When the going gets tough it may be time for a ‘crunch CMO’, says Susanne Pugsley.

Every now and again your firm will face a challenging BD and marketing situation, a tight spot where the in-house skills required might be missing or fall short. Perhaps a potential merger or one that isn’t quite on track, the departure (planned or otherwise) of your BD or marketing director, or a team that is not functioning correctly or is no longer fit for purpose.

Here, you need a CMO with a specialist skill set to get you over a hump but not one that will necessarily outstay their welcome – a crunch CMO.

A crunch CMO will have will have worked in a variety of firms and organisations and can quickly see where the issues lie. They can hit the ground running, assimilate and interpret large amounts of firm data, the financials, talent and target markets. They should have a strong understanding of not just business development and marketing, but also pricing and profitability alongside a wider market appreciation. Their appreciation, understanding and interpretation of the interactions of Risk, IT, Finance, Operations, Facilities and HR is essential.

Consider the following.

Your firm is looking to merge. To keep your professionals happy and your firm profitable and growing at the rate you desire, you need to have a solid infrastructure and business services departments working in concert to create and deliver a successful strategy for the firm.

When firms merge, a large investment must be made for it to succeed. This includes both commercial and cultural success. Whilst not an exhaustive list, your crunch CMO needs to be able to orchestrate across all areas in creating the new combined strategy and vision, generating the new staffing structure and rationalising the Martech platforms.

On the marketing side, the CMO will need to consider external and internal communication, the brand change (whether a takeover or merger, something will have to change for someone), website, intranet, events, mailing lists and budget.

On the BD side, they will need to consider business plans, pitching, credentials, billing processes, pricing, profitability, targets, sector focus, budget, ROI, measurement and remuneration.

The crunch CMO will also need to consider staffing the merged firm, including the role of the CMO. There is a lot to do.

Finite and defined

Unlike a fractional CMO, the crunch CMO provides a short sharp injection of experience when it is needed most. They are best used for a finite period with clearly defined outcomes and deliverables. This can be anything from six weeks to 18 months.

The crunch CMO is bound to ruffle a few feathers as nobody likes change, but it should be remembered they are only there because change is unavoidable. Yet there is no need to fear a crunch CMO. They are there to help you and your firm navigate a tough and challenging time.

About the author

Susanne Pugsley is a passionate and pragmatic business development specialist. A true change manager, she has helped many firms and individual partners in both law and accountancy firms to create workable strategies to realise their business development and marketing goals during challenging situations. Visit www.pugsleysidwell.com


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