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

Episode 1679 · 2 months ago

Practical Tips for Future CMOs, with Christelle Flahaux

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

In this replay episode, we talk to Christelle Flahaux, SVP of Brand and Experiences at Automation Anywhere. Formerly, Vice President of Marketing at FortressIQ

Conversations from the front lines of marketing. This is be tob growth. We made it. Another week is in the books. Welcome to Friday's episode of B Tob Growth. I hope that you've had a great week working on whatever marketing projects you've been working on. And as we round out the week, here we are playing another replay episode. Now I realize a lot of the conversations that I have and the people that we spotlight on be tob growth. There CMOS right, chief marketing officers, their directors of marketing. We're having these high level conversations, or was we call them conversations from the front lines of marketing. Today I want to throw it to an episode where Christell is about to break down real practically, some tips for those that want to be CMOS one day. What can we be working on now, if we are not currently in the C suite, to set ourselves up for success down the road? This is a great conversation, something that I feel is definitely evergreen and worth revisiting, and so today's conversation, Chris Tell's going to give us some practical tips for future CMOS. Enjoy. Hey, everyone, welcome back to be to be growth. My name is Olivia Hurley, and today I'm joined by Christel Flahoe, who's the VP of marketing at fortress Iq. Hi, cristall, how you doing today? I'm good, Olivia. Thanks for having me on. Oh my gosh, of course, I'm so excited. So to kind of recap some conversations we are having. Previously I was asking you one thing that you were, you know, noticing in the market and anything that you would suggest doing a different way, and you were saying that you you hear and you see a general resistance to demand Gen marketers being CMOS, and you were saying oftentimes cmos come up through the product marketing line and you disagree with that. And I want to just jump right in and and here why you think that is, why you think that see it demand gen marketers aren't necessarily given the chance, and also why you think that they're totally equipped to be in that seat. Yeah, for sure. So I think if you think about the demand Jen roll right, it's relatively new. There was no demand Jen twenty years ago and I think today now a lot of those people that are, you know, became the demand Gen experts early on are now getting to that stage in their career where they're vying for CMO jobs, and I think there's a resist stints because of tradition and you know, product marketers or brand marketers make better to SMOS and to me. You know you need a full Stacksmo, and I think that that's starting to happen as well, where people are requesting full Stacksmos, because you can't just be single threaded if you're a CMO. I think it's one of those jobs where you have to juggle so many balls at the same time right. So you know, one minute you're talking about revenue and demand John and the next minute you're talking about brand and then the next minute you're talking about customer marketing and advocacy and also other stuff. So you have to pivot fairly quickly. But I think the problem with being just focused on a product marketer, like if you're a CEO looking for a CMO, you know you're trying to solve the problem that you have today and you're not necessarily hiring for someone 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 Stacksmo. And look for someone who's a little bit stronger and demand Jen, just because I think you need those skills to be able to be a successful CMO. So what are the skills and experiences that product marketers have that demand Jen marketers might not? So I think the technical savvy of the product to right. If I look at the individuals that are closest to product management, to understanding the product, right, there are the translators of sometimes very technical things into marketing messages, and I think that's one skill that demand Jen. If you've just been demandjine and you haven't been exposed to all the other departments, that's something that's hard to do, especially if you're in a field or you know that you're trying to market that is very technical, right. I got my stripes, I think, if you want to go of that, when I was at map are, which is a had technology, and I had no idea what it was, and if I didn't have a very strong product marketing team and a very strong partner to be able to translate all that stuff so that I can go, you know, create ads and, you know, do do fun campaigns, I don't think I would have been successful. So I do think they are the translators for that technical part of the company into the Marketing Organization. So why is it valuable to have a demand Gen practitioner in the C suite? So I guess a broader question might be or actually a more specific question might be, like what are the problems that a CMO is going to encounter that a demand Jen practitioner can best resolve? Yeah, great question, and for me the demand practitioner is usually very logical. They're the they're the science part of the brain, right, like I am. You look at my career, I'm way more science than I am art. I appreciate art, I can dabble in art, but you know that's not that's not my background. So I think the science of it in the logical conversations that you have to have when you're in the C suite, the numbers and tying those too, revenue and being able to understand those metrics and make decisions off of those metrics. I mean, if you look at product marketing, there are really no metrics for product marketers other than content creation. And you know you can extrapolate some sort of information from the content that they produce. But you know traditionally they're not. They have not been metrics driven marketers where Demandsen like we live and breathe with metrics and how much pipelines created and, you know, conversion rates and and all that other stuff. So I think that as you get into a CMO role or an executive role, that starts to become really important because at the end of the day, you know, the decision is, what are the things we want to go invest in for the most are and demand Gen marketers and that's that's a daily conversation. So I think just in that regard they have the skills to be able to be in the sea suite. I also think demand en crosses multiple functions. Right, if you think of all the things that go into a campaign, that go into website development, that you good, that go into any sort of initiative run by demand Jen, you'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 press release attached to it, content, you know wherever that sits of its own role or for rolls up to product marketing. So you...

