4 Questions to ask before accepting your next CMO Role

As a CMO changing companies comes with new challenges and also exciting new opportunities. You can turn your expertise to a new brand, maybe a new industry, new team or grow your advisory business through your expertise.

As a CMO and growth advisor to scale-ups & enterprises within the fintech, SaaS, e-Commerce and high tech space, I always try to get as much understanding of the business and the role I am getting into. These are some of the questions help me evaluate whether this is the right opportunity for me and if so, what value I would bring to the business.

What is the true role of the CMO within the business?

I make sure I have conversations with the CEO, the leadership team and the board about their understanding of marketing and the expectation from me/ marketing organisation.

Am I joining as a strategic leader to raise the brand profile, accelerate revenue, or transform current marketing organisation?

It helps to also understand how performance in the role will be measured from the outset. Sometimes it is also an opportunity to demonstrate the value of a CMO role and how they can contribute to the business growth goals.

What does the current marketing team look like – in terms of talent, capabilities and organisation structure?

You can interview the team in the same way they interview you. I try and assess how the marketing team is structured and whether there are any skills and capabilities gaps that should be covered. I audit the talent of the marketing organisation to understand how I can work best. As a leader, I want to know what tone I should be setting from the top and how to best support the team’s professional development which compliments the growth of the business.

Is there alignment between product, sales and marketing?

Marketing should be a holistic part of the business that connects with other business functions. I get to understand whether there is alignment early, how marketing influences strategy in these team or how I might implement better alignment in my new role. If there is time to get to know the business heads as well, I feel even more prepared. Setting frameworks and shared goals between functions is always a win.

Finally, what is the financial health of the business?

Naturally this matter might only be shared later in the recruitment discussions, but it is important to understand the health of the business before you enter. I search for publicly available annual reports and profitability or, if the company is private, I ask the CEO for performance metrics, financial reports and spend time with the CFO to asess the true situation on where the business is and where they can get to. As a commercial function, the CMO should be up-to-date with financial information to best grow the business further.

Would love to hear from the CMOs – does this resonate and what do you look for when joining a new business?