The Latest from the ABM Experts
May 26, 2020
How CMOs Lead in Uncertain Times
Written by Sangram Vajre
Think about the most famous leaders in history.
Were any of them known for leading through easy times?
Responding to crises is what defines a leader. How will you respond?
On the latest episode, I am joined by 2 incredible CMOs who have a ton of great tips for how you can better lead your marketing teams through this unprecedented time.
Be a revenue center
Meagen: If you haven’t proven yourself as a revenue center now, it’s going to be hard to flip that switch. But, in life and in general, you need to figure that out in marketing. So, you may as well start now.
As leaders, we have to provide a sense of hope while also being realistic and direct.
Everyone in marketing and sales learned how to use our chat system. We’re all live chat agents. We saw a 700% surge. So, we’re all on standby if we need to step in and support our agents in the field.
Our standard times are under 30 seconds. And what I’ve been really impressed by is their ability to keep it down under 5 minutes with the volume we have now.
Ryan: To Meagen’s point, we’re really trying to refocus all our efforts on how we can be as much of a revenue center as possible for our sales teams.
It’s still early days, but we’re seeing some deals delays where we would have seen that in the past. Folks aren’t sure what’s happening with their own revenues, so they might be less likely to sign new contracts.
What message do you want to send?
Meagen: What’s the messaging you have on your website?
Two weeks ago we were “the best experience in business travel.” But right now, there’s no good experience in business travel.
You need to reposition and message.
In the last four or five days, we did 10 months of work as a marketing team. We rewrote the entire website and we rewrote all our nurture cadences.
Think about all the emails you’ve been getting from different companies. We’re rewriting that and a new sales deck. We had to have a sales pitch for today’s era.
You need to really quickly audit all your content. Think about what’s out there.
How horrible would it be if you put an automated message out there that was no longer relevant and someone posted it on the internet, saying “look at this clueless, tone-deaf company.”
Ryan: We’ve reallocated resources in order to create more content for our sales team to be able to connect with people in these uncertain times.
Typically, we have fun and positive messages around how we drive demand gen. But all of that needed to be audited to make sure it was sensitive to what is going on right now.
We do these “G2 Gives” campaigns where we donate $10 to a charity if you leave a review on G2. But we’ve done these in times where tensions have been at their highest — during the Australian bushfires, for example — and gotten a lot of pushback from people thinking we’re benefiting from the crisis.
I pushed back on leadership who wanted to a G2 Gives campaign for this because this is taking something like the bushfires to a whole new level. People’s lives are at risk.
Instead, I suggested we give away G2 Track, which allows companies to be able to quickly analyze their software spend.
For businesses around the world, the last thing they want to do is let go of people in these trying times. So, if they can let go of some software spend, that’s much better.
Embrace the unknown to lead through it
Meagen: Your leadership team needs to be agile, think through the current environment and pivot really quickly. This is a time to take care of your customers and build brand affinity.
If you deliver on your promise and are there for your customers, you’ll build an incredible base that’s going to stick with you
Think about 9/11 or the financial crisis. Many companies didn’t make it through those.
But the ones that did came out stronger.
This is not a time to sit back. This is a time to dive in and figure out what you need to do as a leader to lead your marketing team through this and be relevant to your customers.
Ryan: Now is not the time to stick to the standard schedule — whether that means doing daily standups or different types of check-ins with your team at different times.
But my other challenge to folks is to, while being super agile to what your business needs and connecting with everyone, also connect with yourself.
For example, I have to get 60 minutes in the middle of the day to get a Peloton workout at home because I need that for my mental health. Knowing what your limits are is really important in times like these.
You won’t be able to show up as your best self for anyone if you don’t make sure you are taking care of yourself and your family.
This post is based on a podcast with Meagen Eisenberg and Ryan Bonnici. If you’d like to listen to the full episode, you can check it out here. For more episodes like this, subscribe to the FlipMyFunnel podcast in your favorite player.