Today’s CMO bears almost no resemblance to a CMO from a decade ago. The job has become much more analytical and data-driven, and now requires a set of quantitative skills that most of the old-guard CMOs simply didn’t have.
As a result, finding someone who has the right balance of creativity and number-crunching savvy can be really difficult. In fact, the job requirements are now so complex that the CMO slot can be the hardest seat to fill at a new startup.
“The old CMO was someone who was very creative, but not necessarily much of a process person or data-centric person,” says David Skok, a general partner at Matrix Partners and a HubSpot board member. “The new CMO is very data-driven and great at process definition and management. However they still need to retain their strengths in creativity to come up with programs that get heard by the customer amidst the noise.”
We asked VCs what metrics they consider most important, and what slides they want a CMO to present at every meeting, and what they are looking for when they got out to hire a CMO today.
“I always look at the handoff between Marketing and Sales. Where do you draw the lines? What are your expectations around Marketing, your expectations around Sales, and do you have alignment around that?” says Brady Bohrmann, a general partner at Avalon Ventures.
The metrics that matter most change depending on where the company is in its journey. A tiny startup that’s still looking for product-market fit has different needs than a company in growth or expansion phases.
One last thing to remember is that a lot VCs think they know more about marketing than you do. Jeffrey Bussgang, a former marketing VP who is now a general partner with Flybridge Capital Partners, recalls that when he took his first job as a marketing chief, his CEO told him, “Congratulations -- every board member thinks they’re the VP of marketing!”