When it comes to recruiting an exceptional Chief Marketing Officer (CMO), conventional recruiting methods aren’t likely to yield top tier marketing executives. C-suite-level executives are rarely looking for a job—instead, they allow the jobs to come to them. That’s why executive search is the best method for recruiting the most qualified CMOs and fractional CMOs.
The best executive search firms know what to look for in qualified CMO candidates and how to bridge the gap between them and your company. In the guide below, we’ll discuss what an exceptional CMO looks like and how executive search firms locate and recruit them.
Is your company in need of strong marketing leadership? CMOx not only knows what it takes to be an exceptional marketing executive, we’re also an executive search firm with connections across the industry and specialize in developing and recruiting part-time CMOs. Contact us today to learn how we can help you find the right fractional CMO.
CMO Executive Search
CMO executive search is a little different than an executive search for other c-suite roles. An effective CMO must have a number of nuanced soft skills and very industry-specific knowledge. This means your executive search firm must understand these qualifications, as well.
In these cases, it’s best to look for an executive search firm specializing in recruiting marketing executives. That way, you can be sure the firm understands your needs and can effectively identify the best candidates.
How Do You Recruit a CMO?
The best way to recruit a CMO is through executive search. Chief marketing officers established in their roles are unlikely to respond to a job posting, but may consider coming to your company for the right incentives. An executive search firm can both locate qualified CMO candidates and explain to them the advantages of becoming the marketing leader for your business.
This process is also typically more efficient than contingency recruiting, especially when it comes to executive roles.
CMO Recruitment Needs & Requirements
When recruiting a CMO, it’s essential to identify your business’s marketing objectives first. You can then use those goals to develop requirements to find the right marketing leader for your business.
Unlike other c-suite employees, the role of a CMO is highly variable and often overlaps with the responsibilities of other executives. For instance, a CMO and CEO may work together when developing marketing and business strategies because those two things need to align.
Though most of a CMO’s desired qualifications will be unique to your company, there are a few things every CMO should have, including:
- Current and comprehensive industry knowledge
- Experience with your company’s products or services
- Insight into your targeted market or customer base
- Leadership skills to guide your marketing team
This means your chosen CMO should have experience in your industry—or at least, be interested in learning quickly.
Attracting & Vetting Qualified Candidates
Reaching out to qualified candidates is a key part of a CMO executive search. During this process, it’s vital to learn as much as possible about each candidate while sharing how changing roles would benefit them.
Few CMOs are interested in making a lateral move—an executive search firm’s first conversation with each candidate should include why your company is a better fit. This may include a higher salary, more benefits, or a better company culture.
This conversation is also a way to vet potential candidates. The search firm’s consultants will confirm each candidate’s qualifications to ensure they’re a good fit for your company.
The Process of CMO Executive Search
Any CMO executive search should start by forming a partnership with a CMO executive search firm. These firms specialize in hiring CMOs and / or possibly part-time or interim CMOs, and understand the unique qualifications an effective CMO must have.
After you’ve chosen an executive search firm, they’ll follow a standardized process to identify and contact qualified candidates:
- Finalize qualifications so they know what skills and experience your CMO should have
- Create a targeted search to find the best marketing talent within a geographic area
- Contact each candidate to evaluate their qualifications and gauge their interest
- Narrow down the candidate pool to a shortlist
- Facilitate interviews, communicate with candidates, and support the onboarding process
How Much Does it Cost to Hire a CMO?
When you hire an executive search firm to help you hire a CMO, be prepared to pay the firm approximately 35% of a CMO’s annual salary—typically between $100,000 and $300,000.
Of course, executive search firms only get paid once, after they’ve helped you onboard your chosen candidate. That means they’re deeply invested in providing you with the most qualified options.
CMO Recruiters vs Headhunters vs Executive Search
Recruiters, headhunters, and executive search firms—what’s the difference? All of them can identify and recommend CMO candidates.
However, CMO executive recruiters and headhunters tend to focus on finding a large pool of candidates that may or may not be qualified leaders. Additionally, headhunters work for the candidates, not the companies, so it’s in the headhunters’ best interest to incentivize companies to hire their clients.
Executive search firms, on the other hand, partner with companies to identify candidates that closely match their needs. They focus on candidates’ skills and accomplishments, not whether they’re actively seeking a job. With executive search, quality comes before everything else.
Why Choose CMO Executive Search Over Traditional Hiring Methods
With traditional hiring, you create a job posting, place it on job boards, and wait for candidates to apply to the position. This method is effective for lower-level positions, but is much less successful when looking for c-suite marketing candidates.
Non-executive employees frequently look for new jobs as a way to increase their pay or advance their career. CMOS are rarely looking for a new position—instead, they’re focused on developing their employees and ensuring their marketing strategy remains current. Executive search empowers you to recruit these candidates via networking and negotiation, ensuring whoever you choose closely matches your needs.
Summary of CMO Recruitment
Hiring an exceptional CMO with executive search begins by selecting a knowledgeable executive search firm with a proven track record in recruiting leadership. The firm will then shoulder the responsibility of identifying potential candidates, narrowing down the candidate pool to a shortlist, facilitating interviews, and supporting the onboarding process.
If you want an executive search firm that understands what it takes to be an effective fractional CMO, CMOx is the company for you. We develop fractional CMOs every day, and we have an innate talent for identifying exceptional marketing leaders. Contact us today to learn how we can help you recruit your next part-time chief marketing officer.