Last Meal of the Condemned: Selling to CMOs
It is tough to be in marketing these days. CMOs have the life expectancy in their position of less than 19 months….and that’s dropping. Most of them have their LinkedIn™ profile permanently up on their laptop and are updating it hourly in the hopes a headhunter will spot it. It’s not just CMOs because with every regime change, the rest of their team goes into job-security roulette, waiting to see whether the ball lands on black or red- keep your job or lose it.
How do you sell to marketing organizations if there is this constant personnel rotation and job risk? Here are some recommendations:
1. Know the person’s history – Most people in marketing speak of their resume in campaign or brand successes rather than organizations or positions. They cite the program, product or new launch for which they can take credit and will do so early and often in your conversations. Do your homework, research the profiles of the marketing professionals you are meeting, reference their successes as they relate to the work you are proposing.
2. Talk the language of their discipline – Marketing is a big umbrella. Digital, direct, advertising, promotions, PR and so on, there are a lot of disciplines. Each discipline comes with its own language. Know what the measurement language is for success for each discipline and use it in your presentations, conversations and proposals. Marketers translate new approaches and technologies in their minds back into the languages of their past successes. Do the translation for them and you will be more successful.
3. Results have to be fast, measurable and safe – “You are only as good as your last marketing cycle” is the catch-phrase for marketers. You need to sell ideas that will generate quick and measurable results and for which you have already considered ways to increase their success potential. The biggest promise will not win the day with experienced marketer- the promise that has the greatest assured success will.
4. Show a testing path that will build confidence and budget – “There is always money for things that work.” It is practically a mantra when talking to marketing people about budget. They are right. However, you need speed to start if you want speed to money. Increase the speed to start by showing a testing path that is fast and accurate for any ideas that you are presenting. Remember, the clock is working against you, so start that path as fast as possible.
5. Keep their number – Make certain that you are tracking your marketers more closely than your fantasy football league, because the performance and the player movements are just as frequent. These people will update their LinkedIn™ profile on average 2 -4 weeks before they are departing their current role. If you get good and watching your connections, you will know your prospect list for months in advance as you follow your favorites from job to job.
Professional marketers are under ridiculous pressure to produce results. If you can be a clear provider of predictable results you will do business with them and their companies for all of their careers.