Executive-level fractional employment is on the rise, especially in finance, marketing, and sales. A fractional CMO might be the ideal answer for businesses that face a particular growth issue, require temporary senior leadership, or wish to build their marketing unit from the ground up.
Over the past several years, there has been a rise in demand for fractional CMOs. Businesses discover they need to invest in aggressive expansion but lack internal strategic marketing leadership to drive it forward.
Fractional CMOs are the perfect solution for CEOs and companies requiring an experienced executive partner to develop an operational plan for growth without hiring someone full-time.
For Fractional CMOs, ensuring a successful outcome starts from the very first day of engagement. Here are three strategies for a strong start.
Establish Trust Early
First and foremost, when beginning a fractional engagement, developing relationships with the CEO, the marketing team, and the leadership team requires early trust-building. The co-workers of fractional CMOs must view them as an integral part of their company.
Make a Quick Yet Detailed Business Assessment
In contrast to starting a new job as a full-time CMO, fractional CMO does not have the luxury of time to familiarize themselves with the company. The CEO has high expectations, and the fractional CMOs operate under limited engagement with little time. Nevertheless, success depends on carrying out a thorough business assessment within the first month of engagement.
Achieving a deeper level of understanding of the marketplace and the company will enable the CMO to build a differentiated strategy that can be executed easily.
Here are a few ways to achieve a quick assessment.
Fractional CMOs must first provide the CEO with a list of all the data they require to do their assessment before the kick-off, including documents, financials, strategy work, marketing and sales strategies, access to tools and systems, etc. They must understand how the company operates, the challenges and potential barriers to growth, and the products/services.
They need to perform a voice of the consumer analysis. Spend time with customers to gain insight into potential areas of distinction or growth.
Following the evaluation, they must finally compile their findings into a gap analysis. Determine whether the original scope of work has to be adjusted after evaluating the business problems they set out to help with. It’s not uncommon to discover more opportunities for growth or improvement.
Identify Quick Wins
Despite the fact that knowing the ins and outs of a business in a month is no simple task, the CEO expects the fractional CMO to move quickly and demonstrate results. Developing insights can take 4-6 weeks, but doing so without showing any quick improvements can make the CEO become frustrated.
The CMO can gain the CEO’s trust and build credibility in their analytical approach to developing strategy and insights by discovering and executing quick wins that can be implemented quickly.
Outlining the business benefits—whether increased efficiency is brought about by a process improvement, cost savings, or an increase in revenue—is the key to implementing change swiftly. This enables the fractional CMO to gain support from the CEO or other important stakeholders who must approve or help implement the change.
Why the First Month as a Fractional CMO is Crucial
The first month sets the tone for the remainder of the fractional engagement. If trust isn’t built up right away, the CMO may find it difficult to enlist the help of their peers or the marketing team, which will make their job much harder. The CEO can question the value they are adding if they do their business evaluation in a silo, without regular communication, or if they fail to demonstrate progress. They must build credibility and confidence by quickly understanding the business operations, opportunities, and challenges and implementing quick wins. They need the CEO to believe that hiring them was the right decision.
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