If you’re rising through the ranks as a marketer, especially if you came up through the “traditional” path…
You’re probably focused on building skills like digital marketing, demand generation, communications, public relations, etc.
But what if I told you that “non-marketing” skills are in some ways even more important to your long-term success as a marketer?
Don’t get me wrong… your chops as a marketer definitely still matter.
But in order to really rise through the ranks, there are some key “extracurriculars” that can really accelerate your path to the C-suite.
Read on to discover how varied experience and a revenue-focused approach can contribute to your marketing success.
Varied experience: The key to marketing prowess
You might be surprised to learn that some of the most successful marketers actually have non-traditional “marketing” background.
In fact, some of the most successful marketing leaders have risen through the ranks of finance, sales, and product management. So… what gives?
Here’s the secret they won’t tell you in that expensive marketing MBA program…
Varied experience lets you gain a holistic understanding of business. And that understanding lets you do a few critical things to stand out from other marketers:
Understand business priorities: Experience in finance can give you insight into budget management and the concerns of your CFO. This understanding can shape your marketing strategies and ensure they align with key business objectives.
Empathize with sales teams: Sales experience provides firsthand knowledge of the challenges faced by your sales team. This empowers you to create marketing campaigns that generate high-quality leads and make the jobs of your salespeople easier.
Address customer needs: A product management background can give you a deep understanding of customer needs and the customer journey. You can leverage this knowledge to craft messaging and positioning that resonates with target audiences.
Don’t get stuck in the marketing silo. By taking time in your career to get intimate with the different facets of running and growing a business, it can pay dividends.
A revenue-focused approach: the cornerstone of marketing success
Most CEOs believe marketing should focus on driving revenue and supporting business growth. This revenue-focused approach is fundamental to the career trajectories of most successful CMOs.
Here’s how this mindset can help you win:
Align with business goals: A revenue-first mindset ensures that all marketing initiatives contribute to key performance indicators and the company’s bottom line. (Without this, you’re making a lot of pretty pictures that don’t show up on the EBITDA report. 🙂)
Optimize the customer journey: By understanding the customer journey from acquisition to churn, you can implement marketing strategies to attract high-quality leads, increase conversion rates, and reduce customer churn. This data-driven approach allows you and your team to make a measurable impact.
Collaborate with sales: Work closely with your sales teams to generate leads that convert into sales. This collaboration is instrumental in driving revenue through coordinated marketing and sales efforts.
The North Star for any business is profitable revenue. When you align your marketing efforts accordingly, you’re speaking the language of business and your C-suite.
The power of curiosity and continuous learning
Intellectual curiosity is essential for success in marketing. This curiosity drives marketers to expand their knowledge in key areas:
Understand the business: Curious marketers seek to understand all areas of the business, including product, sales, and finance. This understanding empowers marketers to make strategic decisions that support company-wide goals.
Stay on the cutting edge: The marketing landscape is constantly changing, so lifelong learning is a must. Curious marketers stay up-to-date with trends in marketing technology, channels, and strategies to optimize their campaigns (before competitors catch on.)
Continuous growth: Curious marketers are passionate about expanding their skills and becoming stronger in their roles. They continuously learn and improve to reach their full potential and advance in their careers.
Are you asking questions and being curious in your role? If not, it’s time to sharpen the saw.
Leveraging sales experience & why it matters in marketing
Of all background experiences a marketer can have, probably the most important is sales. Sales experience provides unique benefits for marketing professionals that other backgrounds may lack:
Understand the customer journey: Sales experience provides insight into the full customer lifecycle from acquisition to churn. This understanding of the customer journey helps marketers implement impactful strategies to attract and retain the right customers.
Master messaging and persuasion: Successful salespeople have a gift for pitching products and closing deals. This ability translates well to marketing, where persuasion and persuasive messaging are necessary skills (AKA “sales at scale”).
Support sales teams: Marketers with sales experience have a deeper understanding of the challenges faced by sales teams and can develop marketing campaigns to support sales efforts more effectively. This teamwork and empathy drive greater business success.
If you as a marketer can empathize with and understand sales, solving for the needs of sales becomes natural. “Sales and marketing alignment” becomes almost second nature instead of an ongoing struggle.
The skills to pay the marketing bills (are not what you think)
Diverse experience in various business functions is instrumental to success as a marketer in the long term… especially if you aspire to the CMO seat.
Intellectual curiosity, passion for continuous learning, and revenue-focused approach will enable you to gain a holistic understanding of the business and implement marketing strategies that drive measurable growth.
You’ll also learn how to genuinely foster cross-functional experience and collaboration. In doing so, marketers can reach their full potential and make a greater impact.
Would you like to learn more and continue your process of becoming the best CMO you can be? Listen to this full episode of The Revenue-Driven CMO to discover the newest insights from each week’s episode!
Eager to learn more about digital marketing? Register for our next monthly Growth Clinic, where you’ll hear about the latest and greatest digital marketing tips and their effects on your company’s growth.
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