B2B Growth: Your Daily B2B Marketing Podcast
B2B Growth: Your Daily B2B Marketing Podcast

Episode 2112 · 1 month ago

Practical Tips for Future CMOs

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

In this episode, we talk to Christelle Flahaux, Vice President of Marketing at FortressIQ.

Yeah hey everyone welcome back to be to begrowth. My name is Olivia Hurley and today I'm joined by Crystal flojo,who's the VP of marketing at Fortress I. Q. Hi crystal, how you doing today? I'mgood Olivia. Thanks for having me on. Oh my gosh of course I'm so excited. Soto kind of recap some conversations we're having previously, I was askingyou one thing that you were noticing in the market and anything that you wouldsuggest doing a different way and you were saying that you you here and yousee a general resistance to demand gen marketers being CMos and you weresaying oftentimes cmos come up through the product marketing line and youdisagree with that and I want to just jump right in and hear why you thinkthat is why you think that see demand gen marketers aren't necessarily giventhe chance and also why you think that they're totally equipped To be in thatseat? Yeah, for sure. So I think if you think about the demand gen roll, right,it's relatively new. There was no demand gen 20 years ago. And I thinktoday now a lot of those people that are, became the demand gen expertsearly on are now getting to that stage in their career where they're vying forCMO jobs. And I think there's a resistance because of tradition andproduct marketers or brand marketers make better cmos. And to me, you know,you need a full stack CMO. Uh, and I think that that's starting to happen aswell where people are requesting full stack cmos because you can't just besingle threaded. Um, if you're a CMO, I think it's one of those jobs where youhave to juggle so many balls at the same time, right? So, you know, oneminute you're talking about revenue and demand gen and the next minute you'retalking about brand and then the next...

...minute you're talking about customermarketing and advocacy and also their stuff. So you have to pivot fairlyquickly. But I think the problem with being just focused on a productmarketer, like if you're a ceo looking for a CMO, you know, you're trying tosolve the problem that you have today and you're not necessarily hiring forsomeone who can solve all the problems there are going to happen down the line.So I think when folks are looking for a CMO, look for a full stack CMO and lookfor someone who's a little bit stronger and demand gen, just because I thinkyou need those skills to be able to be a successful CMO. So what are theskills and experiences that product marketers have that demand genmarketers might not. So I think the technical savvy of the product, right.Um, if I look at the individuals that are closest to product management,understanding the product right there, the translators of sometimes verytechnical things into marketing messages. And I think that's one skillthat demand jin if you've just been demanding and you haven't been exposedto all the other departments, that's something that's hard to do, especiallyif you're in a field. Uh, you know that you're trying to market that is verytechnical, right? I got my stripes. I think if you want to call that when Iwas at map are, which is a Hadoop technology and I had no idea what itwas. And if I didn't have a very strong product marketing team and a verystrong partner to be able to translate all that stuff so that I can go, youknow, create ads and you know, do do fund campaigns. I don't think I wouldhave been successful. So I do think they are the translators for thattechnical part of the company into the...

...marketing organization. So why is itvaluable to have a demand gen practitioner in the C suite? So I guessa broader question might be actually a more specific question might be likewhat are the problems that a CMO is going to encounter? That a demand andpractitioner can best resolve? Yeah, great question for me, the demandpractitioner is usually very logical. They're the they're the science part ofthe brain, right? Like I am, you look at my career, I am way more sciencethan I am art. I appreciate art. I can dabble in art but you know that's notthat's not my background. So I think the science of it in the logicalconversations that you have to have when you're in the C suite the numbersand tying those two revenue and being able to understand those metrics andmake decisions off of those metrics. I mean if you look at product marketingthere are really no metrics for product marketers other than content creation.And you know you can extrapolate some sort of information from the contentthat they produce. But traditionally they're not, they have not been metricsdriven marketers where demand gen like we live and breathe with metrics andhow much pipelines created and uh you know conversion rates and and all thatother stuff. So I think that as you get into a CMO role or an executive rolethat starts to become really important because at the end of the day, you knowthe decision is what are the things we want to go invest in for the most R. O.I. And demand gen marketers and that's that's a daily conversation. So I thinkjust in that regard um they have the skills to be able to to be in the Csuite. Um I also think demand jin...

