Succession planning is a part of a multi-step top grading process of talent recommended by SBI. It supports an improved customer experience (CX) while reducing risk within the business for sustained growth. It gives leaders confidence in their teams’ ability to execute the go-to-market strategy despite resource transitions.

As companies evolve, revenue growth strategies may require a new set of competencies not possessed by the existing team or CMO. The key is to have the foresight to understand the talent needs of the CMO at any given stage of company growth and strategic plans. Mismatching talent or not having succession plans puts you at risk of missing your number.


Market leaders succeed when they place the right talent in the right performance conditions. SBI thinks of this equation as a 50/50 split, creating a winning formula for growth. Assuming the right talent is currently in place, how do you identify and develop high-potential candidates and groom them to fill key leadership positions within the organization?


Actively Looking for a New Role? Coach and Probe for the Best Fit


Succession planning ensures you can meet the future leadership needs required to drive a future of growth. It provides a pipeline of talent to ensure planned or unplanned vacancies can quickly be filled with the ideal candidate. Leadership can proactively identify who would backfill critical roles with excellent succession and promotion planning.


To do this, you must understand the current pool both internally and within your network or industry. Does the career stage of available talent/leaders match the lifecycle stage of the industry and company? Does tenure match the strategic time horizon of the corporate strategy?


It is important to ensure profiles of the CMO reflect the profiles of the buyers inside target accounts, considering the attributes buyers’ value. Ensure you have clear evaluation criteria for CMO selection as this links to performance.


Step 1: Document a Succession Plan in Collaboration with Functional Leaders


This step connects to the “why” of the CMO, as you begin to coach and probe functional leaders and potential candidates to understand who may be the best fit. Note the steps above are not in consecutive order, but gradually build on each other in the succession development process. You can also leverage the Succession Planning Tool to help you craft your plan, as shown below.



Download the Succession Planning Template Here


Succession Plans Begin with Organization, Communication & Goal Setting


Where in the maturity stage does your industry lie? Is market expansion part of the strategy, and is your leadership appropriate for that? It is critical during the first 3 months to ensure leadership is measured and rewarded on increasing valuation within the company.  This drives motivation to help retain.


Step 2: Ensure Each Role and Compensation Plan Is Reflected in Your Succession Plan


Step 3: Define the Key Leadership Position(s) in Marketing Required to Achieve Your Objective for Initial Succession Planning


Beyond compensation and role validation, you should be able to qualify your strategic goals and vision. Are you willing to disrupt the business if the right talent becomes available? This links to the timeline, helping to identify talent trade-offs that may be needed to prioritize growth.


Are you clear on what marketing needs to be best-in-class in your industry? Is the labor expense allocated to marketing leadership, generating an acceptable return? Would more investment accelerate growth? On the flip side, could current revenue growth be maintained at a lower interment level?


Interdepartmental Alignment Can Make-Or Break-Your Succession Plan


This planning can’t be done on an island. Over the next 3 months, HR and other cross-functional teams must be engaged throughout. This engagement helps you determine how the succession plan compares to your competitors or cross-industry best-in-class.


Step 4: Ensure Your Performance Management Program Has a Proven Track Record of Developing Future Leaders


Step 5: Follow a Defined Process to Identify Internal Candidates to Be Placed into a Succession Plan


These candidates will fill the column headers for the Succession Planning Tool. Now think about what investments are you making today in marketing talent to lead to long-term value creation? It’s essential to ensure marketing leadership compliments the interest of the CEO, board, and/or shareholders. Beyond the role of performance management, talent should be tested and assessed readily with minimum requirements clearly articulated to marketing resources/those in the candidate pool.


Step 6: Constantly Test Candidates to Asses Their Readiness to Assume Their Next Role


Step 7: Communicate Succession Plans Throughout the Company to Ensure Understanding of the Minimum Requirements


Lastly, when ready, think about how to timely and efficiently transition candidate(s) into the new CMO role. What is the right onboarding approach? How will you communicate cross-functionally and announce? Is there a plan in place to backfill them if they were an internal hire? On the flip side, how will you offboard the departing CMO?


Step 8: Transition Candidates into Their Next Role in a Timely and Efficient Manner


Step 9: Identify High-Potential Candidates That Are Ready to Be Groomed to Fill the CMO Role


How SBI Can Help


Succession planning is a part of a multi-step top grading process of talent recommended by SBI. It supports an improved customer experience (CX) while reducing risk within the business for sustained growth. It gives leaders confidence in their teams’ ability to execute the go-to-market strategy despite resource transitions.


Best in class organizations proactively succession plan, I encourage you to start planning your marketing succession plans for 2020 and beyond. Leverage SBI’s new Talent Strategy or request a working visit at the Studio to help you be best in class.


Located in Dallas, TX, our facility offers state-of-the-art meeting rooms, lounge, full-service bar, and a studio used to tape our TV shows. SBI provides the location and facilitators, all at a compelling price point. As a guest of The Studio, you’ll get unlimited access to SBI’s CEO, Partners, and a handpicked team of experts for your talent strategy needs.


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Ginger Smith

Leverages classical training in innovation to transform marketing, sales, and product pain points into growth opportunities that help clients meet their number.

Ginger is a strategic transformation leader with over 10 years experience. She has an innate nature to seamlessly connect high-level strategy with essential low-level details for successful returns on investments.  With expansive international and domestic experience – living and working in NA, APAC, and EMEA – she has proven success transforming government, nonprofits and Fortune 100s across industries. Her demonstrated skill sets in data analysis, sales, product launches, personas, marketing strategy, change management, and program management are supplemented by her Lean Six Sigma Black Belt and PMP. Ginger is a data-driven leader who motivates clients with compassion and autonomy.

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