A Tech CMO's first 90-Day Action Plan at their new job: Laying the Framework for Lasting Success

In the first 90 days as a tech CMO, focus on immersion, understanding, and action. Assess, engage stakeholders, and secure a measurable first win in the initial 30 days. Then, implement strategic campaigns and optimize tech stacks for the next 30 days. Finally, scale successful initiatives, refine processes, and foster a culture of agility and learning in the last 30 days. This ensures alignment with company goals, effective audience engagement, and immediate results.
Shankar Ganapathy
Co-Founder, BuyerAssist.io
Apr 23, 2024
3 min

read

Stepping into the shoes of a new Chief Marketing Officer job, you're smack in the middle of excitement and a bit of trepidation. The first three months? Absolutely pivotal. It's a brief window to make a tangible imprint—not just chasing quick wins but laying down a blueprint for enduring success.

Drawing on a blend of fresh insights and solid strategies, the below checklist is a summary of what I learned as the first 90-day best practices from over 2 dozen CMOs over the past year let’s walk through a game plan tailored for any CMO-ready to leave their mark on the tech world right from the get-go.

The First 30 Days: Foundation Building

Objective: Immersion and Understanding

Your initial month is your learning curve - use it wisely to immerse yourself thoroughly in every facet of the business. This phase is about listening, understanding, and integrating into the company's culture and operational dynamics.

Key Actions to Undertake:

  • Assessment: Begin with a comprehensive review of the existing marketing strategies and tools. Analyze what metrics are currently being tracked and how they correlate with the company's broader goals.
  • Stakeholder Engagement: It's imperative to build relationships with key stakeholders across the company. Engage in deep-dive conversations with sales, product teams, and customer service to understand their perspectives and pain points.
  • Market Familiarization: Gain a ground-level view of the competitive landscape. Who are the key players, and what strategies are they employing? Similarly, develop a nuanced understanding of your customer base - what drives them?
  • Identify your first win: Your first measurable win sets the stage It’s important to identify a small, achievable goal that will help you build momentum. This could be anything from increasing pipeline velocity by 5% to reducing churn by 10%. Once you’ve achieved this first win, celebrate it and share the results with your team.

Tailored Insights:

Do not overlook the power of data in these initial conversations. One of our customer CMOs famously said that marketing teams have more tools than people. This also means there is more data to digest than humanly possible. Identify the right metrics and make sure to get your marketing operations to build the right dashboards to give you visibility into that.

The Next 30 Days: Strategic Implementation

Objective: Launch and Learn

With a solid understanding in place, the next step is to start launching strategic initiatives. This stage is about applying your newfound knowledge and beginning to test the waters with tactical campaigns aimed at quick wins and insights for long-term strategies.

Key Actions to Undertake:

  • Pilot Campaigns: Identify opportunities for quick wins through pilot campaigns. This is crucial for not only proving the efficacy of the marketing department but also for gathering real-world data to inform future strategies. One of the most popular programs that new-age CMOs introduce is champion job change tracking and engagement campaigns. At any given point of time, your sales team hasn't engaged with 20-50% of past customers at their new jobs and this is a low-hanging fruit that can deliver an instant boost to the sales pipeline.
  • Optimize the Tech Stack: Based on your assessment, identify needed adjustments in your marketing technology stack. This could mean investing in new tools or refining how existing platforms are used to improve efficiency and results. Don't be afraid to cull shelfware.
  • Content Strategy Alignment: Start refining the content strategy to ensure it's aligned with your target customer's needs and journey, leveraging insights gained from your initial research.

Tailored Insights:

Keep the feedback loop open. Real-time responses and data from these early implementations can offer critical insights that refine your ongoing strategy.

The Final 30 Days: Scaling and Optimizing

Objective: Set the Stage for Scalable Growth

The concluding phase of your first 90 days should focus on evaluating the outcomes of your initial strategies and preparing for scaling. This period is about solidifying what works and learning from what doesn’t.

Key Actions to Undertake:

  • Deploy first 1-2 initiatives/wins: Making sure that the top 1-2 identified programs are deployed in the first 90 days builds confidence in your execution abilities with the rest of the leadership and board. If pipegen is your top priority, champion job change tracking and engagement programs can be deployed in 2 weeks and you can deliver in-quarter revenue impact.
  • Review and Refine: Conduct a thorough analysis of the outcomes of your initial campaigns. What succeeded? What failed? This will guide you in scaling the successful initiatives.
  • Establish Scalable Processes: Begin laying the groundwork for processes that can grow with your campaigns. This includes automating workflows and ensuring your team structure supports scalability.
  • Forward Planning: With the insights gained, start planning your long-term strategies. This should include expanding successful campaigns and exploring new market opportunities.

Tailored Insights:

Cultivate a culture of agility and learning within your team. The ability to rapidly iterate based on results and market shifts is a competitive advantage in the tech industry.

Conclusion

The first 90 days in the role of a CMO at a new company are about laying a foundation built on strategic insights, targeted action, and an eye toward scalable growth. By methodically structuring your entry into the role through a phased approach of learning, implementing, and optimizing, you set both yourself and your company on a path toward achieving not just immediate marketing successes but sustainable business growth. Remember, the ultimate goal of your initial 90-day strategy is to build a robust marketing framework that aligns with the company’s vision, engages effectively with its target audience, and drives measurable results. But in this pursuit, dont forget to deliver your first win during those 90 days.

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