...crosses multiple functions, right? Ifyou think of all the things that go into a campaign that go into websitedevelopment that you could go into any sort of initiative run by demand genyou're pulling in people from a bunch of different parts of the organization,right? Like product marketing for the message calms if there's a pressrelease attached to it content uh you know, wherever that sits of its ownrole if it rolls up to product marketing so you have this person thatcan collaborate. You know, if there are good demanding market right,collaborate across different aspects of the organization to be able to go getstuff done. Uh And I think that's another key skill is this, uh, theability to collaborate not only within the marketing organization, butobviously across other organizations. So I'm curious what you might recommenda demand and marketer do or be involved in. If they are hoping to end up inthat CMO seat, get as much experience as you can, right? If you want to be arecord, be recognized as a full stack marketer, you know, sit in all thosemeetings, volunteer for projects. Um, one of the things that I did early onin my career, uh, when I was a field marketer is I sat in a lot of salesmeetings. Uh, and I got asked, you know, to be part of sales leadership and Iwas kind of the marketing representative. But what it allowed meto do is understand how sales works, understand things about pipeline,understand deal Dynamics, understand more about customers and what theywanted and just being an active listener in those situations. I wasthen able to then take that back into the programs that I was running andexecute them. I think better than anybody else because I understood whatwas happening at the field level and I...

...wasn't necessarily contributing a tonlike right to some of the forecast calls and but I listened. Um, and ifyou can make the time to listen to those types of meetings, I think it'sreally important. Um, same thing with analyst relations, right. I I spentmost of my career thinking analyst relations was just this magic thathappened and it didn't relate to anything that I was doing. And you know,when I got to to host analytics as the CMO and an analysts were very, veryimportant to to our go to market motion and seeing how that translated into aircover for demand gen and things that we could go do with analysts. That allowedus to have better impact for our programs. I mean it was eye opening tome and I wouldn't have known any of that until like I actually had to go doit. Um but you know, just my advice is listen as much as you can and asked tosit in on meetings and so you can kind of understand how all the pieces aresupposed to fit together. So sales and analysts be involved sitting on theirmeetings listen to them. Is that going to translate not only into knowledgeand understanding and anticipating problems to come, but is it also goingto translate into how you speak to other members of the C suite er, or thecommunications across the executive board? Yeah, for sure. I think itallows you to see how effective communication happens, right? And youknow where you lean into certain things and where you, you know, just become anactive listener in the background. So I think that's one of the skills as anexecutive that is not taught anywhere, right? Like can't take glass on thatand just kind of understanding the dynamics, right? Because every singleperson in that C suite has a different driver, right? The head of sales, theirbiggest drivers revenue, right? And...

...making their number right? So if youcan tie anything that you're asking for, if you can tie the conversation to whatthey're going to get out of it, then you're going to be successful and thentranslate that to finance right? Like marketers spend a lot of money. So ifyou can understand what is important to the CFO, right? Things like the CAC andEbitda and those terms and what does mean it's relatively easy for you to gowalk into a meeting and say, I think I can go help reduce cost here or I thinkI can ensure that we hit our pipeline number by doing this. Those are theconversations that are going to have, they're not gonna care about number ofMQ LZ or they're not gonna care about, you know, I have to have a new websitebecause I hate the design, right? Like you are never going to get more moneyfrom a CFO, if that's your leading argument, right? The argument has to bearound increasing conversion rates and you know, I could spend less oncampaigns if I had a website that worked better. Uh and here are thoseconversion rates. So I think those are the things that you need to learn to beable to get what you want as a marketer, right? And what's good for the business.I had a head of sales early early on in my career um at a Reba who told me, andhe, one of the first things he said to me, he was like, you scratch my back,I'll scratch yours. And it was literally that right? Like you look outfor me and I will look out for you. Like you understand my business and Iwill help you get, you know what you need. And that that is true today,right? Like if you can, you know, there's a gift of the get and and youhave to know that as an executive, a as a marketer, you're probablybrainstorming outside the box ideas to engage your prospects and customersworking remotely. And you've probably thought about sending them direct mailto break through the zoom fatigue. But how do you ship personalized gifts toremote decision makers When you have no...

