A Guide to Finding a CMO for Hire

Casey Slaughter Stanton

Casey Slaughter Stanton

CEO and Founder, CMOx

Everywhere you look there’s a company that is bringing in part-time CMO services to help them reach their growth objectives without hiring a full-time marketing executive. Many business owners savvy enough to know they need marketing strategy and leadership are finding tremendous value when they hire a fractional CMO or part-time chief marketing officer from CMO Exponential. Finding a CMO for hire means giving your business the edge you need in your marketing strategies and efforts.

How do you know if your business is ready for an outsourced CMO? There are many signs your business needs a fractional CMO, and we recommend taking the time to determine your business’ needs. Below, we break down the most common signs. If you’re interested in hiring a fractional CMO and want to learn more, contact us today.

When Find a Part-Time CMO for Hire

If you’re ready to take the first step toward expanding your business, then hiring a CMO is a logical first step. For many businesses it does not make sense to hire a full-time CMO as they are not large enough to warrant 40 hours of CMO work per week. This budget can be better allocated by having a fractional CMO for 10 hours per week, and using the rest of the budget to spend on more junior marketers to execute your company’s marketing function. In addition, if your business is actively hiring a new full-time CMO, outsourced CMO services can maintain normalcy in the meanwhile.

7 Reasons to Hire a Fractional CMO

1. Strategy is king

Every successful sports team has one thing in common: Strategy. They have a playbook that says “When that happens, do this.” They have a coach that is able to step outside of the game, see what’s actually happening on the field of play and devise marketing initiatives to meet key objectives.

Your business is no different. Without a strategic marketing plan, your company is probably doing too many things. You’re running in five directions at the same time, forcing you to not move at all. Hiring a CMO helps provide guidance and focus to both your traditional and digital marketing efforts.

2. Businesses need execution, not just ideas

Business strategy alone isn’t going to get you anywhere. You need people to do the work and hiring a full-time CMO inhibits your team’s ability to get work done.

It doesn’t matter if your business relies on content marketing, search engine optimization, social media marketing, paid ads or word-of-mouth; you need more execution happening more often. By hiring a
part-time CMO, you’re able to invest in the right tacticians at the right time for any marketing channels your business utilizes.

3. A process gets predictable results

Most CMOs and Marketing Strategists do the best they can with what they have. And what do they typically have? A few years of experience, a handful of tradeshows or marketing programs they’ve attended and a pile of books they’ve read.

What they lack is a well-formulated process.

While a Project Manager can get a certification and trained in a system, there is no such offering for CMOs. That’s why Casey Stanton, our founder and former adjunct Professor at Tulane University, built the Functional Marketing® Framework. With this process, the part-time CMO’s at CMO Exponential are able to get impressive results in a short amount of time.

4. The wider the experience, the better the strategy

If you go poach your competition’s CMO, you’ll get some useful insights into their business. But you won’t get any NEW and INNOVATIVE ideas. Instead, you leave it up to chance for your CMO to bring in new ideas.

CMO Exponential has solved this problem by creating a Think Tank inside the company for all of the part-time CMOs to talk about business problems. Through this group think process, the CMOx’ers are able to find innovative ideas that work in one industry and bring them over to yours.

5. Teams want to know what to do

Maybe you’ve heard your team say “I just want to know what to do!” For so many, work gives meaning and without a clear understanding of what it takes to do a satisfactory job, team members feel lost and low confidence.

By having a part-time CMO step into your organization, you’ll be giving these well-meaning employees and contractors the strong marketing leadership they’ve been yearning for. That means more work getting done by your team, while making everyone feel valued.

6. Short-term commitment, long-term results

When you hire a CMO at CMO Exponential, you are signing up for 90-days of CMO service. While the average contract length lasts 9 months, you’re only committing to a 90-day sprint. That means you’re able to mitigate the financial risk to your company and get the insights of a qualified CMO.

7. No benefits, no problems

Glassdoor.com states that the average CMO is paid between $190,000 and $250,000 a year, plus benefits (and equity!).

