Growing startups are often on the hunt for the best and most effective way to grow their team. This especially applies to the search for quality executives to make up a C-suite team. Tech founders who have specialities in engineering or product development may struggle in particular to know when is the best time to hire a Chief Marketing Officer, or CMO, to help their startup sophisticate its brand voice and bolster its revenue and reputation.
As a tech PR and marketing agency that supports startups throughout all stages of funding and development, we’ve experienced a few CMOs in our day and have gathered some tips for making the right hire at the right time.
Large Series A Funding Round
If your startup brought in $10 million or more in Series A funding, you may be ready for a CMO. Your growth trajectory is likely such that your team has or will be ready to both support an experienced executive at their salary and build or expand a solid team around them.
Tech startup veteran and marketing advisor Mike Trigg recommends 10 people on the marketing team – either already on board or approved to be hired – as a rule of thumb before hiring a C-level executive for marketing. This way that person will have the team he or she needs to be successful from the start and yet still have influence over the long-term marketing strategy for the company.
With or without large funding to kickstart your startup, periods of rapid growth can signal the right timing for a leader to spearhead effective marketing to capitalize on your growth story. Case studies, webinars, speaking engagements and other avenues for marketing and PR crossover during a boom time in your business can be a meaningful way to build brand awareness and support the sales and revenue teams further.
When your company finds itself gaining traction in its target market, the work of the marketing team becomes more critical than ever. This is especially true once you’ve found your product-market fit, which will attract both customers and top talent because that executive will know your startup has moved past its discovery phase and now is laser-focused on its unique proposition in the market.
A strong CMO could lead your startup to stake its claim with the audience and start securing larger and more reputable clients. In tandem with good PR, through a tech PR agency or an in-house team of strategists, these marketing efforts can make waves throughout industry publications and see placements in tier one news outlets based on the credibility you’re gaining through this market traction.
Expanding Marketing Team
As your marketing efforts grow or lead generation efforts shift to the marketing team under a new company strategy, it’s important to have a senior leader to manage the team and take accountability for those revenue and marketing efforts. An experienced CMO with the right credentials for the scope of work laid out for them will be able to not only lead the marketing team but also innovate your approach to attracting and securing customers.
Ready for the Next Level
Perhaps your startup has been through Series A or B funding and has staked its claim in your market for some time now, but excitement or momentum is waning. Bringing in a C-level marketing executive at this phase can be the jolt your startup needs to propel itself to the next funding, acquisition, or IPO goal it has. Big picture thinking from a new CMO will invigorate the leadership team and encourage innovation at all stages of your startup.
Geographic Growth or Expansion
Lastly, if your startup is growing to new regions, expanding offices, or taking on an international perspective, hiring a CMO should be your next to-do item (if you don’t already have one). Big growth means big opportunity, and an experienced marketing pro will be your best bet for managing teams across different regions and with policy and market variance in your new zip codes.
Need some marketing help?
Swyft is a tech PR and marketing agency built to support startups like yours at any phase of business development. We’re ready to align with your new CMO or help stretch your marketing and PR capabilities as your team grows and takes on new challenges. To learn more about what Swyft can do for you, contact us.