...idea where they're sitting at BBBgrowth. We use the craft and platform to send hyper personalized gifts toanyone. Working from anywhere. Crafting makes it easy for your prospects andcustomers to pick and personalize their own gift in real time and offers highlysecured data capture. So decision makers feel comfortable submittingtheir home addresses for shipping purposes to get your own personalizedcraft and gift, go to craft um dot io slash growth to schedule a demo andreceive a complimentary personalized gift from craft um to claim yourpersonalized gift, go to craft um dot io slash growth. So I'm curious whatyou think. If someone didn't take any of your advice about sitting in onmeetings with sales and analysts and various other departments and justlearning as much as they could. Do you think a demand jin practitioner or aproduct marketing practitioner would be better equipped based on their typicalday to day to have those C suite conversations? I think I think theyboth could. I mean I'm partial to to demand jin just because I do thinkyou're exposed to a lot more than you are in product marketing. You knowthere's there's different aspects and different departments, even just withindemand generation that a product marketer doesn't necessarily have. Ialso think the metrics piece right? Like I said before, there's not a lotof metrics in product marketing and it's fun and I think that's fine. Right?I think I think that's okay. Uh not everything has to be a metric but asyou grow, you know in your career and you get to the C suite metrics dobecome relatively important. So I mean I think they both can do it. I thinkthe full stack marketer is probably the best person suited. Those are rare. Butif you look at CMO tenure, right, it's the shortest tenured executive in the Csuite. And I do think it's because...

...people hire for the problem we havetoday, not for the long term. Well, you hit on exactly why I asked thatquestion which was, which was mentioning the product marketingdoesn't necessarily work with metrics in the same way. And so I love that youcleared that up for me. And then I'm curious if we could take this all theway back to the studs here and think through if somebody wants to, somebodywho's early in their demand and career wants to end up in that C suite. What'sthe first thing that they have to do? Really, really, practically what arethe relationships they need to be making? And you mentioned sitting in onmeetings, but more than that, you know what is step one? What's step two, nailyour job that you have today, right? Get to the point where you can do yourjob and your sleep, you know the metrics, right? Like you just, it'salmost robotic, right? Like it's just you know what to go, do you know whatto look for? Uh you know how to fix things? Um So just get really, reallygood at your job, understanding the text ac, right? All those things andhave a playbook. Have the playbook that you can in any job you could go referto and say this is my demand gen. Playbook. This is what I look at. Thisis what I do first and start to compile that because that will help you as youget another job right? You just kind of take out that playbook and say, okay,what do I need to change? But you know this is kind of the standard that'smade me successful. Once you do that, then start trying to understand all theother pieces and spend some time in product marketing, you know, spend sometime with your finance business partner. I mean that for me allowed me tounderstand how finance operated, I had the most fantastic business, a financebusiness partner when I was a jive and he had no idea about marketing, youknow, he was like, I don't know, I just know you guys spend a lot of money, youknow, and I was trying to build a...

...waterfall because they didn't have oneyet, right? Like defining that newly and SQL SQL all that other stuff. Andit was the two of us working together and him understanding my business, meunderstanding the questions that he was asking, um, that we were able to buildthis very seamless waterfall that everybody understood all the way up tothe Ceo and that gave me exposure to the CFO, It gave me exposure to a lotmore people, A very small project right in the grand scheme of things. It waspretty big. But you know, just the two of us working together, um, to gofigure this out that, you know, was something that usually has a lot oftension built around it, right? Likewise, marketing spending all thismoney, there's no results. Sales doesn't have leads. You know, financegets involved, they start to do all this, you know, agnostic reporting. Ittends to become a very uncomfortable position for all parties. So do thingslike that, right? Like get to know your finance. People understand what they'relooking for and that will give you that exposure and then just, you know,within the organization, like sign up for projects. I don't think we're assiloed as we used to be when it comes to projects. I think, you know, teamsare strapped and and people are, you know, you need help on all sides. Youknow, one of the things I did early on in my career is website stuff I signedup to help do. QA. I signed up to, you know, learn how to do S. C. O. Um, whatwhat words mattered. Um and as you, you know, kind of go into the differentorganizations, you'll if you listen, you'll be able to see where you canstep in and and either help or or be an active listener. What were the positiveresults in your career that came from taking initiative like that? Andgetting involved in learning so much? Good question. So I think, you know, ata Reba I was one field marketing manager, um I was hired, it was one ofthree early on and I just asked to do...

