8 Ways an Outsourced CMO Can Save Your Company
If you’ve found your way to this article, it’s likely that your business is struggling – or at least not performing as you’d hoped – and you need to try something new if you want to begin generating more revenue and growing your profits. Whether you’re currently operating without a CMO or you want to replace an underperforming out-of-ideas individual, you should consider inviting an outsourced CMO to come in and save your company. If you’re asking yourself what is a CMO, and how they help businesses – now is the time to learn.
No matter the size of your business, a fractional CMO has the knowledge, experience, and skills to produce incredible results, turning your business around at an incredibly rapid rate. However, many risk-averse companies see outsourcing a senior position as a questionable decision and are not willing to consider this option. Believe it or not, the risk of hiring an outsourced CMO diminishes when compared to employing someone full-time. Take a look at these reasons to hire a fractional CMO to understand why. Outsourced CMOs are not just a viable option for saving an underperforming business – numerous scenarios indicate when a business should hire an outsourced CMO.
By the end of this article, you will know:
- The things an outsourced CMO can do to save a struggling business.
- How cost-effective it is to work with a fractional CMO.
- The skills a qualified CMO should possess.
- How to find the best outsourced marketing director for your business.
- When companies should consider outsourcing job roles and marketing activities.
Let’s get back to discovering the eight ways a fractional CMO can save your business when it currently seems destined to fail.
An Outsourced CMO Increases Profit and ROIs
Businesses fail because they don’t make enough profit and achieve minimal to no returns on their investments – it sounds simple, but it's true. Clients and customers exist for every business – you just need the correct route to market, a solid and defined marketing strategy, as well as the people and skills to execute it.
Before you officially hire your outsourced CMO and as part of their interview process, they will present you with a detailed breakdown of your existing marketing strategy. Here, the CMO will show details when discussing why you're underperforming, and present opportunities, platforms, and ideas for your business to turn it around. This is before they’re even officially a part of your business! This process enables them to hit the ground running – they don’t need time to find their feet or generate exciting ideas, so they can instantly begin increasing profit and ROI.
Better yet, since your fractional CMO comes with an abundance of experience, they’ll have an incredible network of marketing experts who would be willing to collaborate with them. Since they have a prior relationship, it’s likely the cost of service will be reduced, giving you more scope to increase your ROI.
An Outsourced CMO Improves marketing ROIs
When a business is struggling to stay afloat, finance and marketing are often the first two departments considered to be disposable. Whether you’re bringing in your new outsourced CMO to oversee an existing team or setting them the task of creating their own fractional marketing department, they’re guaranteed to improve your marketing ROIs.
Existing Marketing Team
Your new outsourced marketing director’s first challenge is to win over existing team members – their department is failing the business, and they’re about to see great changes to turn failure into success. However, as previously mentioned, an outsourced CMO is armed with a collection of new ideas and analysis to provide reasoning for their decisions – this should be enough to motivate anyone into action.
A fresh pair of experienced eyes enables your business to optimize and maximize the effectiveness of the marketing channels that will work for your business and reduce or cut spending on drastically underperforming areas. A thorough audit, along with open and honest discussions with your team, enables the CMO to pinpoint unnecessary spending.
An Outsourced Team
Opting to outsource your entire marketing department seems drastic, but it is the surest way to guarantee improved marketing ROI. Usually, an in-house team will consist of individuals who are skilled in many areas but not experts in any – a jack-of-all-trades. This might work for most companies, but you need to save yours. To do that, you need expertise.
Hiring part-time or contract outsourced experts for SEO, PPC, copywriting, social media, and any other marketing channels will see your brand exposure, lead generation, conversion, and profit all improve. Better yet, having a handful of specialists working fewer hours is vastly more cost-effective than employing numerous full-time in-house employees.
An Outsourced CMO is very cost-effective
We’ll discuss the salary of in-house v.s. outsourced CMOs a little later. For now, we’ll look at all the other ways outsourcing is cost-effective because there are plenty of hidden and forgotten costs that you have probably not considered.
