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

Episode 2112 · 9 months 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 be growth. 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'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're having previously, I was asking you one thing that you were noticing in the market and anything that you would suggest doing a different way and you were saying that you you here 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 hear why you think that is why you think that see 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 gen roll, right, it's relatively new. There was no demand gen 20 years ago. And I think today now a lot of those people that are, 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 resistance because of tradition and product 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 as well where people are requesting full stack cmos because you can't just be single threaded. Um, 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 gen and the next minute you're talking about brand and then the next minute you're talking about customer marketing and advocacy and also their 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 stack CMO and look for someone who's a little bit stronger and demand gen, 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 gen marketers 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 very technical things into marketing messages. And I think that's one skill that demand jin if you've just been demanding 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. Uh, you know that you're trying to market that is very technical, right? I got my stripes. I think if you want to call that when I was at map are, which is a Hadoop 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 fund 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 actually a more specific question might be like what are the problems that a CMO is going to encounter? That a demand and practitioner can best resolve? Yeah, great question 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 am 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 two 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 traditionally they're not, they have not been metrics driven marketers where demand gen like we live and breathe with metrics and how much pipelines created and uh 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 R. O. I. And demand gen marketers and that's that's a daily conversation. So I think just in that regard um they have the skills to be able to to be in the C suite. Um I also think demand jin crosses multiple functions, right? If you think of all the things that go into a campaign that go into website development that you could go into any sort of initiative run by demand gen 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 uh you know, wherever that sits of its own role if it rolls up to product marketing so you have this person that can collaborate. You know, if there are good demanding market right, collaborate across different aspects of the organization to be able to go get stuff done. Uh And I think that's another key skill is this, uh, the ability to collaborate not only within the marketing organization, but obviously across other organizations. So I'm curious what you might recommend a demand and marketer do or be involved in. If they are hoping to end up in that CMO seat, get as much experience as you can, right? If you want to be a record, be recognized as a full stack marketer, you know, sit in all those meetings, volunteer for projects. Um, one of the things that I did early on in my career, uh, when I was a field marketer is I sat in a lot of sales meetings. Uh, and I got asked, you know, to be part of sales leadership and I was kind of 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 like right to some of the forecast calls and but I listened. Um, and if you can make the time to listen to those types of meetings, I think it's really important. Um, 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 to host analytics as the CMO and an analysts were very, very important to to our go to market motion and seeing how that translated into air cover for demand gen and things that we could go do with analysts. That allowed us to have better impact for our programs. I mean it was eye opening to me and I wouldn't have known any of that until like I actually had to go do it. Um but you know, just my advice is listen as much as you can and asked 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 C suite er, 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 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 glass on that and just kind of understanding the dynamics, right? Because every single person in that C suite 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 marketers spend a lot of money. So if you can understand what is important to the CFO, right? Things like the CAC and Ebitda and those terms and what does 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 hit our pipeline number by doing this. Those are the conversations that are going to have, they're not gonna care about number of MQ LZ or they're not gonna 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. Uh 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 head of sales early early on in my career um 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 yours. 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 of the get and and you have to know that as an executive, a 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 BBB growth. We use the craft and platform to send hyper personalized gifts to anyone. Working from anywhere. Crafting makes it easy for your prospects and customers to pick and personalize their own gift in real time and offers highly secured data capture. So decision makers feel comfortable submitting their home addresses for shipping purposes to get your own personalized craft and gift, go to craft um dot io slash growth to schedule a demo and receive a complimentary personalized gift from craft um to claim your personalized gift, go to craft um dot io slash 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 demand jin practitioner or a product marketing practitioner would be better equipped based on their typical day to day to have those C suite conversations? I think I think they both could. I mean I'm partial to to demand jin just because I do think you're exposed to a lot more than you are in 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 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 as you grow, you know in your career and you get to the C 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 tenured executive in the C suite. And I do think it's because people hire for the problem we have today, not for the long term. Well, you hit on exactly why I asked 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 demand and career wants to end up in that C suite. What's the first thing that they have to do? 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's step two, nail your job that you have today, right? Get to the point where you can do your job and 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? Uh you know how to fix things? Um So just get really, really good at your job, understanding the text ac, 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 gen. Playbook. 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, 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, a 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 know 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 SQL SQL 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, um, that we were able to 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 a lot more people, A very small project right in the grand scheme of things. It was pretty big. But you know, just the two of us working together, um, 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 results. Sales doesn't have leads. You know, finance gets involved, they start to do all this, you know, agnostic reporting. 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 will give you that exposure and then just, you know, within the organization, like sign up for projects. I don't think we're as siloed as we used to be when it comes 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 S. C. O. Um, what what words mattered. Um 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 and either help or 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, um I was hired, it was one of three early on and I just asked to do more and 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 old um 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'd 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 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. But so back to Reba, you know, I took on after about six months, I took on the whole field 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 field 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 John 20 years ago. And I was able to be curious and you know, understand what marketing automation was and how it could help and threw my name in the ring to say I want to take field marketing and make it a bigger demand general. Uh, and so I did and got to learn all about marketing automation. I got to build workflows in salesforce 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 leo and 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 role that you may not have all the skills for. Right. Um, and telling people that right. Like I had my ceo of host analytics, we were talking about where the Sdrs should live, whether it should be in sales or whether it should be marketing. I have worked with SDR teams, I built one but really didn't manage it. I left before I could manage it, but I have never done it. And 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 in the organization and she'll figure it out. So, you know, have that reputation to be the figure out er, on the team because then you'll get, you'll get projects um 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 don't check all the boxes from a career perspective and I think that's wrong. Uh right. Like everyone looks for a unicorn, but you know, you can't, you can't find that unicorn um, so be vulnerable, Tell them what you don't know how to do and then hire the right people around you that do you know how to do it and that will be your key to success. I 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 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 the 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, uh, you know, 20 years and, and tell my 20 year old self, uh, 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 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't integral in a certain project when I was younger in my career, but I was a witness to it. And I saw what it looked like, right? And I saw the challenges that happened. Um and how how people overcame them. And and that's what you internalize. 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. 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, I q Sure. Uh so on linkedin crystal, how if you're gonna send me a link to an invite, make sure you tell me where you heard me talk but you can you can find me there on twitter. Marketing Stella...

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

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