questions to ask before you hire your CMO

Questions to Ask Before You Hire a Chief Marketing Officer

Table of Contents

The daily life of a CMO isn’t easy.  There are several tasks that fall under the umbrella of the responsibilities of a Chief Marketing Officer. He is involved with the planning, developing, implementing, and monitoring all the inbound and outbound marketing campaigns and activities performed by the overall marketing team. 

He has to ensure leaving no gaps between market research, pricing, product marketing, marketing communications, advertising, and public relations. It provides a clear idea that a CMO isn’t just there for developing strategy; rather, he is instructed to conduct the overall everything, so strategies are implemented properly that the target group gets the message and perceives it.

So, hiring a CMO is even a harder task for an employer. Undoubtedly, the role of a CMO is performed by an experienced, and the value of experience is priced higher than anything in the market. Unlike other employees, the Chief Marketing Officer salary costs a lot for the company. 

What you should ask before hiring your chief marketing officer?

Apart from the monetary issue, the growth of a company is depended much upon the hand of CMO. It is mandatory to ensure the company’s tasks are given upon the perfect person.

Here is the list of burning questions that shouldn’t be avoided before choosing someone on the role of a CMO.  

So, let’s find out what should be the questions to ask when hiring a CMO for the company!

1. What’s on your dashboard and KPI record?

This discussion contains a few basic specifications which are very much vital for clarifying a candidate’s capability of being a good Chief Marketing Officer. These specifications include:

– What was your last job?
– How long have you been there? 
– How much revenue had you generated for the last company?
– The number of clients or leads you did bring for your last company?

a Chief marketing officer should show what he has in his dashboard and KPI record

This matrix enables the employer to value the person sitting in front more specifically. Major issues like loyalty, dedication, and persistence which can’t be priced in terms of money, must be valued by these specifications. A good CMO is always ready to interpret his results into understandable figures promptly.

According to Roman dictator Julius Caesar

“Experience is the teacher of all things”

This quote is even more real in the field of business, to be more specific in the job field. There is no standard like experience in terms of judging a person’s capability of handling things. Apart from marital issues, expertise is required everywhere.

A dashboard should include from his first days of working to date. It might start from the university or college level and also should include extra-curricular activities he has performed so far. A summary should be prepared by the candidate so that the employer can measure his experience making relevant to the company’s structure.

All results must be concluded with numbers. That’s why KPI is very much necessary for a Chief Marketing Officer to interpret. He has to show the turnover rate he has made from the last project or on the last job. It might be the amount of revenue he has generated or the number of clients or customers he has brought in the last job.

KPI not only proves experience but also the determination of a candidate is reflected in this term. Because it picturizes the goals and vision with the new company of the employee, there might be certain activities done by the Chief Marketing Officer earlier, which can’t be measured by numbers. But the objective and output should be stated clearly while mentioning them. 

The CMO earlier took projects to bring more clients or increasing sales, which should be explained with numbers. Somewhat, he might conduct a seminar or an event for branding purposes, which can be represented with goals or purpose but not with numbers. These should be properly illustrated by the candidate. There should be no hide and seek policy regarding this issue.

2. What would be your strategy in the worst-case scenarios?

A CMO should be able to dig out a way to make a profit even when the company is running in adverse conditions. This strategy building capability makes a wise judgment about the leadership too.

A team should be able to run promptly even when the Chief Marketing Officer is missing. It should be automated enough to run the department even when there is no lead for a few weeks.

what should be the strategy of a CMO in the worst case scenario

Currently, the biggest accelerator company, “Y Combinator” is running online. So, the project manager has to have the ability to handle when the team even though instructions aren’t provided.

CMO might get busy with versatile activities; meanwhile conducting can get out of focus. CMO should be indulged with the capability of taking charge in such a way so the team can run smoothly even without him.   

When the team can run based on the ideology of the CMO even without the constant guidance of him, the situation can be handled more easily no matter how worse it goes.

There might be endless struggling situation comes up in front, but a well-managed team always stays on the line making sure the company’s’ growth.

3. What marketing strategies you are familiar with?

This is a more skill-based question in context with the capability of getting adopted with the developed marketing tools. This can be judged from multiple points of view.

Firstly, about inbound marketing. This is mostly to justify the adaptability with digital marketing tools like social media platforms, E-commerce policies, and designing other online-based benchmarks. Capability to utilize the benefit of software accesses like MS office suits and other tools to perform the office tasks in a more grasp manner.

Secondly, comes the outbound marketing strategies. This is a more defined approach for taking people into action in a handful of manners like brochures, flyers, radio ads, etc. It can be done through telemarketing or print advertisements, justifies a better dales-driven approach whereas the inbound strategy is more driven to branding.

4. Which tools do you usually use?

As a Chief Marketing Officer, his responsibilities include running the sales and marketing team in a more qualitative approach, which brings the third point under these, convenience with the tools to follow up people. 

Here ‘people’ doesn’t only mean just the customers or clients or leads. Also, it includes handling people of his team. Software like ‘Toggl’ or ‘Trello‘ ensures him; his team is working right in their way and also promptly. Tracking the work record of each and everyone enables the CMO to implement his undertaken campaigns and projects. 

To keep a record of leads and clients can be traced promptly with ‘HubSpot’. This software ensures constant communication and follow-up with them. Where a little push needs and where to be flexible- becomes a real challenge being a CMO. But this software keeps him out of this dilemma.

The CMO should explain what activities or how many clients he was able to bring using the software. It is a must to explain the events or campaigns properly he shouldered exploiting the software and also how he managed the entire things.