No matter your business or industry, every employee has benefits. Whether that be annual leave, sick pay, maternity, paternity, health insurance, dental care – the list goes on. In addition, for a position as prestigious as a CMO, you’re looking at a heavy investment in office equipment, technology, and office space. For example, they’ll need a desk, chair, desktop, laptop, cell phone, and possibly a company car. These overheads quickly add up, in conjunction with a large salary, hiring a CMO becomes an impossibility for many small- and medium-sized businesses.
You don’t face these hefty costs when appointing an outsourced CMO – they’re a contractor. So, you don’t have to offer them any additional benefits that add to your overhead. If you’re a small- to medium-sized business, the reasons to hire an outsourced CMO are clear, and cost-effectiveness is near the top of the list.
An Outsourced CMO is more flexible
When operating a struggling business and trying to turn your fortunes around, flexibility is key to your success. Your day-to-day, week-to-week, and month-to-month activities will drastically change. For now, you need to create a short-term plan that can have the impact needed to save your business, but you can’t neglect the long term, or you’ll come unstuck.
Flexibility is one of the many benefits of an outsourced CMO – they can mold themselves to fit within your business's ever-evolving needs. You could decide you want to bring them in on a project basis. Do you feel that your existing team merely needs a sense of direction, a purpose, new ideas, and an overarching strategy? You could hire an outsourced CMO to come in and do exactly that – create a new short-term marketing strategy and plan for your team to implement it. Of course, the obvious possible downfall of this approach is that they won’t be involved to produce the results.
Alternatively, short-term or ongoing contracts are an option. Rather than being involved in a single project, the outsourced CMO will take the roles and responsibilities of an in-house CMO without the overhead costs. Using this approach you are much more likely to see the results that you desire. The fractional CMO will not only define the strategy but will also lead the attack on reaping the results your business needs if it is to survive.
CMO salaries by industry in comparison to outsourced
Typically, an outsourced CMO will be paid an hourly rate. Since they aren’t employed by you full-time, their salary is highly likely to be less than that of an in-house CMO. A fractional marketing director is a surefire way to get more bang for your buck because you’re only paying them for the time they actually spend working. This is the opposite of on-staff employees. You pay them for all the time they spend at your office, both contracted and over-time.
For a senior position such as a CMO, especially when employing someone talented, you can expect to shell out at least $200,000 per year, plus bonuses and benefits! Very few businesses can afford to spend such a huge percentage of their marketing budget on one person’s salary. Besides, when you hire an in-house CMO to take the lead on strategy and decision-making, you might not have enough senior-level work for them to complete once the strategy has been defined. In this scenario, businesses begin paying a CMO salary to complete tasks, such as content writing, social media posts, and email campaigns. Now, imagine this: if you had paid an outsourced CMO to complete your strategy and used marketing assistants or outsourced experts to carry out the tactics – you’d have saved yourself a huge number of dollars.
Outsourced CMOs have Expertise and a Track Record of Proven Success
The career of an outsourced CMO lives and dies by reputation and results. You know you’re bringing an individual into your business who has a proven ability to turn a business around and drive it towards success.
Traditionally, those who take the step to become outsourced CMOs are those who had successful careers as an in-house marketing directors but decided to either scale back their work to a few contracts a year or limit themselves to part-time work. Alternatively, they like the challenge, excitement, and reward of entering struggling businesses and making a real impact.
With this in mind, you can be certain you will be working with an incredibly motivated leader who has an unwavering passion to help your business succeed. Over the years, these individuals have acquired tremendous expertise, built a network of influential people, and succeeded in returning businesses to their former glory.
As mentioned, the reputation of an outsourced CMO precedes them. They will step into your business and give you everything they have to produce incredible results. How can you be sure of that? Because the future of their business relies on them continually providing their clients with outstanding results. This, surprisingly, is quite the opposite of many internal employees. Over time, on-staff individuals begin to do the minimum required to get by without putting energy and enthusiasm into their work, and not striving to do their best for your business.
Scale Quicker and Define Goals Earlier with an Outsourced CMO
Everything covered so far explains all of the ways an outsourced CMO will come into your business and improve the way you’re currently operating. More expertise, skills, motivation, connections, and lower costs will only result in one thing – the growth of your business.