Most companies can’t afford this level of insight and those who can often don’t need to tie their capital up in a single C-level hire.

By hiring a CMO from CMO Exponential, you’ll be able to have the best brainpower and leverage of a CMO, without the full-time cost.

To schedule your call with our team, 
click here.

What does a Fractional CMO cost? What is a Fractional CMO’s hourly rate?

As reported by Glassdoor.com, the average salary for a chief marketing officer is $173,000 per year. For chief marketing officers that are in highly competitive spaces, including SaaS, tech, medical, digital goods, e-commerce, and sub-manufacturing, it is not uncommon to find full-time CMOs who charge $250,000 per year or more, plus benefits and potentially equity in start-ups.

These high fees burden organizations and they become top-heavy when hiring a CMO if they can’t afford to get the labor done that the CMO requests. Therefore, by hiring a fractional CMO at a discounted rate for less capacity, the organization is able to deploy the marketing campaigns the CMO identifies with the right talent. While many call themselves fractional chief marketing officers, they’re likely not driven by a proven process to ensure that they can produce predictable results.
Fractional CMOs could cost on an hourly basis $200 to $300 an hour, although it is not advisable to hire a fractional CMO hourly. The reason for this is that a fractional CMO needs to understand the business holistically – its assets, its people, and its direction – before they can create the right marketing campaigns and strategy. Therefore, it is recommended to work with a fractional CMO ten hours per week, or approximately forty hours per month.

How do I find a Part-Time CMO?

When hiring a fractional CMO, there are three qualifications that you must identify: the first is that they are experienced; the second is that they follow a process; the third is to review their intake form.

First is their experience – how long have they been acting as a fractional CMO? Remember that strategy is the most important aspect of fractional CMO services. Second to strategy is their ability to hire and lead and manage from a high level the rest of the direct report team in the marketing department. Experience here will pay dividends on your investment as you find someone who has confidence in leading the team to deliver on the outcomes that the CEO and board have defined for the organization.

The second aspect is their process. A predictable process will always produce predictable results. Therefore, a CMO that you hire must have a process they follow, and they must be clear about what the process is and how it works. An effective CMO follows a process so that they don’t have to guess at the next step but instead know what they’re doing.

The third is their intake form. Ask anyone that you’re considering hiring to share their intake form. This is the questionnaire that they send out when they start doing business with an organization. Look for depth; look for breadth. What you want to make sure of is that they’re asking the right questions. Rarely does an organization ask to review this important document before they do work. What we found is that most fractional CMOs are experienced without process, and their intake form is a series of questions that come up at the last minute before a call. Ensure anyone you hire has a rigorous detailed long form to make sure they’re asking the right questions to give them the insights they need to make the right decisions.

How do I know if a Fractional CMO is right for my business?

If you’re at a critical point in your business development where you need to grow and you’re not flush with cash, or you want to reduce your risk as you grow, hiring a fractional chief marketing officer will provide to you the insights and security that an executive can bring while reducing your financial burden. If you know that marketing services would help drive more revenue in the business, consider hiring a fractional chief marketing officer to ideate campaigns, build your team, and lead them to success.

These three guidelines will let you know if a fractional CMO is right for your business.

1. You recognize that you need to delegate

We feel that a company does best when each person in the organization is engaged in the tasks that they are best at. As the CEO, you have a specific skill set and value that you bring to your business. It is likely that you do not have up-to-date knowledge about marketing tasks. It is also likely that you don’t have the time to learn or to engage with these tasks on a regular basis.

2. You know that your enterprise is not ready for a full-time CMO

We feel that a company does best when each person in the organization is engaged in the tasks that they are best at. As the CEO, you have a specific skill set and value that you bring to your business. It is likely that you do not have up-to-date knowledge about marketing tasks. It is also likely that you don’t have the time to learn or to engage with these tasks on a regular basis.

