In this week's newsletter: What Does a Good CMO Look Like?
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Scale Smarter #204
by Edwin Abl

Before you hire your next CMO / VP, read this:

What does a good CMO look like?

Now, on to this week's ideas...


Hey, it's Ed, and welcome to the weekend. Thank you for reading the Scale Smarter Newsletter — a once-a-week briefing with ideas from me, SaaS GTM insight and mindset tools for everyday life. This newsletter aims to provide you with actionable information in condensed form.


1. How to become a more humane leader

One to ponder 🧐

"Employees with leaders who show either wisdom or compassion have net positive experiences across the board. They enjoy and are engaged with their jobs and are less likely to burn out. But, when a leader demonstrates both wisdom and compassion, the impact on employee wellness and productivity is striking. Job satisfaction is 86% higher for an employee who works for a wise and compassionate leader than an employee who does not. In this case, the sum is much greater than the parts."

2. How to Articulate Clear Marketing Value for CEOs 

Many CEOs and CMOs I'm talking to feel like there's still a lot of opportunity to be more effective and efficient in what they DO have control of - smarter segmenting and targeting, more effective messaging, launching new products or to new audiences, using their data to inform decisions better, running more integrated campaigns to help marketing and sales sell better together.

It’s not all about cutting spending but more an optimisation of your GTM channels and building a focused marketing engine. 

3. The Most Common Reasons B2B Marketing Teams Fail

The demands of marketing teams in B2B SaaS marketing are getting harder and harder as the drive too fast scaling is all around us. Get these two elements functioning, and your potential for success will be tenfold. 



4. The Digital Reinvention of Enterprise Tech Go-to-Market.

In this new era of accelerated digital disruption, tech companies must rebuild their GTM models from the ground up. Leading players are innovating rapidly, but the shift remains in the early stages. Here is the digital reinvention of enterprise tech go-to-market. 

It breaks down these changes into four buckets: 

🟢 Reimagine sales coverage from top to bottom
🟢 Make every marketer a seller and every seller a marketer
🟢 Shift channel from scale to expertise
🟢 Embrace a life cycle approach to customer success

Read on. 

5. 2022 Revenue Per Employee Benchmarks for Private SaaS Companies

I have always used 'The Magic Number' when working in previous operational roles (well, it was the most popular with the CFO, or I'd recommend it).

Recently, I have seen more discussion on the metric of ARR per employee being the North Star efficiency metric you've been looking for. I'd read up about it. 

6. Scaling Content: Expanding from Bottom of Funnel Content to Top of Funnel

Most marketing teams struggle to execute a holistic content strategy. The reason is that most effort is geared towards the top of the funnel to drive brand awareness.

Most action is focused on the content programme to drive awareness with minimal consideration to "conversion".

Here is an interesting read on why you should re-think the value of bottom-of-the-funnel, focusing on buying topics.

Be different to your competition. 



7. [Book] Four Thousand Weeks by Oliver Burkeman

I hope everyone is enjoying the start of the new quarter or FY. After reconnecting with peers during the week, I know getting back into the flow can be hard. So, don't be too hard on being "super productive" from day one. Reading Four Thousand Weeks: Time Management for Mortals helps put a few things into perspective. 

Key Insight:"The real measure of any time management technique is whether or not it helps you neglect the right things."


Quote 204


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.



🤔 What Does a Good CMO Look Like?

Over the past decade, I have hired directly or with clients over 50+ marketers. 

That's got to be over 250+ interviews. 

It works out to spending around 87,600 hours working with marketers. 

But that's how long it took me to learn what makes a good CMO: 

Insight #1: They talk a lot about alignment with sales. 

A lot of marketers talk about MarTech, channels, campaigns and attribution. 

But I see the most successful CMOs (and marketing leaders) talk deeply about "alignment with sales." 

They are curious about the GTM relationship. 

Insight #2: You can feel their passion for building something great. 

For B2B SaaS to build scale, it needs short-term results and long-term leverage. 

The best brains think in parallel. 

• How to improve sales through marketing interventions? 
• What's your "brand building" process? 
• How do you bring the CEO on the journey with you? 

Insight #3: They understand the difference between strategy and tactics. 

One of the fundamental flaws is a focus on the wrong lens. 

Here's the difference:

Most bad B2B CMOs focus on...

• CRM or MarTech
• Attribution tech 
• Project management 
• Performance Marketing 
• Email Marketing 

But here's what good B2B CMOs focus on...

• Human psychology
• Category positioning 
• Pricing context
• Marketing that drives valuation 
• Marketing that drives revenue 

Strategy > tactics.

Insight #4: They are compelling communicators. 

One thing CMOs need to be good at is communicating. 

It means managing the CEO relationship effectively. 

It means managing comms to investors and boards effectively. 

It is being able to get people bought into your plan. 

It's presenting effective updates to the board (that isn't just a pipeline chart). They will learn how to understand what people want to hear from marketing. 

Insight #5: They bring great people with them. 

When a credible new CMO joins, they'll bring existing people. 

This is a good sign. 

If they don't within 90 days, assume they were not the best leader. 

The most outstanding marketing leaders have incredible teams. 

Insight #6: They are great at managing complex GTM motions. 

One of the hardest things with marketing is the complexity. 

The best CMOs do a great job of building the architectures of machines with their team. 

Breaking it down into goals, strategies, milestones and outputs. 

Then having simple roadmaps for others in the business to understand. 

They'll be clear on what "exactly" the plan is. 

Insight #7: They are resilient. 

There's a phrase. 

When everything is going well, the CRO gets praise. 

When everything goes wrong, it's the CMO's fault. 

Excellent CMOs deal with that dichotomy. 

So look for some longevity or journey with a business. 

That's my view.




Pitch: I'll give you proven playbook templates used by fast-growing teams and my experience scaling B2B marketing machines.

Take it for a test drive



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: Demand Karma helps B2B SaaS VCs validate investments, benchmark capabilities, and supercharge the 100-day plan—companies love complex, customers love simple, and VCs love that we make it simple.

(2) GTM COACH: Retained advising at funded scale-ups. A simple monthly fee. Helping CEOs build a scalable marketing machine. I'll help you fix your biggest challenges.

(3) MENTORING: Monthly coaching for marketing teams, CMOs / CROs / VPs, revenue teams and CEO insights for solving GTM problems. 

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 © 2023 Edwin Abl, All rights reserved.

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