Before an outsourced CMO steps into your business, they know exactly what needs to be done to improve your position, what needs changing, when things need action, and how your business is going to move forward. In addition, since outsourced CMOs are detached from office politics and not affected by the motivation of others, they have the ability to scale rapidly.
One factor adding to the ability to scale quickly is that outsourced CMOs can define goals almost instantly. Fresh eyes, thorough research, and extensive expertise give an interim CMO the unique ability to rapidly set SMART goals. Sometimes, even before you've hired them. This creates an incredible sense of urgency, focus, and direction for your marketing team – something they probably lack at the moment. Many marketing departments still operate without clear KPIs and goals; their directors never know how they are truly performing. An outsourced CMO changes that by creating goals that are focussed on areas your business needs to improve before it fails.
Access Tools and Education Your Company Might Not Already Be Employing
As discussed, a fresh perspective comes with new ideas. Included with this is a selection of sophisticated tools, apps, and education platforms that you might not already be utilizing. As you might expect, an outsourced CMO will have a go-to set of marketing tools they have used to generate success in the past. You might already be using some of these, but it’s unlikely you’ll have access to all of them. If your new CMO is coming in to manage an in-house team, you will need to take great consideration at this stage because it is likely these tools will come with a monthly subscription premium. For any business, but most importantly with a struggling one, it’s recommended to do a cost analysis at this stage. Create a list of the tools your marketing department is already using v.s. the proposed new platforms. Analyze the cost, and factor this into your decision-making process.
However, if you are heading towards outsourcing all of your marketing efforts, this is a fantastic way to discover the latest and most effective tools your business could employ. Most agencies you speak to will openly reveal what apps and tools they are using. In fact, being open about how they get results is a great selling point. It shows their customers that they’re heavily investing in the systems they use to improve their business.
Over their career, an outsourced CMO has accumulated a tremendous amount of knowledge from networking, seminars, webinars, and training courses. Now your business can benefit from all this, too. If you have an in-house team, the education a fractional CMO can provide will benefit your business years after their contract with you has ended. Not only will it enhance the skills of your marketing department, but it also shows your employees you are invested in their career development. This, in turn, will motivate them to perform better by implementing their newly developed skills to better your business.
Answering Your Questions & Helping You Find An Outsourced CMO
How Much Does An Outsourced CMO Cost?
The short answer is: less than an in-house CMO. As with many business and financial decisions, there are many points to consider. We’ve discussed full-time salaries v.s. contracts and projects, gone over the additional cost of new tools, and assessed the additional revenue and growth an outsourced CMO can bring.
Realistically, you can’t place a figure on how much an outsourced CMO would cost your business because each company has different requirements. What we can assure you is that an outsourced CMO will cost less than employing a full-time in-house CMO, and they will work tirelessly to ensure the investment you put into them is repaid by helping your business survive and thrive.
What Skills Does An Outsourced CMO Need?
An outsourced CMO needs everything you would expect from your own CMO, but leveled up. Every fractional CMO has a multitude of skills, but the four most important for a struggling business are leadership, communication, strategy development, and budgeting.
When a fractional CMO steps foot into a struggling organization, they know it's their job to turn it around. Their task will be much easier if they aren’t doing it alone. If your business is underperforming, existing team members will likely know this, be unmotivated and bereft of ideas to make a difference – it’s time for them to get motivated.
Getting people on board with their vision, boosting morale, and encouraging everyone to pull in the same direction again is a prerequisite for any outsourced CMO, especially one that prides itself on saving struggling businesses.
Communication is crucial to an outsourced CMO having the immediate impact you’re hoping to see. From directors to office juniors – the CMO is placed to inspire change. Clear, concise, and motivational communication is paramount for achieving results.
In addition to internal communication, external relationships will also be key to their success. Agencies, publications, industry leaders, and associations are all parties from outside your business that are able to contribute greatly to the survival and success of your company. If your CMO can effectively communicate with them, the skills, knowledge, and influence they have will bring incredible benefits.
Inspiring people to perform is one thing, but it means nothing if they have no direction or purpose. You’ll have a good idea of how well potential outsourced CMOs can develop a strategy from your initial research and interviewing process. However, you need to consider if their strategy is realistic and whether or not it will produce the results you’re expecting.
