SBI recently spoke with Mark Roberts, the chief marketing officer at ShoreTel. ShoreTel is the leading provider of Brilliantly Simple IP phone systems and unified communications powering today’s always-on workforce. We spoke about the critical success factors for new CMOs. About one quarter or all B2B companies have a CMO who have been in the job for one year or less. These leaders face similar challenges and opportunities in those critical first few months. How new CMOs manage these transitions can make or break their success. Mark has spent the last 2 years overcoming these challenges and had a unique perspective to share with our audience.



We started the conversation with branding. As a new CMO did Mark, re-brand ShoreTel, and if so why? “When coming in, I thought long and hard on this particular topic,” explained Mark. “I did all of the usual brand studies, trying to understand the asset, the liability that I had, and really explored several options,” he continued. For Mark, it turned out that the brand was right for the trajectory the organization was on. There was a great foundation that he could easily build upon. So, instead, he took a hard look at the attributes associated with their brand, and developed strategies that reinforced them. By doing so, he was able to build their brand promise and concept in the minds of their customers.


Essentially, not all new CMOs need to re-brand. Do your homework first as Mark did. Understand what you’re starting with, and determine if it’s the right foundation for the organization.



Another key piece for new CMOs is marketing campaigns. Do new marketing leaders need to re-design their marketing campaigns? “This was one of the early areas of intense focus,” explained Mark. He looked at the campaign process from start to finish. They started from the ground up. For example, Mark and his team first had to come to agreement on common vernacular. What did marketing campaigns mean to the organization? He looked at all pieces, including campaign structure and workflows and came to an understanding of what they were trying to achieve. This then drove the behavior and structure of their marketing campaigns. Everything was objective based.



The final piece of importance to new CMOs is data. How should new marketing leaders go about implementing data analytics? When Mark arrived at ShoreTel, there was little or no consistency in terms of data, a common situation for new CMOs. He had a few different marketing automation platforms, and CRM platforms, and again, no consistency. He decided to take a pragmatic view of the data. “Data can show where you’re going directionally, but it’s those well trained opinions that really count,” says Mark.  It’s all about the analysis and the ability to look at the data and put the customer back in the center of thinking. “Don’t follow blindly, and make the right decisions for the business to grow,” continued Mark. Ultimately, marketing leaders must determine the objective of looking at the data, and use it to determine how to grow revenue effectively.


As a new marketing leader, you cannot blow your honeymoon period. CEOs are trigger happy; right or wrong, you must make progress quickly, or you will end up back in the job market. Learn from Mark’s experience. Leverage the How to Make Your Number in 2018 Workbook to access a revenue growth methodology to hit your number quarter after quarter, and year after year.


Greg Alexander

Leads the firm's focus on the CEO’s role in accelerating revenue growth by getting the product team, the marketing department, and the sales organization into strategic alignment.

Greg is the host of The SBI Podcast, the most listened to sales and marketing podcast on the internet.


He is the host of SBI TV, a monthly television program broadcast on the internet featuring top B2B sales and marketing leader sharing their strategies to grow revenues.


Greg is the Editor-in-Chief of The SBI Magazine, the leading B2B publication focused on sales and marketing effectiveness.


He is the author of two critically acclaimed books Topgrading for Sales and Making the Number.


Greg has authored over 100 articles on SBI’s award winning blog, The SBI Blog.


He graduated from The University of Massachusetts Amherst with a BA in English and received his MBA from Georgia Tech.




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