...have this person that can collaborate or you know if they're a good demanda market right, collaborate across different aspects of the organization to be able to go get stuff done, and I think that's another key skill, is this the ability to collaborate not only within the marketing organization but obviously across other organization. So I'm curious what you might recommend a demand en marketer do or be involved in if they are hoping to end up in that CMO seat. Get as much experience as you can. Write. If you want to be, or reckoud be recognized as a full stock marketer, you know, sit in all those meetings, volunteer for projects. One of the things that I did early on in my career when I was a field marketer, is I sat in a lot of sales meetings and I got asked, you know, to be part of sales leadership and I was kind of the the marketing representative. But what it allowed me to do is understand how sales works, understand things about pipeline, understand deal dynamics, understand more about customers and what they wanted and just being an active listener in those situations. I was then able to then take that back into the programs that I was running and execute them, I think better than anybody else because I understood what was happening at the field level and I wasn't necessarily contributing a ton the like right to some of the the forecast calls and but I listened and if you can make the time to listen to those types of of meetings, I think it's really important. Same thing with analyst relations, right. I I spent most of my career thinking analyst relations was just this magic that happened and it didn't relate to anything that I was doing. And you know, when I got to host analytics as the CMO and an analysts were very, very important to our our go to market motion and seeing how that translated into air cover for demand Jen and things that we could go do with analysts that allowed us to have better impact for our programs. I mean that was eye opening to me and I wouldn't have known any of that until, like, I actually had to go do it. But you know, just my advice is listen as much as you can and ask to sit in on meetings and so you can kind of understand how all the pieces are supposed to fit together. So sales and analysts be involved, sitting on their meetings, listen to them. Is that going to translate not only into knowledge and understanding and anticipating problems to come, but is it also going to translate into how you speak to other members of the sea sweeter or the communications across the Executive Board? Yeah, for sure. I think it allows you to see how effective communication happens right and you know where you lean into certain things and and where you you know, just become an active listener in the background. So I think that's one of the skills as an executive that is not taught anywhere right, like can't take class on that. And just kind of understanding the dynamics right, because every single person on that sea sweet has a different driver, right the head of sales. Their biggest drivers revenue right and making their number right. So if you can tie anything that you're asking for, if you can tie the conversation to what they're going to get out of it, then you're going to be successful. And then translate that to finance right, like marketer spent a lot of money. So if you can understand what is important to the CFO right, things like the Kak and even a and those terms, and what those mean it's relatively easy for you...

