What skills should your SaaS Marketing Director/CMO have?

Paper qualifications not enough on their own

Executive level marketing skills are an essential pre-requisite for a marketing lead in a SaaS company.

On paper at least, many director-level marketers are qualified to fulfil the marketing lead role in a cloud software tech company; but just having an appropriate set of marketing qualifications is seldom enough to prove an applicant is a good fit.

In addition to their knowledge of marketing, ideally, a CMO needs to have two other essential experiential elements:

  • Applicants need to have worked in SaaS/tech companies, preferably more than one and at a senior level (not just a marketing assistant looking to move up)
  • Any prospect should have gained their stripes in the industry, business vertical or segment(s) you are targeting (e.g. Gaming, Healthcare, B2B, Financial, etc.)

Thinking and acting strategically

The reason we want experience in a senior role is that an applicant presenting this is likely to have proven their ability to perform this part of the CMO’s remit successfully. They need to have demonstrated the ability to think and act strategically.

Strategic skills include the ability to formulate, articulate and write a marketing strategy. This needs to include all the necessary elements, including:

  • The business
  • Marketing approach
  • Targets
  • Competitors
  • Target market
  • USP/positioning
  • Key messaging
  • Website plan
  • Marketing action plans
  • Month by month plan
  • Budget
  • Who executes marketing?

Marketing leadership

The last item above sets out the responsibilities for how marketing is carried out. This is about leadership and showing the ability to build, guide and perhaps mentor a team.

The CMO needs to be explicit in saying what resource is needed to help execute the strategy. Ultimately, the CMO needs to manage the delivery of marketing through the selection of freelancers, contract and permanent hires or outsourcing to a marketing agency.

Marketing channel knowledge

It is very advantageous that an applicant for your CMO position has excellent command of marketing channels, especially digital. This is a combination of paper-based qualification as well as real-world experience of working the channels. The ability to create and execute multi-channel campaigns is desirable, as maximising the returns from natural, organic and low-cost marketing, such as SEO and longtail keyword search

The elevator CMO job description

Perhaps the elevator job description is to simply state that you want “Someone who is proven, someone that has been there and done it before.” There are many people who can talk a good game and project the image and convey the impression that they know what they are talking about.

To prevent you making a costly hiring mistake, of course, applicants that present as ideal candidates will have to come with a track record that can be verified.

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