Here are a few questions that can get to the core of your SaaS CMO interview fast.
So you’ve just been hired as a Fractional CMO to lead a SaaS marketing team –congratulations!
You’re now on your way to deliver impeccable growth for the company. You’ve done your due diligence, you listened, and you’re now ready to share the company's updated direction with your new marketing team.
Here are 10 best practices to keep in mind when you kick off your new marketing plan with your team.
1. Set the stage with brand messaging and positioning
Start your first SaaS marketing meeting by giving your elevator pitch to the team. Share a summary of your company’s new positioning line and a 30-second pitch to help set the stage.
Your marketing team needs to understand the company’s new value proposition pillars, positioning vectors, what makes your software stand out from the competition, and what’s a capability that only your business can offer its customers.
2. Affirm your SaaS marketing team structure
If you’ve gone through a restructuring of roles –or even if you haven’t –you should communicate with your team on who to go to for specific functions such as copywriting, automation, and design. It’s possible that your team may feel uneasy when a fractional marketing leader comes into play, so a reaffirmation is always beneficial for their peace of mind and marketing continuity.
Consider highlighting what items that each team member owns and is responsible for, what does the reporting structure look like, and who are existing third party vendors your team will work with –and what do the vendors own vs. the internal team.
3. Create a team rhythm
Let your team know when weekly meetings are and what break-out, function-focused meetings will occur. Share what a typical meeting agenda will look like, what they should expect and prepare for, and what the goals of the meetings are.
One thing I’ve found incredibly beneficial as a SaaS CMO is setting up short team scrums –or quick meetings –with team leads. A proven scrum cadence for your marketing team could be on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays to provide quick updates and ensure that everyone is aligned, items are unblocked, and you’re staying on top of your goals.
It’s important to note that these shouldn’t be formal meetings, but rather the goal is to keep it as short as possible –so make sure your team leads are prepared :-)
4. Pick the low-hanging fruit
What are some initiatives that you can impact as a team to deliver quick wins? Maybe there’s a bank of hot leads that have yet to be nurtured because it wasn’t historically done in the past. Maybe your Google Ads currently don’t go to a specific landing page and just to the main website. Perhaps there are dozens of blogs with keywords and topic clusters yet to be optimized.
Share with your team what marketing initiatives you can execute to deliver immediate results. This will help solidify your position as a thought leader and boost your team’s morale as they experience a stark contrast in progress.
5. ICP and personas
As you create your marketing foundation, it’s imperative that the whole team is aligned on your target market. Ensure your team has a crystal-clear understanding of who the personas are, what your ideal customer profile (ICP) looks like, and which filters and signals you’ll target or omit.
As a general rule of thumb, your deck should include:
- GTM summary
- ICP and personas
- Messaging and positioning
- TAM, SAM and SOM
- Lead Magnets your customers prefer
Consider creating a single source of truth for your marketing foundation and share any resources post-presentation for your team to digest. Learning your new SaaS personas, messaging, and market can be quite lengthy.
6. Money, money, money
Share your SaaS spend budget and limitations with your team. Perhaps you’ve increased it to deliver quick wins through Pay-per-click (PPC) like Google Ads, or maybe you have to reduce your paid search budget as a result of your high salary.
You don’t need to have a formalized marketing budget in place just yet, but it’s important your team is aware of what the allowable spend is to make sure that nothing is dropped during the marketing leader transition. If you would like a free budget template for your marketing team, click here.
7. Solidify your information access
This might not be the first thing you do, but nonetheless it’s beneficial to reorganize information and restructure access. If everything was perfect, they wouldn’t have hired you. Share with your team where they can find specific information, plans, strategies, and any other documentation that pertains to marketing.
Is there a new shared area where the working files live? Are there any new naming conventions you’d like to implement or adjust? Perhaps you’re using a new team project management tool, like Asana or Trello, and you need to share what gets stored where.
8. Cover objectives and key results (OKRs)
By now you should have a clear idea of what the top-down expectations are from the executives. Let your team know what they’re working towards, what does success looks like, and most importantly, how it’s measured.
A methodology I personally implement are OKRs. It’s a tool used to establish and work towards your goals as a group. By identifying your objectives (e.g. generate $5M in ARR), your key results would consist of the smaller, actionable items that get you there (e.g. securing 500 Marketing Qualified Leads).
To learn more about creating your marketing team OKRs, view this article.
9. Outline CEO expectations
You had plenty of face time with the CEO to communicate about their expectations. Be transparent with your team on what that looks like. This will help your team prioritize items that hold a special place in your CEO’s heart–to make sure their endorphins are at full steam.
Of course, this is not to say you should do everything as the CEO wants, but this is a great way to get them off your back and build initial trust ;-)
10. Leave room for questions
No meeting should ever be one-sided. Ensure you leave ample amount of time for your team to ask all the questions they have. There will be a lot of uncertainty around a fractional marketing leader, so it's important to give them peace of mind to share their thoughts and feedback on your new plan.
Being a leader is more than just directing your team. Balancing your hard skills and soft skills is imperative to create a positive, transparent tone. Implementing the above 10 tips will help you ensure that you’re creating a sustainable team rhythm, establish open communication, and meet your SaaS marketing objectives as a CMO.
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At Kalungi, Alex works with companies to help them discover their marketing potential. Through high-level strategy and day-to-day management, Alex helps B2B SaaS companies scale their marketing departments the right way, enabling them to acquire the highest value customers, minimize churn, and drive ARR.