September 18th, 2019 | by

First days can be stressful. Especially if you’ve just been promoted to Chief Marketing Officer.

Extending far beyond traditional marketing tactics, today’s CMO shoulders vast and complex responsibilities that now span technology, analytics, revenue and—above all—measurable impact.

In your first few weeks on the job, it’s tempting to hit the ground running. But if you run too fast, you’ll likely find yourself in reactive mode.

I’ve found it’s important to take some time at the beginning to get your footing – identify priorities and make a plan – so that you can get some quick wins that prove your worth and set your organization up for long-term success.

Here’s the roadmap I’ve used repeatedly to do just that:

  1. Create a plan for quick wins
  2. Meet with stakeholders to build relationships quickly
  3. Know your product
  4. Engage with customers whenever possible
  5. Don’t forget to show the ROI of your marketing team
  6. Seriously – KNOW YOUR PRODUCT!

Read on to see how to settle in to your new role – fast!

1. Establish a clear plan for quick wins and long-term goals

So It’s Your First Day as the CMO...


In the first 30 days on the job, you’ll want to develop a three- or six-month plan that creates a vision for your team and identifies specific milestones to hit in 60, 90 and 120 days.

From assessing which channels perform the best, to evaluating existing tracking capabilities or implementing new attribution solutions, establishing key milestones ensures you are continuously providing value for your business.

With this core plan in place, you will:

  1. position yourself as a leader
  2. establishes expectations and the ability to track progress
  3. align your team around specific goals and initiatives for short and long-term results

This gives your marketing effort early momentum that can fuel more success in the coming months. It also reassures your C-suite that you can make a real positive impact.

PRO TIP: A quick-win might be to create consistently across all lead-gen channels. A longer-term goal might be to get better aligned with sales by integrating a specific cross-functional tool, or improving MQL conversion rates by X%.


2. Meet with stakeholders to build a foundation of trust

Meet with stakeholders to build relationships quickly


Meet with key executives, marketing team members, partners, and other stakeholders within your first few weeks on the job. Ask what’s working, what’s not, and identify the biggest opportunities for improvement.

Taking initiative here will demonstrate real interest, establish real relationships with peers, and build the trust that forges a real team.

PRO TIP: Invite the people you’ll be working with closest to meet outside the office for lunch or coffee, at least once in the first few weeks, to get to know them personally.


3. Know. Your. Product.

Know your product


Success as a new CMO depends on knowing your product really, really well.

Lack of product knowledge can cripple your ability to market the real benefits – which may deviate from your company’s long-established talking points. Learn what pain points your product solves, use cases for your product. And of course, you’ll still want to know product features like the back of your hand.

This will 1.) get marketing aligned with sales’ talking points, and 2.) help uncover real pain points. Sales works more closely with prospects and customers, after all, and knows what really matters to them.

PRO TIP: Sit in on sales demos and trainings at least once or twice per week, to learn common objections and use cases.


What are other CMOs thinking about? How to Sell to the Chief Marketing Officer

4. Engage with customers as much as possible

how to create ideal customer profile


Let’s take this a step farther: Engage directly with customers yourself. (No, your outbound email campaign doesn’t count!)

This way, you’ll learn how they are using your product on a daily basis, the value they get from it – and insights for your product development team regarding what could make your product more effective.

All the reports and spreadsheets in the world won’t give you the insights of an personal conversation.

PRO TIP: Attend your customers’ sales kickoffs. Invite them to on-sites at your office. And if you’re at a conference or trade show, stop by and introduce yourself to every single customer on the floor!


5. Don’t forget to show the ROI

So It’s Your First Day as the CMO...


Two big historic problems for CMOs are 1.) tracking B2B data across different platforms, and 2.) tying marketing activities to revenue. But it can be done, and there are several ways to do it.

Proving the ROI of marketing – the team, and their budget – is always hard. As marketing gets a bigger piece of the pie with every year, part of your job is to justify your budget.

PRO TIP: Identify the data you need to set up a tracking system to deliver digestible analytics. If possible, tie marketing activities to close-won accounts: (Did your new client do a demo at a tradeshow? Did they fill out a form on your website?) Put a revenue number on the business your marketing team brings in to the company.

It’s not enough to simply record an MQL, pass it to sales, and consider your job complete.

As good sales and marketing teams become more aligned, marketing leaders are increasingly responsible for pipeline, conversion rates, and revenue. Many CMOs and their teams carry a number, just like the sales team.

If your new company isn’t yet asking these kinds questions, take initiative and start reporting marketing-sourced pipeline, conversion, and revenue numbers anyway.

Proving the return on investment is key to winning your CEO’s confidence – and ensuring that your first day is a good day – and only the first of many.

Discover what else can a new CMO do: 7 Quick Wins for Sales and Marketing Alignment


Let us know when you’re ready to start winning.



Cheer up. Check out the industry’s most reliable B2B contact data.


Katie Bullard
About the author

Katie Bullard

As Chief Growth Officer (CGO), Katie brings 15 years of marketing, product, and strategy experience in global, high-growth technology businesses to her role at DiscoverOrg. She has a bachelor’s and masters degree from the University of Virginia.