A refined strategy with clear goals gives everyone within your business a vision of what the marketing department should look like, enabling them to feel motivated and inspired to work towards achieving the desired outcomes.
Your business is in trouble – so it goes without saying that budgeting cannot be overlooked. Making it clear to all potential outsourced CMOs that your budget is tight and that they need to be clever with their spending will help you weed out those who won’t be cut out for the job.
At this point, unnecessary overspending could be catastrophic for your business; you might not ever come back from spending mistakes. A CMO that possesses impeccable budgeting skills should be high on your list.
How Do You Get An Outsourced CMO?
With such an abundance of fractional CMOs, it can be difficult to know where to start. Following the following four steps will help you locate individuals who will contribute to helping your business prosper.
1. Decide what you need and do some research
Firstly, you need to determine whether or not you need a CMO who will manage an in-house team or someone who will outsource all of your marketing efforts. You will find CMO’s who specialize in each of these working methods, so choose wisely.
Follow this up with some thorough research of potential appointments – search engines and LinkedIn are great resources for this. When you have created a shortlist, begin making contact with the people on your list to set up an initial meeting.
2. Prepare and conduct initial meetings
Now is your opportunity to meet with your potential new CMO. Go into these meetings with an open mind, be honest and be prepared with questions that will enable you to judge if someone is the right fit for saving your business. If you conduct these meetings properly, you will clearly see who is motivated to take on this difficult project.
3. Ask for analysis and proposals
To confirm your shortlisted CMOs have the skills they claim to have, ask them to produce a marketing audit and strategy proposal. This is a time-consuming process for them, so don’t expect it to be free of charge. However, this is a key step to selecting the best candidate - the one who will have the most impact on your business.
4. Ask for a proposal and get to work
Formalize the contract with your chosen outsourced CMO. Since your business is struggling financially, you may be able to agree to a lower base rate that is highly incentivized by performance. That way, both you and the outsourced CMO have the potential to benefit the most from your relationship, and you are guaranteed to get additional motivation from the CMO you hire.
Can A CMO Become A CEO?
It’s not unheard of for a CMO to climb the ladder and become a CEO. However, it is quite rare and difficult. A CEO is a well-rounded and experienced individual with a vast knowledge of commercials, sales, and marketing. On the other hand, the role of a CMO is focused solely on the marketing performance of a business. For this reason alone, it can be difficult for a CMO to make the step up. In addition, C-Level positions require a big picture mentality, making decisions about the entire business, and creating a vision for the future – not many CMOs have this within them.
When Should You Outsource Business Roles & Marketing Tasks?
Realistically, you could start outsourcing roles and marketing tasks at any time. There’s a misconception that you should only turn to outsourcing if you’re a small, fledgling, or struggling business – this is not the case. Yes, outsourcing offers incredibly skilled people at a cost much less than full-time employees, but cost should never be your only factor.
Successful businesses never standstill. For longevity, you need new creative ideas, technology adoption, and market understanding – all of which are supplied by outsourced experts. Knowing when to hire a fractional CMO is a tough call, but the closest answer is this: if you find yourself needing to take a new approach to your marketing and want to have a greater impact in the marketplace, then an outsourced CMO is a great route to take.
Sometimes, the signs that you need to employ an outsourced CMO can be clear. For example, if your current budget is being drained but not used wisely, when your marketing strategy isn’t working, or when you seem out of ideas to improve your business.
As you can clearly see, an outsourced CMO bring an incredible amount benefits to your business, and they should be on your list of people to turn to when your business is struggling. If you think an experienced leader with a proven track record of success in your industry is an unattainable individual for a business like yours – you’ve been proven wrong. It costs far less for you to hire one individual who will have the most impact on transforming the fortunes of your business than it does to continue to pay the people who have contributed to the downfall of your company in the first place.
At the point when a business begins to struggle, it needs people who can take a step back, present new strategies and ideas, implement them rapidly, improve the bottom line, and guide the company to safety and prosperity – an outsourced CMO does exactly that.
Want to learn more about how a Fractional CMO can take your marketing potential to new heights? Digital Authority Partner's Chicago Fractional CMO Services or San Diego Fractional CMO Agency offers you a unique approach to marketing strategies, and can confidently take you on a path to reach next-level growth.