Should I hire a CMO now? Sales are down, should I change out my leadership? We are losing clients, is it the economy or is it us?
These are questions that are spinning in the heads of Founders and CEOs today. When the economy starts to tighten, it is hard to determine if a change in marketing and sales leadership is smart or if it is time to invest further in your current growth team and tactics. Every company is different, so there are no one size fits all answers, but there are some guidelines that can help you decide if it is time to make a change in your leadership.
Top signals that it is time to make a change:
- When you hear excuses vs. solutions: It’s easy to blame the market but markets always shift, and revenue leaders need to pivot and adapt. It is part of the job and a core reason great revenue leaders can demand high salaries. The worst thing a CEO can do when revenue is down is micromanage a CRO and sales pipeline. The smartest thing a CEO can do is listen closely to the new strategies designed by your revenue leadership and put resources against them. Typically, the CRO or CMO is the person on the front lines speaking with the customers and has the best understanding of the marketplace and competition. Being hyper-responsive to new strategies for growth is critical in a downturn. If you have product market fit, there is ALWAYS a solution to finding more revenue. If your CRO or CMO is showing up to leadership meetings with excuses vs. solutions, it is time to make a change.
- When data doesn’t sit at the center of the discussion: Hearsay is nonsense. In today’s world of sales and marketing, data is everything. Data needs to drive decision-making for investment and if your sales and marketing leadership is not making key decisions based on data, it is time for you to make change.
- Poor team morale – even if revenue is high: This is a tough one for a CEO to swallow. Of course, nobody wants poor team morale but when you are answering to a board, you need to show up the numbers. The days of hard-driving carrot and stick leadership are over. This new generation in the workforce is motivated more by positive reinforcement and personal rewards. If your leadership is taking an old-school approach to management during tough economic times, you could be in a world of long-term hurt, often loosing top individual performers before you know it is too late. You’ve got to play the long game when it comes to building a business and if team morale is down, a leadership change is essential.
- New product launches: Experience counts. Don’t underestimate how long it takes to learn a new market or product. If you are going into a new market, or targeting a new customer, especially during tough economic times, hire for experience. It will bring immediate knowledge into the organization and accelerate your success.
- Lack of innovation: There are outstanding new technologies that support sales and marketing. Your sales or marketing leader needs to have a deep understanding of how to best optimize their tech stack to empower sellers and have their finger on the pulse of where to invest, and where to hold, when it comes to new technologies. If you are not seeing innovative thinking related to marketplace approach, it is time to consider a change.
Changing over your sales and marketing leadership is a painful exercise that also will slow your revenue down momentarily. New hires need time to adapt to the new company, product, and client base as well as implement the changes that will accelerate revenue growth. If any of the above scenarios are happening in your organization, you should consider making a change, but also be cognizant of the short-term and long-term impact and plan revenue and budgets accordingly.