First months as a B2B CMO: The Dos and Don’ts

The first months in a new company can be the most exciting yet the most daunting months in your career as a B2B Chief Marketing Officer. You might feel pressure to make an immediate impact and prove your value to the organization. 

Balancing many challenges, opportunities and expectations can be overwhelming. And it can be hard to decide where to focus your limited resources and energy.

But no need to worry. In this blog, we provide some key advice on what you should do and what you should not do in your first months on the job.

What you should NOT do in your first months as a B2B CMO

It’s tempting to make big, rapid changes or rush through a long list of to-dos to show that the wheels are rolling. But when the excitement and pressure of a new job cloud one’s judgement, it’s easy to fall into these two mistakes. 

Rushing into big changes with a small impact

Tweaking all things tactical is tempting. That’s why marketing leaders often jump in with big ideas, new tools and expensive proposals, such as: 

  • Changing the tech stack
  • Complaining about processes
  • Asking for more budget
  • Starting a brand refresh or website redesign
  • Launching complex new projects

All of those might be useful activities at some point, but don’t waste your precious time and budget on them at the very beginning. 

Why? Because none of these will make or break your marketing. They will only create a feeling of instant achievement or improvement – but the results might be incremental at best. 

Forgetting to prioritize

It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of a new job and want to tackle every single task on your to-do list. But don’t spread yourself too thin by trying to do everything at once.

The magic word is focus.

It’s better to focus on and excel at a few priorities that you know for sure will work—more on that later—instead of burning yourself and your marketing team out with too many ideas and activities. 

Do these instead in your first months as a B2B CMO

Figure out what has been done before, what has worked and what has not. When you have a clear strategy, the tactics will fall into place. Here, we have listed some ideas for what you could get started with.

Get to know your audience 

This might feel obvious but it’s the one thing that you absolutely cannot skip! The better you understand your target customers, the better you can craft a marketing strategy that speaks to them. 

Talk to your team to build an initial understanding. Then, pick up the phone and call your customers. Find out what’s kept them loyal and happy.

Try to find answers to at least these questions: 

  • Who are your customers? 
  • How are they finding you?
  • What are their pain points? 
  • What needs to happen before they can buy from you? Aka, what are their “Jobs To Be Done”

Also, embrace the dark funnel to figure out how your customers actually find you—because you of course can’t track everything. 

Work on understanding the positioning

When you understand your company’s positioning, you can more effectively communicate the same promise to your customers. On top of that, a strong, well-defined positioning can help build trust and credibility with the target audience.

In addition to building a strong understanding of your audience, try to find answers to the following questions: 

  • What makes your company stand out from the competition? 
  • What value or benefits do the products or services provide for your customers? 
  • How do your ideal customer’s needs and the product value propositions match?
  • What would your customer use if they didn’t buy from you?

Perform a content audit and review your content strategy

Start by researching your existing content—including web pages, blog posts, social media updates, e-books, whitepapers, videos, and more. 

Doing this helps you understand:

  • How the content is performing—never forget to look at content consumption!
  • Which part of the customer journey the content serves 
  • Whether there are gaps or underserved audiences 

Then, you can steer your content production in the right direction: make sure that the content efforts align with your overall business goals, serve the right people in the right channels with the right message, and drive the results you’re looking for. 

Align with Sales and CEO and establish a feedback loop

This is one of the most important alignment discussions you’ll have. Make sure everyone has a shared understanding of at least the following: 

  • The company’s growth targets in the short and long term: where is the growth expected to come from? 
  • How can Marketing contribute to those targets? Aka, what’s the role of Marketing and how is its success measured?

This allows you to improve your strategy and focus.

On top of that, make sure that Sales and Marketing are aligned towards the same goal. 

Example: When the sales team supports you in building a better understanding of the potential buyers, your marketing team can use that information to get better leads, which can result in smoother pitches and more sales.

Build an ABM wishlist for the next 3–5 years

Content production and distribution should be done with specific accounts in mind. That’s why it’s important to have a list of customers you would love to close in the next few years so you can create personalized experiences for them. 

The goal is to produce and distribute content that will always be relevant for customers that fit your Ideal Customer Profile. 

Furthermore, by focusing on a smaller set of high-value accounts, you can better allocate resources and measure the return on your marketing efforts. 

Change the core marketing KPIs to Opportunities and Revenue

Clear goals and KPIs help you track your progress and make sure you’re on the right track to meeting your business objectives. And they should always be linked to revenue. 

Sure, it’s easy enough to report on vanity metrics, clicks, downloads, and the like, to make it seem like something is getting accomplished. But those won’t tell you how your marketing efforts are contributing to any business outcomes. 

We understand that marketing-driven revenue might seem like a distant and near-impossible dream in your first months as the B2B CMO. But if you now focus on the wrong metrics, you will prioritize the wrong things, which can derail your whole marketing strategy. 

The end goal should always be revenue. Ultimately, that’s what your boss cares about—not the number of ice-cold leads.  

The most important piece of advice for a new B2B CMO

Oh, you thought we were done here? We have one more piece of advice for you: 

Enjoy the honeymoon phase. 

You have an awesome new job and many exciting things to do. It’s going to be a fun ride. So remember to keep your eyes peeled for the sweet sense of achievement and cool new learnings – instead of just stressing out about showing up and showing off. 

We hope that these tips make your first months at your new company even smoother. 

And if you’re looking for extra hands or brainpower to support you in your marketing, you know who to contact!