5. How will you adopt certain relevant changes in the market while you are conducting a campaign?

“Change is necessary, but make sure it’s for better”

There might be so many uncertain changes happen during a campaign or handling leads. This has to be justified properly in light of the upcoming trends that are signaling afterward. A big project is taken to utilize a lead turning into a potential customer, which costs already one lakh for sales. 

what changes do you need to make while running a campaign

But the client is planning to get in touch with people through TVC, which increases the cost. But in terms of projection, that might not work with the ongoing scenario.

In such a situation, the Chief Marketing Officer has to be able to show his decision-making ability to take the right step whether he would go for the client’s recommendation or making him realize the existing demand.

Changes can be required by observing the competitors’ movement. A certain way of promotions needs to implemented in a quick period or might not have the perfect guy in the team to perform a specific task.

In such a situation, impromptu changes of the roll, train the team members these types of decisions might be needed to make. 

As a Chief Marketing Officer, the core objective will be to reach out to the prospective clients utilizing the available tools. He has to monitor this issue properly taking charge from the front.

6. How do you spend your marketing budget? What are the pricing frameworks you prefer to use?

The budget is a detailed plan of a company usually expressed in formal numerical terms. Budgeting in different stages falls under the responsibility of a CMO.

The budget should be able to show how much the CMO will invest in different sectors and what would be the measurable ROI with necessary breakdowns in each stage. The budget might include-

  • Branding activities: In measurable terms
  • Branding activities: In non-measurable terms

A good Chief Marketing Officer always focuses on the measurable approaches, and after ensuring the quantitative approaches are made afterward, he emphasizes the non-measurable terms, which should follow a descriptive approach with a logical estimated lead. 

Some tricky people promise to bring profit through branding activities like hosting sponsored events, non-measurable online and offline campaigns, but cleverly, they avoid the ROI issue. This is highly recommended for a good CMO to keep the activities in measurable terms.   

As mentioned earlier, a Chief Marketing Officer should be able to interpret the answer with a calculative formation. In this stage, the candidate should be able to prove his flexibility with different pricing frameworks to meet his KPI.

7. How do you measure ROI in marketing?

The candidate should be able to trace the balance between the investment of input and what is coming in the output. There needs to be a perfect balance so that the authority can check that out anytime how the team of CMO is performing.

Proper Budget analysis: While the CMO is having a conversation with the CEO, he has put everything measurable that will prove his worth of words.

He has to picture properly where he is willing to reduce the excess flow of money and which phases; he is looking for investing more. Also, he has to show the output for taking those initiatives.   

The pricing framework focuses on the strategy of setting and arranging prices for each product. This is important because it shows how much the candidate is capable of taking the future responsibilities of the company.

The company serves the product, and by selling those, it gains profit and does business. Pricing framework shows how much the Chief Marketing Officer is ambitious or somewhat too ambitious for the company to take in the future.

8. By coming this far and knowing about us, what would be your tactics to contribute to the company to drive the revenue growth?

This discussion holds important questions that justify is the candidate cent percent prepared to be the CMO of the company. The queries that come in front of the table-

a CMO shuld have a tactic to drive revenue growth

– What is your vision?

– How do you judge the current status of the company after your audit and based on your realization?

– Where do you want to take after getting the charge as a CMO?

– What is your next goal? 

– What are your expectations from this company?

These issues satisfy in an open-ended question. Is the person ready to take charge of a CMO or not? Candidates feel enthusiastic while showcasing their previous achievements and skills, but this discussion reveals the true capability of a person for acting on this big role.

After all the analysis of the candidate’s previous experience and gained skills finally comes, the most important part is the forecasting about the company. As said earlier, there are certain ways to judge people based on their skills and insight into different issues. 

But when the discussion comes about the future of the company goals and vision, it gets much interrelated with the issue of how much the employee is serious about the company apart from just getting the job or focusing on personal growth. 

In this harsh reality, the employer can differentiate the candidates, mostly focusing on this issue. The basic reason is, the people who come this far for showing the courage to be a Chief Marketing Officer for a company are mostly experienced enough, but they mostly differ on this question because it shows the exact position where he or she is willing to land the company.

9. Give him a scenario and ask him the solution he would propose.

To identify an ideal format would be to propose him a projection. Say the company is generating ten clients weekly. The company is projecting to have 40 clients per week after six months. In this situation, what measures the CMO would take to turn this project into reality?

Providing the explanation containing details of the investment, necessary breakdowns, and calculation of return on investment on each term.

Some people show too many expectations, and even the employer knows his company wouldn’t be able to reach there that easily or that fast, but candidates’ desperation for getting the job drives him to dream unreal, which might never happen. 

Some people try to play safe by putting some descriptive or measurable comments. Like in which sectors he or she will work to bring change and improve. But these deceptive ways can’t be allowed for someone who is going to take charge of such a vast marketing department.

To judge a Chief Marketing Officer’s compatibility, the judgment has to be specific. The candidate should be specific about where he aims to bring the change in terms of numerical figures.

His goals have to be interpreted with figures like how much revenue he targets to generate or how much clients or leads he is lining up on developing the strategy for the company. The candidate should be able to dig his future projections, clearly stating the numbers and figures.

That’s all for today. If you are not looking for a CMO, but trying to build a marketing machine for your company, you can contact me. Go here and find out how we can collaborate based on your current company situation.

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Najm Consultant

Najm Consultant

Najm is a certified digital marketing consultant with a proven track record of bringing in customers for startups and mid-size businesses. He has been working with companies around the world for the past 13+ years.

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