...to go walk into a meeting and say, I think I can go help reduce cost here, or I think I can ensure that we had our pipeline number by doing this. Those are the conversations that they're going to have. They're not going to care about number of mqls or they're not going to care about you know, I have to have a new website because I hate the design. Right, like you are never going to get more money from a CFO if that's your leading argument. Right. The argument has to be around increasing conversion rates. And you know, I could spend less on campaigns if I had a website that worked better. And here are those conversion rates. So I think those are the things that you need to learn to be able to get what you want as a marketer right and what's good for the business. I had a had a sales early, early on in my career at a Reba who told me, and he one of the first things he said to me, he was like, you scratch my back, I'll scratch worse, and it was literally that right, like you look out for me and I will look out for you, like you understand my business and I will 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 to the get and and you have to know that. As an executive, as a marketer, you're probably brainstorming outside the box ideas to engage your prospects and customers working remotely, and you've probably thought about sending them direct mail to break through the zoom fatigue. But how do you ship personalized gifts to remote decision makers when you have no idea where they're sitting? At BB growth, we use the craft and platform to send hyper personalized gifts to anyone working from anywhere. Craft of makes it easy for your prospects and customers to pick and personalize their own gift in real time and offers highly secure data capture, so decision makers feel comfortable submitting their home addresses for shipping purposes. To get your own personalized craft em gift, go to CRAFTOM DOT IO growth to schedule a demo and receive a complementary personalized gift from craft h them. To claim your personalized gift, go to CRAFTOM DOT IO growth. So I'm curious what you think. If someone didn't take any of your advice about sitting in on meetings with sales and analysts and various other departments and just learning as much as they could? Do you think a demandin practitioner or a product marketing practitioner would be better equipped, based on their typical day to day to have those seasweet conversations? I think I think they both could. I mean, I'm partial to demanagin just because I do think you're exposed to a lot more than you are product marketing. You know, there's there's different aspects and different departments, even just within demand generation, that a product marketer doesn't necessarily have. I also think the metrics piece right. Like I said before, there's not a lot of metrics and product marketing and it's fine. I think that's fine, right. I think I think that's okay. Not Everything has to be a metric, but as you grow, you know, in your career and you get to the sea suite, metrics do become relatively important. So I mean, I think they both can do it. I think the full stack marketer is probably the best person suited. Those are rare, but if you look at CMO tenure, right, it's the shortest tenureed executive in the sea suite, and I do think it's because people hire for the problem they have today, not for the long term. Will you hit on exactly why I ask that question, which was which was mentioning the product marketing doesn't necessarily work with metrics in the same way, and so I love that you cleared that up for me. And then I'm curious if we could take this all the way back to the studs here and think through if somebody wants to somebody who's early in their demanden career...

...wants to end up in that sea suite, what's the first thing that they have to do, like really, really practically, what are the relationships they need to be making? And you mentioned sitting in on meetings. But more than that, you know what is step one? What step to nail your job that you have today right. Get to the point where you can do your job in your sleep. You know the metrics right, like you just it's almost robotic right, like it's just you know what to go do, you know what to look for, you know how to fix things. So just get really, really good at your job, understanding the text, act right all those things and have a playbook. Have the playbook that you can in any job you could go refer to and say this is my demand, Jon played book, this is what I look at, this is what I do first, and start to compile that, because that will help you as you get 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's made me successful. Once you do that, then start trying to understand all the other pieces and spend some time in product marketing, you know, to spend some time with your finance business partner. I mean that for me allowed me to understand how finance operated. I had the most fantastic business, finance business partner when I was a jive and he had no idea about marketing. You know, he was like, I don't know, I just knew you guys spend a lot of money, you know, and I was trying to build a waterfall because they didn't have one yet, right, like defining that newly and m qls Q, All that other stuff, and it was the two of us working together and him understanding my business, me understanding the questions that he was asking, that we were able to get build this very seamless waterfall that everybody understood, all the way up to the CEO, and that gave me exposure to the CFO. It gave me exposure to all lot more people. A very small project, right, and the grand scheme of things, it was pretty big. But you know, just the two of US working together to go figure this out. That, you know, was something that usually has a lot of tension built around it. Right. Likewise, marketing, spending all this money, there's no result, saleses and have leads. You know, finance gets involved, they start to do all this. You know, agnostic reporting, that it tends to become a very uncomfortable position for all parties. So do things like that right, like get to know your finance people, understand what they're looking for and that'll give you that exposure. And then just you know, within the organization, like sign up for projects. I don't think we're as stiloed as we used to be when it comes to to projects. I think, you know, teams are strapped and and people are you know, you need help on all sides. You know, one of the things I did early on in my career is website stuff. I signed up to help do QA. I signed up to, you know, learn how to do SEO. What what words mattered and, as you you know, kind of go into the different organizations. You'll, if you listen, you'll be able to see where you can step in and either help or be an active listener. What were the positive results in your career that came from taking initiative like that and getting involved in learning so much? Good question. So I think you know, at a Reba I was one field marketing manager. I was hired, was one of three early on and I just asked to do more and it did more events. I talked to a lot of people. Actually had somebody pretty recently asked me, like God, you know so many people, and my first reaction is always like one mold right, like I've been around for a while and you know, like I have all these connections and but the truth of it is, like I'm an active networker and I stay in...

