Always start with "why should I care" - I like that.
Seeking To Sell To CMOs? Answer The Question, 'Why Should I Care?'
Dean Crutchfield, Contributor
I write about business growth & overcoming obstacles to success.
- The explosion of touch points is resulting in a lack of control
- Standing out is harder as consumers take more charge and push back
- New, rapid global competition
- Grappling with social media globally with localized interaction
- Clarity on roles and responsibilities with the internal focus on business issues
- Demonstrating the value of procurement, brands and current marketing
CMOs buy ideas to make a gain or avoid a loss. To stand out, a business seeking to sell products and services to a CMO needs to deliver its best case for solving a huge problem for the CMO by answering, “Why should I care?” The key is to make the CMO relevant by piloting the proposed solution with their funded initiatives and demonstrably reveal more value to their business faster. By connecting the CMO to revenue, convincingly showing her what problem you solve and how the investment will move the needle north, an invitation to answer their tough questions will be forthcoming:
- How will you help me demonstrate a strong ROI on integrated marketing?
- Does our ‘story’ and content strategy enhance the customer experience?
- When can we better optimize the purchase pathway and our customer data?
- Where can we get the biggest bang with our social and earned media?
- Are you able to help me balance creative with analytics?
- Can I trust you with my business and marketing strategies?
IBM’s recent repositioning targeting the CMO demonstrates how big investments in technology are rapidly becoming the realm of the CMO. The old ‘sales funnel’ model where consumers hold a large number of brand options and narrow our choices to an eventual decision aided by advertising has been destroyed. The customer’s purchase pathway is totally different, and repetition of old marketing strategies has caused the ouster of many a CMO, as has launching brand campaigns bereft of any notion of what the empirical measurement is for effective.
Therefore, what makes the offer different that can deliver ROI? CMOs admire it when there is adherence to their current strategy and how the proposition moves it forward. Ideas might be the currency of marketing, but to sell them without tying them to organizational goals will lose the CMO no matter if it’s technology or marketing. Pitching tons of ideas that are disconnected to their strategy is akin to saying one has no ideas at all: Strategy is more about what you’re not going to do and how that connects to the business goals of their organization.
To get inside the CMO’s head, think like an investor who has one thing on his mind: ROI. For CMOs, their
investment is the time, energy and resources they place in the hands of their ‘partner’ firms and their ideas. To win over the CMO, the idea needs to generate and show a return, provide data and enable you to ask how you can help them. Rarely are CMOs actually offered this.
Anecdotal success measurement, however, can quickly turn off a CMO – marketing is not all about telling a great story – it’s about telling a story that moves the needle: If you don’t know how to measure it, resist the temptation. CMOs pilot new ideas constantly, but they need a valid and relevant way to measure the success of those ideas. CMOs generally do not desire to replicate the competition they demand you to know their customer. It’s easy searching what other people are up to, but the secret sauce is knowing the right questions, the ones that lead to unearthing the pain points, and needs of their organization and customers, and then tailoring targeted solutions.
More than ever CMOs are vested in making the quarter and are primarily interested in the business outcomes of using services. Consequently sales discussions must focus on business drivers. Products, services and solutions must be linked to business benefits using the metrics the CMO cares about: footfall, ARPU, retention, online conversion, customer-acquisition cost, lead-generation efficiency. To answer “Why should I care?” connect the offer directly to revenue and specifically show the CMO how the product will enhance brand value – demonstrably and empirically – to the CEO who demands shareholder value.