In this week's newsletter:  Stop Wondering What Questions To Ask When Hiring a VP Marketing/ CMO
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Weekly Briefing No. 190
by Edwin Abl

Hey — It's Ed. Welcome to my weekly briefing. 

Quick Reminder: You are receiving this email because you subscribed to my weekly newsletter. It's not a link dump of "hey, here's what I'm listening to and reading." It's 7+ articles, with summaries, notes, views, and commentary, spanning topics on leadership, B2B SaaS marketing, SaaS GTM, sales, well-being, or other interesting finds from around the web. Occasionally, I send long-form articles on leadership, marketing, and personal growth.

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==> Good grief, it’s December. Here’s what I thought was worth sharing 

  • My entire "Marketing Machine Curriculum."
  • A book summary of the 'Coach's Casebook." 
  • How to work effectively when overwhelmed. 
Thank you for subscribing 🙏. 


1. I have a special gift for my newsletter subscribers. Here is a draft copy of what I’m calling the “Marketing Machine Curriculum”, which covers all my blogs, newsletters, helpful templates and more… 

🤔 What’s inside: 

→ 100+ blog posts on marketing, SaaS, mindset and personal development 
→ 188 weekly briefings 
→ ABM playbook 
→ Course: Pathway to CMO (launching soon) 
→ An appendix with 50+ frameworks 

Here is your UNIQUE URL
(Please make a copy if you want to save it in your drive)

2. Self-coaching is a powerful tool for managing your mindset and performance. But not easy to do. A friend recommended the book ‘Coach’s Casebook’ a few years ago to me. At the time, I was reading to help improve my coaching skills with paid clients.

However, I found some of the thinking and scenarios perfect to use in a self-reflective capacity. To do this, I took notes from the book (which is long, I’ll add) to turn back and re-read as needed. If you want to review, use the materials or read my book summary, you’ll find a copy here

Let me know how you get on. 

The Coach’s Casebook: My Book Summary 
(Please make a copy if you want to save it in your drive)

3. I’m reading: Writing Tools by Roy Peter Clark. Why? , I believe that writing is at the core of most of what we do day-to-day.

The better you can write, the more it helps your mind, your communication skills, and how to influence (in a good way), and well, it’s powerful to be good with words in your professional life. 



4. Many of my clients are looking to hire for FY23, either in a Fractional or Permanent capacity, right now. I wrote about what type of marketer you need for each growth stage a few months ago.

Re-read for a refresh.

But at the same time, Openview released a concise and insightful lens on hiring the right CMO/VP of marketing and avoiding the common trap: wanting the perfect hire. 

5. Here’s why Product Qualified Accounts (PQAs) are >>> Product Qualified Leads (PQLs).

6. From the archives: I have always held this belief (when brand building for SaaS), you need to consider the concept of “building a likeable brand”. I made up or copied it from somewhere, but I am unsure where. You can see how I wrote about that in 2018 here

Seth Godin’s The likeable brand (or person) take is more simplistic; he calls out, “It’s simple: Like your customers, and they’re more likely to like you back.” An interesting perspective is how to build engagement with your customers or audience. 



7. How to work effectively when you're overwhelmed. It covers a practical summary of making self-care a priority. What do you need to do to get your mental energy where you want it to be effective and focused? If we can’t get this fundamental thing down, then we can’t create what we want to create in the world.

It could mean prioritising:

💚 Rest and recovery
💚 Spaciousness
💚 Exercise
💚 Eating well
💚 Something comforting like a hot shower, hot tea, or hugs from a loved one
💚 Loving yourself compassionately



One more thing...Thanks for reading.

Enjoy your day. And if you like this newsletter and want to support it, forward it to a friend 🤝, tweet me 👏, or if you’re seeing this newsletter for the first time, you can subscribe here.



 🤔 Stop Wondering What Questions To Ask When Hiring a VP Marketing/ CMO 

CEOs and investors often don't understand the nuts and bolts of marketing. It means when interviewing; it becomes a sort of "unknown unknown". To help on that front, I have collated a set of questions you should be asking. 


  • What are the top 3 things we should upgrade in marketing? 
  • What “commit” did you hold in your last roles?  How much of it did you meet? 
  • How have you worked with the sales team in the past? 
  • What should our marketing budget be?
  • How big a team do we need?  
  • What have you done to increase win rates? 
  • What should we do to market to each of our top 3 segments?
  • What agencies would you bring in to help us?
  • How much should we focus on building up brand and product awareness?
  • What sort of customer marketing should we do? 


  • How did the culture at your last company empower or disempower you?
  • What were the characteristics of the best boss you’ve ever had?
  • Describe how you’ve had a conflict with a co-worker. 
  • What kind of feedback do you expect in this role, and how often do you expect it 


  • What type of metrics did you use to measure your performance?
  • Pretend you have a funnel showing 10,000 website visitors, 500 leads, 50 opportunities, and ten new enterprise customers. What are the levers or things you suggest to improve those marketing metrics? 
  • Keeping it high level, can you describe the lead management process at your current company; how did you model the marketing funnel, what are its different stages, and how is the handoff to the sales team (field, inside sales, SDR etc.)?
  • What’s the conversion rate from marketing/automated generated lead to opportunity/sales qualified lead? And where in your marketing funnel do you think there is an opportunity for improvement?
  • Do you measure your marketing sourced pipeline? If so, how much of the marketing team generates a month, and what per cent of the sales pipeline does this represent?
  • How much time does it take, on average, for a marketing-qualified lead to convert into an opportunity or sales-qualified lead? How do you work with the sales team and inside sales team? How compliant are they with the SLA? What feedback do they have on the process?
  • What’s your cost per opportunity?
  • What do you think about campaigns? What’s your framework for developing campaigns? What are some of the main/overarching campaigns running currently at your company?
  • Can you describe your marketing campaign planning process?
  • How is your team at your current company organised, and why?
  • How do you build your marketing budget and allocate your marketing mix?
  • What are your target customer segments?
  • How do you set goals for yourself, your team, and team members, and what do these goals look like?


Download my ABM (LITE) PLaybook

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This newsletter is my passion project. I hope it helps you gain deeper insight and equips you to learn at the pace needed to keep up. Many readers have asked about how we can work together. In case you’re interested, I do three things.

(1) DUE DILIGENCE FOR INVESTORS & CEOs: A bespoke framework and capability model ‘DEMAND KARMA’ that delivers DD services to investors, VC firms and CEOs. 

(2) ADVISORY: Retained advisory at funded scale-ups. A simple monthly fee. Helping CEOs build a scalable marketing machine.

(3) MENTORING: Designed for people looking to get to the next level — Director, VP and new CxO. My sweet spot is helping to mentor developing VPs / "Head of"  / aspiring leaders to step into the CxO role.

If you’re interested, let’s jump on a call to see if you’re a good fit. 

Click here to schedule a call.
Copyright © 2020 Edwin Abl, All rights reserved.

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Edwin Abl · 32 Lavender Sweep · London, London SW11 1HA · United Kingdom