3. You are committed to a lean organization

Why spend a quarter to a third of your revenue on something that provides only diminishing returns? With a Fractional CMO, you have a marketing leader who is there specifically for those essential 10 hours each week. They are subject matter experts who can help your business reach new heights.

Signs You Need an Outsourced CMO

1. Your business lacks someone leading your marketing team

Marketing is an essential part of growing your business. Whether or not you have an existing marketing team, a fractional CMO works to provide structure, strategy, and leadership to your in-house marketing team. In addition, they also take on the process of hiring and onboarding new hires for the marketing department.
 

2. Your business needs high-level guidance

You may already have a marketing team, but their motivations, goals, and tactics may be different from each other. An outsourced CMO works as a marketing professional bringing leadership to a fractured team. These business leaders can create a standard for the strategy, tactics, and mission for your marketing objectives.
 

3. Your business has budget constraints

Hiring a fractional CMO in place of a full-time CMO is much less expensive. When you hire a fractional CMO, you are essentially paying for results. When your budget gets tight, the last thing you should do is cut your budget for it, but instead, you should be efficient with how it’s spent.
 

4. Your business lacks data-driven marketing insights

As part of a company’s marketing leadership, a fractional CMO holds the team accountable using key performance indicators (KPIs). Metrics like sales are KPIs that measure the effectiveness of the team and its advertising strategy.
 

5. Your business needs an Interim CMO

While you may hire a part-time CMO for the long-term, maybe your business needs to fill the position on a temporary basis. That’s when you need an interim CMO.

Interim CMO services are versatile and work in a variety of situations depending on your business’s needs. If your business is in between full-time CMO’s, an interim CMO steps in to maintain normalcy and guide your marketing department. As a business owner, you want everything to run smoothly, and an interim CMO streamlines the process for your marketing department to succeed.

In addition, an interim CMO can be brought on to oversee specific projects or campaigns rather than an entire department. Interim CMOs perform well in transition phases, especially if your business is experiencing rapid growth or a merger.

If your business is in a transition period or in-between CMOs, an interim CMO makes sure your marketing department operates at full capacity. That said, a fractional CMO is a great option for businesses that need a long-term solution for their marketing teams but not in a full-time position.
 

6. Your business isn’t ready for a full-time CMO

Typically, businesses under a certain size do not need a full-time chief marketing officer. This is because the size of the marketing department is not large enough to have a 40 hour per week leader. These businesses, often under $50,000,000 per year, will be better off bringing in a fractional CMO for 5-20 hours per week. This means that the CMO can focus on your company’s marketing strategy and leading the team, instead of doing lower value tasks. The extra room in the budget can then be spent on additional talent to help execute the fractional CMO’s strategy.
 

7. Your business needs fresh eyes

Marketing is an ever-changing field, so you should always try to stay ahead of the curve. Even if your plans and marketing activities work in the short term, it doesn’t mean they will indefinitely. A Fractional CMO brings an outside perspective to your business and allows them to build upon current marketing tactics and highlight new opportunities.

Fractional CMOs work with bigger picture items, so their time (and your money) is wasted on menial tasks. While the individual assets are important, a part-time CMO should derive insight from the data at large.

Intrigued? We’d love to talk more. Please accept our invitation for a 15-minute Discovery Call with Jon, our Director of Enrollment. We’ll waive the cost.

If you would like to learn more about a fractional CMO. Please take a look at our article: What is a Fractional CMO? to find out more. 

Casey Slaughter Stanton

Casey Slaughter Stanton

Casey S. Stanton is a marketing strategy expert and founder of CMOx, the Fractional CMO company. For over 10 years Casey has been leading marketing strategy for 7 and 8 figure businesses in both digital and brick-and-mortar markets.

Casey Slaughter Stanton

Casey Slaughter Stanton

Casey S. Stanton is a marketing strategy expert and founder of CMOx, the Fractional CMO company. For over 10 years Casey has been leading marketing strategy for 7 and 8 figure businesses in both digital and brick-and-mortar markets.

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