...more and did more events. I talked to alot of people actually had somebody pretty recently asked me like, God, youknow, so many people. And my first reaction is always like one old umright? Like I've been around for a while and you know, like I have allthese connections and but the truth of it is like, I'm an active networker andI'd stay in touch with people and I've made friends outside of my littlebubble that I started early on in my career, right at Ariba. And so for me,I think it's leveraging those when you need to but also always being there,you know when somebody needs a piece of advice or just wants to check in. Butso back to Reba, you know, I took on after about six months, I took on thewhole field marketing organization, you know, I stepped up to the plate, I saidI wanted to do it and that was hard, right? Like I didn't know if I could doit. I had never done field marketing before and but I did it. And I thinkthat kind of opened a ton of doors for me, right? I got put on salesleadership, I got to build a global team when marketing automation came out.All right. Like there was no demand John 20 years ago. And I was able to becurious and you know, understand what marketing automation was and how itcould help and threw my name in the ring to say I want to take fieldmarketing and make it a bigger demand general. Uh, and so I did and got tolearn all about marketing automation. I got to build workflows in salesforcethings that I don't think a lot of marketers have been able to do in theircareers. And you know, that kind of elevated me to this demand gen metricsexpert in the company, you know, and then from there kind of took thatplaybook and took it to to leo and did...

...the same thing. They're built out apretty big field marketing organization and built it out globally as well. So Ithink it's not being afraid to step into a role that you may not have allthe skills for. Right. Um, and telling people that right. Like I had my ceo ofhost analytics, we were talking about where the Sdrs should live, whether itshould be in sales or whether it should be marketing. I have worked with SDRteams, I built one but really didn't manage it. I left before I could manageit, but I have never done it. And his logic was give the process orientedperson, which is me and metrics driven person, which is me, the people thatneed the most process and the most metrics in the organization and she'llfigure it out. So, you know, have that reputation to be the figure out er, onthe team because then you'll get, you'll get projects um and just be opento it. I think that's the big thing is, you know, I think there's a study thatwomen don't, you know, put their name in the ring if they don't feel likethey have, they don't check all the boxes from a career perspective and Ithink that's wrong. Uh right. Like everyone looks for a unicorn, but youknow, you can't, you can't find that unicorn um, so be vulnerable, Tell themwhat you don't know how to do and then hire the right people around you thatdo you know how to do it and that will be your key to success. I I think thisis probably my version of this is going to be a very reductionist summary ofpart of your story. But but I think the essence is still true. It was thosefirst opportunities of initiative and learning and gumption and confidencethat really set the trajectory obviously tons and tons of hard workand and like throwing your name in the...

...ring and things like that andcontinuing to be like, I'll try it, I'll try it. But that, that early inyour career mindset seems to have set the trajectory. That's so cool. And Ithink that's something that anybody in their career at any point can just kindof like shoulder on. That's awesome. Well, if there was one thing in thisepisode that you wanted people to do or resonate with, or, you know, take theheart or something like that, what would it be? You know, just listen,Right? And I think that's the hardest skill. You know, if I if I were to goback, uh, you know, 20 years and, and tell my 20 year old self, uh, the keyto success, it would be to just listen and listen with intent, try tounderstand what's going on around. You don't be so silo, don't be so in yourlane that you can't absorb what's going on around you. And I think that helps,right? Because I wasn't I didn't lead X project. I didn't, you know, I wasn'tintegral in a certain project when I was younger in my career, but I was awitness to it. And I saw what it looked like, right? And I saw the challengesthat happened. Um and how how people overcame them. And and that's what youinternalize. Um so that when that situation comes up later down the road,you're like, uh huh. I was part of something. Uh and this is how it went.Uh You know, this could be how we approach this particular situation. Solisten and listen with intent and remember those things. Because that'show that's how you're going to absorb and learn Crystal. How can peopleconnect with you and to learn more about you and more about Fortress, I qSure. Uh so on linkedin crystal, how if you're gonna send me a link to aninvite, make sure you tell me where you heard me talk but you can you can findme there on twitter. Marketing Stella...

...style is my nickname by the way. Andthen Fortress like you. So I've been there for about a year. Uh we arerevolutionizing the process, discovery space with computer vision and AI socheck us out on Fortress like you dot com. We also have a podcast that I'lljust plug. It's called Hello Human, that's where we talk about leaders andAI and talk about practical applications of AI. Uh and so that's apretty fun podcast we have going. So definitely give that a listen. Thankyou so much for joining me on BTV growth. Sure thanks for having meOlivia. This is fun. Mhm. Mhm. For the longest time I was askingpeople to leave a review of GDP growth in apple podcasts but I realized thatwas kind of stupid because leaving a review is way harder than just leavinga simple rating. So I'm changing my tune a bit instead of asking you toleave a review, I'm just going to ask you to go to be be growth in applepodcasts, scroll down until you see the ratings and reviews section and justtap the number of stars you want to give us no review necessary. Super easyand I promise it will help us out a ton if you want a copy of my book, contentbased networking, Just shoot me a text after you leave the rating and I'llsend on your way, text me at 40749033-8.

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