What are Outsourced Sales and Marketing Services?
Chief Marketing Officers (CMO), Chief Revenue Officers (CRO) and Chief Sales Officers (CSO) are executives who oversee crucial resources that every competitive firm needs in order to reach the next level in its revenue growth and development.
Multi-faceted, well-experienced and highly competent sales and marketing head is responsible for among other things:
Shorter Tenures, Higher Turnover for Executives
Several trends specific to CMOs, CROs and CSOs and securing tech sales and marketing executives add pressure to organizations and make the possibility of outsourcing sales and marketing more attractive.
These trends include:
- Shorter Tenures – Average tenure for a Chief Sales Officer is now less than 24 months (almost as short as a CMO).
- Historically High Turnover – Shorter tenures and higher turnover rates go hand-in-hand. More executive sales jobs are opening up with fewer of the right people to fill them, for example.
- Longer Searches – Expect 4-5 months to complete an executive sales or marketing search with another several weeks for on boarding and ramp up.
- Lack of Internal Successors – In most cases, companies have fired the previous CSO and they don’t have an internal successor to fill the gap.
The voluntary or involuntary loss of a head of sales or marketing can be one of the most disruptive events for any company, particularly a startup. Revenue plans for the quarter and the entire year immediately become more uncertain, even if your head of sales was shown the door.
Accessing Sales and Marketing Services
There are several models used to access CMOs, CROs and CSOs as alternatives to hiring a full-time sales and marketing help. These include:
- Advisory Services – A traditional engagement where a company enters into a consulting agreement for high-level strategy work.
- Interim CMO, CRO, CSO – Where a company hires an acting executive while they look for a replacement
- Part-Time or Fractional CMO, CRO, CSO – An executive contracts with the company and assists for a set number of hours per month or days per week. Might also serve as a coach, trainer or mentor.
- Outsource – Support the full strategic and functional outsourcing of a department. Typically 50-75% less than full-time employees.
Fit: The Right CMO, CRO, CSO
What should you look for in a CMO, CRO or CSO?
Fit – While developing a rapport with the CEO and management team is a must, a good cultural fit with the rest of the team is important too. The sales and marketing executive should have a “been there, done that” attitude, but also be creative and flexible enough to adapt to the team and its culture.
Experience – A CMO, CRO or CSO with years of experience working with similar companies can enhance the management team, provide credibility with your board and investors and generally raise the level of professionalism at the company. Experience with your specific industry is a plus.
Leadership – The exec should be a natural leader and have the gravitas to slip into a leadership role, even on a part-time basis.
Can-Do – Small companies often don’t have the resources to provide a lot of support. So the exec must have a can-do attitude and be willing to do what’s necessary to support the company.
Benefits of Outsourced Sales & Marketing
Experience working with a large number of companies at various stages from startup to mature and business situations – startup, scaleup, transform and turnaround – gives us the ability to get up to speed very quickly. The time to become effective for an interim or fractional leader is dramatically shorter which means that less of your money is going towards ramp up and that results can be achieved much faster.
Objectivity and Ego
Our interim or fractional leaders come into an engagement with one goal in mind – success. The consulting world is unforgiving and any engagement that is anything less than success will have a negative impact on future business. Our interim or fractional leaders are not looking for titles, promotions, or stature within your company. We are objective and unencumbered by the typical dynamics that surround traditional leadership teams. The result is our ability to do what needs to be done and to say what needs to be said. All too often, the problems holding back a team are rooted in personalities and behaviors of the people involved – there is great benefit in having a leader in the mix who can identify and address the real problem – even if that problem is you.
With interim or fractional support, TechCXO enters engagements knowing that our role includes helping in the search for our replacement. We come in with the understanding that our job is to stabilize revenue, identify revenue supply chain issues, recommend necessary strategic and tactical repairs, to help implement changes, and help restart momentum while the client is looking for a permanent placement.
Think about how much of your time is actually spent on things that only you can do? Similarly, think about how that applies to your leadership team – how much of their time is actually spent on tasks or strategic activities that only they are capable of doing? Paradoxically, this is the key to the success of an interim or fractional model. As a interim leader, there is simply no time for little stuff. Prioritizing only the very most important items to align precisely with the most important strategic initiatives for the company forces relentless leverage and delegation typically under-utilized talents of the team under your direction assures the highest and best value of our client’s time and capital. Coincidentally, focus and delegation are the same principles behind the concept of the “4-hour work week” and how great leaders can still be very successful in far less time than what is traditionally expected.
When Does an Interim or Fractional Leader Make Sense?
As effective as an interim or fractional leader can be, it is not always the right solution and to be honest, is not typically the right long-term solution. The scenarios where this approach is especially effective include:
- Too early for full-time – your company is starting to get traction and you need the expertise of a C-level leader but you don’t have the money or the need for a full-time person.
- Coaching / Mentoring – your current full-time leader is not delivering. They need the help of an experienced leader to come alongside and help get them to where they need to be.
- Unexpected departure – someone just left (or was terminated) and you need someone on the ground tomorrow to keep the team together and moving forward.
- Assessment – You are not sure what you need. The gut feel is that the leader in place is not working but you need someone with the relevant experience and skills to come in and give you an objective assessment.
- Critical inflection point – whether the company is experiencing significant growth or looking to raise money (or any number of other critical transition points), you know that it is going to take some different skills to help get you to that “next level”.
The value proposition of an interim or fractional leader in scenarios such as these is unparalleled. The take-away here is that you don’t have to solve these challenges on your own and there is another option besides finding and hiring the perfect full-time leader.
Know that there is a network of very experienced interim or fractional “operating partners” who can come alongside for a period of time to help expertly solve the challenges in any aspect of your business. Help you get things going in the right direction and get the right team and processes in place to sustain that. And then help you find the right full-time leader to carry it forward.