye for analytics and can accurately predict the performance of a campaign before launching it will be able to stretch their marketing budgets much further and ultimately, be more successful.

As an example, if your company uses webinars as a lead generation tool, the CMO should be able to tell you how much revenue a single webinar registration is worth to your company. This will also allow them to budget advertising and promotional funds to remain profitable while working to capture qualified leads and predict how much revenue will be driven for your company from that specific webinar.

3. Ability to Manage a Team

Although in many startups you may not have a large marketing team, finding a CMO that is able to hire, train and manage a team is crucial to success. If you are hiring a CMO it is likely that you are looking to grow and take your business to the next level. With that being said, as you expand there will be a need for more marketing support to be added to the team. Finding a CMO that is motivational and educational will go a long way in the grooming and creation of the unparalleled marketing team that you’re looking for.

4. Technical Skills

Finding a CMO with strategic, tactical and technical skills is essential to keeping marketing expenses down. You’re likely taking on an expensive salary when hiring a CMO - being able to keep some of the more technical activities in-house will keep overall marketing costs low (web, design, SEO, social, branding,etc.)

Finding a CMO that can not only strategize and plan but also execute on your marketing strategy will make them more powerful. It is unrealistic to think that they will not have to outsource any activities. However, the more that they are able to do in-house will increase your ROI and be helpful in training more junior marketing staff, as well.

5. Adaptable

Marketing trends, technologies and tactics are constantly changing. The same strategies and tactics that worked a couple years ago are likely to not be relevant year after year. Finding a CMO that can adapt and be a leader in trends and technologies will keep your marketing efforts ahead of your competitors.

CMOs that set aside time every week to do research, develop their knowledge base and educate themselves to stay ahead of the curve will prove to be more valuable than their peers. Technologies alone are making marketing more efficient and effective each day. Being able to take advantage of those that suit your company will reduce your costs and drive profitability.

Hiring a CMO can be tricky. Having professional interview experts involved during your interview process can get the most valuable insight out of your candidates and truly uncover their candid strengths and weaknesses. In addition, there are many psychometric assessment tools available in the marketplace to ensure the proper fit with your company and their ability to perform in your culture and environment.

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