Gaining Momentum in Your First 100 days: Essential Strategies for New CMOs

Gaining Momentum in Your First 100 days: Essential Strategies for New CMOs

Co-written by Aventi Group COO and co-founder Sridhar Ramanathan and partner Dave Panek

The Strategic Imperative of Starting Strong

As a newly appointed Chief Marketing Officer, it’s essential to hit the ground running. The path you carve out in your first few months is crucial for your role and meeting your organization’s broader objectives. It’s well-documented that CMOs who quickly start strong are better positioned to build trust and drive sustained growth within their companies​​. 

Of course, choosing which of many possible actions to start with can seem daunting. In this blog post, we will walk you through how people, process, and initiatives can set you up for both quick wins and momentum building.

People: Crafting a Vision and Empowering Teams

Your first order of business: focus on the people within your organization, both on your team and outside of it. 

As the new CMO, your immediate focus should be on developing a strategic vision for the marketing department that aligns closely with the organization’s overall business objectives. This vision involves understanding your team’s existing roles and capabilities and reshaping them to propel your agenda forward, emphasizing deep, specialized expertise to foster a mindset of sustained growth. 

Simultaneously, it is crucial to transform the marketing culture to one of kindness and empowerment, where best practices and rapid execution are at the core––like Satya Nadella is known for. This cultural shift will enable your team to act decisively, innovate continuously, and drive significant early wins as an engaged team. By empowering your team and aligning their efforts with a clearly communicated vision, you set the stage for long-term success in a dynamic market environment.

Working to build strong relationships with other C-suite leaders, such as the Chief Revenue Officer (CRO) and Vice President of Sales, is also essential to start right away. Doing so will facilitate a unified approach to company goals, enhancing the effectiveness of marketing initiatives​. A McKinsey study found that the relationship between CEOs and CMOs––particularly how they defined marketing’s role and remit to shape growth strategy––was highly correlated to their companies’ performance.

Process: Aligning Operations and Demonstrating Value

Implementing an effective RACI matrix is crucial for clarifying roles and responsibilities within the marketing team, ensuring everyone understands their specific duties in alignment with broader marketing goals. Surprisingly, only about 40% of marketers have a documented content marketing strategy, highlighting a significant gap where many teams operate without a strategic framework, leading to potential inefficiencies and misaligned objectives.

To address these challenges, it’s essential to critically assess and redefine your operational areas. For instance, ensure that product marketing is not merely focused on executing tactical tasks like copywriting but is effectively leading product-based go-to-market initiatives as the quarterback. Consider what processes need to be stopped, started, or continued. For example, develop a tiering strategy for product launches that prioritizes projects based on their revenue potential and strategic importance.

Furthermore, establishing a comprehensive metrics system is key. This should include both short-term indicators of success, such as pipeline influence, customer acquisition cost (CAC), and sales team satisfaction, as well as long-term metrics like total revenue, revenue influence, pipeline acceleration, and customer lifetime value (LTV). These metrics will not only help in highlighting quick wins but also in maintaining momentum and aligning long-term strategic goals with day-to-day activities, enhancing the overall partnership between sales and marketing through consistent support of the sales journey.

Initiatives: Driving Growth Through Targeted Strategies

Understanding your ideal customer profile (ICP) and growth target areas is fundamental in guiding your strategic initiatives. Companies that invest in a well-defined ICP achieve compelling business results, including: 

  • Faster sales cycles
  • Higher conversion rates
  • Greater average ACV and LTV

Implementing AI tools and frameworks can also significantly enhance productivity and optimize communication strategies. Such technologies are crucial for effectively scaling marketing efforts and ensuring your messaging resonates with the intended audience. 

Furthermore, prioritizing your marketing spend on identifying and filling gaps in the sales funnel—whether that involves generating new leads, accelerating existing opportunities, or converting stalled ones—is crucial. Questions like “Do we need more hot leads?”, “Should we focus on accelerating current leads?”, or “How do we convert stalled opportunities?” are central to this strategy.

To deliver these objectives effectively, consider the strategic use of battlecards, playbooks, and updated pitch decks. These tools are designed to provide quick wins for the sales team, helping to accelerate even lost or stalled opportunities by equipping them with the information and strategies they need to succeed.

How to Get There: Fast Tracking Success

Given that traditional hiring processes can be lengthy—often taking up to six months from posting a job to onboarding—hiring specialized talent that can immediately jump in and drive projects is critical. These individuals should have the expertise to not only focus on what matters but also quickly align the organization around key projects that stimulate growth across ICPs, target markets, messaging, marketing content, and sales enablement.

Moreover, demand generation programs and campaigns that drive real pipeline growth within your ICP are essential. Such initiatives must not just fill the funnel but ensure that it leads to actual sales, effectively turning prospects into loyal customers.

By focusing on these areas, you can significantly enhance your department’s productivity and efficacy, leading to sustained growth and a strong competitive edge in the market.

Case Study: Neo4j and Aventi Group Partnership

Since spring 2023, Neo4j has engaged Aventi Group in a strategic partnership aimed at propelling their marketing and sales initiatives to new heights. This collaboration focuses on key areas such as fraud detection and financial services, where Aventi has developed tailored marketing strategies and sales enablement tools. These tools include playbooks, ebooks, and pitch decks, specifically designed to enhance Neo4j’s outreach and customer engagement efforts. By integrating Aventi’s market insights and tactical expertise, Neo4j has significantly enhanced its sales training and enablement, which has been pivotal in accelerating its sales pipeline and expanding its market reach.

The Road to Quick Wins and Sustained Impact

Achieving quick wins as a new CMO involves more than just setting up the right team and processes; it requires a focus on impactful, measurable initiatives that align closely with both short-term needs and long-term business goals. By strategically hiring specialized talent, focusing on core areas like ICP and messaging, and leveraging data-driven insights, you can ensure that your tenure as CMO starts off on the strongest possible footing and maintains momentum for future growth.

Ready to transform your marketing leadership journey as a newly appointed CMO? Reach out to Aventi Group to take the first step toward driving impactful change in your organization!

Written By

Dave Panek

Dave has over 25 years in various marketing and product marketing leadership roles with high growth MarTech and AdTech companies. As the Global VP of Product Marketing for Epsilon, he led go-to-market and portfolio marketing growth for their data, media, and marketing solutions. Previously, he was SVP Marketing at Aprimo where he built marketing from the ground up as a content-driven, customer-centric growth engine. He has also held product marketing leadership roles at Teradata, IBM, Oracle as well as high growth startups.