By Stephanie Carrillo, Senior Marketing Consultant at Heinz Marketing

Over the last four months, we’ve experienced an upheaval that has changed the economy.  Our customers’ buying journey has changed, we’ve experienced a decline in account engagement, and our entire organization is working from home. The CMO’s responsibility in a changing economy is to guide your business to the next level.  How is that supposed to happen amid these challenges?

Is there a need for a CMO Role?

Corporations seemed to be questioning if the CMO role needs to exist in their organization, considering the average tenure is 3.5 years, according to the analysis done by organizational consulting firm Korn Ferry. Latané Conant, CMO at 6sense sees “companies are layering their upper management so the CMO now reports to another C-level, like the chief revenue officer, taking the CMO out of the boardroom – and out of the highest-level business decision.”

Of course, at Heinz Marketing, we understand the value CMO’s bring to their role and the struggles they face with aligning sales and marketing.  Some marketing teams are treated internally like an administrative function for supporting the sales organization.  The battle of sales and marketing alignment is a hot topic repeatedly discussed during the CMO Coffee Talks hosted by Matt Heinz and 6Sense.  Overcoming those obstacles is challenging and might lead to organizations redefining what role the CMOs have in their organization.

The CMO role needs to take ownership

Taking ownership, according to Kate Bullis, Managing Partner at SEMA International is owning a seat at the table and fully understanding the market, then translating that understanding into alignment, and delivering a market-leading experience for customers.  She views the role more like a Chief Market Officer.

Latané Conant introduces this concept in her book No Forms No Spam No Cold Calls: The Next Generation of Account-Based Sales and Marketing. Conant expands on this and maintains the CMO role is to create a strategic plan for the company and enable the company culture to support the strategic plan.

Often, CMOs tend to get bogged down, managing their teams to ensure they are delivering enough lead volume to meet the revenue pipeline for the year. But that approach does not work long term.  According to a recent survey we did with 6sense called Driving Predictable Revenue, 38% of companies didn’t meet at least 90% of their revenue goals in 2019.  The time spent managing to a lead goal and not focusing on the broader strategy will hurt you, especially in an economy where the customer journey has completely changed.

CMO’s new responsibility

In this economy, account engagement is essential for growth. It is time to stop chasing leads and time to create your strategic plan designed around a customer-centered buying experience for pipeline revenue growth.  In this market, without the use of data, we guess the stage our accounts might fall in the customer journey.

Conant discusses in detail in her book, the steps to taking ownership in your role as CMO to drive change within your organization. It starts with the strategic plan.

Strategic Plan

Conant speaks in-depth about how to use the V2MOM framework Salesforce developed, which allows you to create a road map to identify, assign, measure, and track priorities for your organization and team.  She feels it is a great tool for “developing a well-articulated, focused, and prioritized plan.”

V2MOM stands for:

  • Vision
  • Values
  • Methods
  • Obstacles
  • Metrics

Consumer Insight

At Heinz Marketing, a large percentage of the work we do for our clients is helping them define their ideal customer profile. Conant states, “At, 6sense we are laser focused on in-market opportunities because it prevents us from wasting resources going after everyone” to do this, they define their IICP.  In her book, she describes the importance of identifying all four consumer insights.

Consumer insights you need to know:

  • TAM (Total Addressable Market): every potential customer for your solution
  • ICP (Ideal Customer Profile): who you want to spend most of your resources on
  • IICP (In-Market Ideal Customer Profile): total commercial opportunity in the right stage of the buying journey.
  • TAIM (Total Addressable In-Market): who you want to target, more precisely

Category Design

Creating a solid strategy is one part of the CMO’s responsibility; now it’s up to him/her to get everyone on the same page. Conant believes the starting point for category design is your brand. While the product categories have evolved and your company’s view of it might have changed, you need to stay consistent on what your company stands for. To align sales, writers, web, and product teams, to the CEO; Conant suggests creating a messaging map to anchor their messages around centralized, consistent themes to ensure alignment.

CMO’s Path Forward

One of many thought-provoking themes in Latané Conant’s book is the need to make bold moves, and as a CMO, the path forward must be strategic.  Your strategy is your most important tool especially during times like these when businesses are seeing a decline in account engagement and struggling to achieve their goals.  Pick up No Forms No Spam No Cold Calls and reclaim your seat at the table, drive the plan you established and unite your organization.

Latané Conant book is now available at Amazon.


Full Disclosure:  6sense is a client of Heinz Marketing.