...touch with people and I've made friends outside of my little bubble that I started early on in my career right at a Reba. And so for me, I think it's leveraging those when you need to, but also always being there, you know, when somebody needs piece of advice or just wants to check in. But so back to REBA. You know, I took on after about six months. I took on the whole film Marketing Organization. You know, I stepped up to the plate. I said I wanted to do it, and that was hard, right, like I didn't know if I could do it. I had never done film marketing before and but I did it and I think that kind of opened a ton of doors for me. Right, I got put on sales leadership, I got to build a global team. When marketing automation came out, all right, like there was no demand done twenty years ago, and I was able to be curious and, you know, understand what marketing automation was and how it could help and through my name in the ring to say I want to take field marketing and make it a bigger demand general and so I did and got to learn all about marketing automation. I got to build workflows and sales force, things that I don't think a lot of marketers have been able to do in their careers. And you know, that kind of elevated me to this demand Gen metrics expert in the company. You know, and then from there kind of took that playbook and took it to to layout and you know, did the same thing. They're built out a pretty big field marketing organization and built it out globally as well. So I think it's not being afraid to step into a roll that you may not have all the skills for right and telling people that right. Like I had my CEO and host analytics. We were talking about where the strs should live, whether it should be in sales or whether it should be a marketing I have worked with US d our teams. I built one but really didn't manage it. I left before I could manage it. But I've never done it. And his his logic was give the process oriented person, which is me, and metrics driven person, which is me, the people that need the most process and the most metrics and the organization and she'll figure it out. So, you know, have that reputation of be the figure outer all the team, because then you'll get you'll get projects and just be open to it. I think that's the big thing is. You know, I think there's a study that women don't, you know, put their name in the ring if they don't feel like they have they did. They don't check all the boxes from a career perspective and I think that's wrong. Right, like everyone looks for a Unicorn, but you know the you can't. You can't find that Unicorn. So be vulnerable, tell them what you don't know how to do and then hire the right people around you that do know how to do it, and that'll be your key to success. I think this is probably my version of this is going to be a very reductionist summary of part of your story, but but I think the essence is still true. It was those first opportunities of initiative and learning and gumption and confidence that really set the trajectory. Obviously, tons and tons of hard work and and like throwing your name in the ring and things like that and continuing to be like I'll try it, I'll try it, but but that that early in your career mindset seems to have set the trajectory. That's so cool and I think that's something that anybody in their career at any point can just kind of like shoulder on. That's awesome. Well, if there was one thing in this episode that you wanted people to do or resonate with or, you know,...

...take to heart 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 go back, you know, twenty years and tell my twenty year old self the key to success, it would be to just listen and listen with intent. Try to understand what's going on around you. Don't be so silo, don't be so in your lane that you know you can't absorb what's going on around you. And I think that helps right because, you know, I wasn't, I didn't lead acts project, I didn't, you know, I was an integral and a certain project when I was younger in my career, but I was a witnessed to it and I saw what it looked like, right, and I saw the challenges that happen and how how people overcame them and and that's what you internalize so that when that situation comes up later down the road, you're like, Aha, I was part of something and I this is how it went. You know, this could be how we approach this particular situation. So listen and listen with intent and remember those things, because that's how that's how you're going to absorb and learn. Crystal, how can people connect with you and to learn more about you and more about Fortress Iq? Sure, so on. Linkedin, Cristel, wow, if you're going to send me a linkedin invite, make sure you tell me where you heard me talk, but you can. You can find me there on twitter, Marketing Stella. Stella is my nickname, by the way. And then fortress I q. So I've been there for about a year. We are revolutionizing the process discovery space with computer vision and AI, so check us out on fortress I qcom. We also have a podcast that I'll just plug. It's called hello human. That's where we talk about leaders in AI and talk about practical applications of AI, and so that's a pretty fun podcast we have going. So definitely give that a listen. Be Tob growth is brought to you by the team at sweet fish media. Here at sweet fish we produce podcast for some of the most innovative brands in the world and we help them turn those podcasts into Microvideos, linkedin content, blog post and more. We're on a mission to produce every leader's favorite show. Want more information, visit Sweet Fish Mediacom.

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