Hired: Identifying Resources and Gaps

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It’s your first day as the new CMO of a SaaS company with aggressive growth goals. Where do you start? Yours, your team's and company's resources are already allotted, limited, or — worse yet — non-existent. After a review, CMOs may find that what marketing budget exists doesn’t align with company objectives. On top of creating or managing a marketing strategy and digital program, there's the added challenge to demonstrate to the CEO that you're a responsible steward of people, time, and budget.

Tune in to the B2B Marketing Brief podcast as we kick off "Hired," our mini-series detailing what it's like to be a new CMO, and unpack the intricacies of assessing existing marketing resources and identifying gaps. This episode features an interview with Jordan Kendall, president of advisory at Security Compass. Join B2B Marketing Brief host John Walker as Jordan shares insights from his extensive 30-year career building, managing, and motivating sales and marketing teams at world-class organizations, including Aon, PwC, and Deloitte. 

 

 

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Transcript:

John Walker: Welcome to Hired. I'm John Walker. So you are a new CMO. Where do you start, when resources may be already allocated or limited? Plus, there's the added challenge to demonstrate to your boss that you're a responsible manager of people, their time and the budget. Kicking off our mini series, we'll unpack all there is to know about assessing existing marketing resources and identifying gaps. 

Samantha Spoto: You're listening to hired a B2B marketing brief mini series that explores what it's like to be a new CMO at a Sas company. Each episode tackles a subject inspired by the unique challenges and goals of B2B marketing teams. I'm your co-host, Samantha Spoto.

Samantha Spoto: John Walker. 

John Walker: Hey, Samantha, how are you? 

Samantha Spoto: I'm doing well. How are you? 

John Walker: Episode one of the B2B marketing brief this is a big day. 

Samantha Spoto: Is this not so exciting? 

John Walker: It sure is. 

Samantha Spoto: I am so ready to talk about being a new CMO. And I know that you have some experience in your past as a CMO. So can you just talk a little bit about that? 

John Walker: It's a topic near and dear to my heart, Samantha. Thank you for asking. 

Samantha Spoto: Yeah so what was your experience? Who were you working with and what was your role? 

John Walker: I was head of marketing for a family owned media company in Pennsylvania, and I can relate to every new CMO. You're walking into a new organization. You're trying to figure it out. You're looking at what's working. You're you're trying to understand who the important relationships to have are. And really, it comes down to doing an assessment at the beginning and saying, OK, how does this organization work? What's working well and how are things going in terms of people, technology resources and really then trying to understand the customer base? 

Samantha Spoto: That sounds like a really big job to do. How do you do that without feeling overwhelmed when you first come in? 

John Walker: Well, you do feel overwhelmed. I remember feeling quite overwhelmed, but the solace there was the relationships, and the first thing that I tried to do was build relationships with a wide variety of people throughout the organization and really try to understand who they were, where they're coming from and what made them tick. And so as I started to understand the people and get to know the people, I started to build trust and that was reassuring for me. And it may have been reassuring for them to know that I was going to be humble enough to listen and try to understand before I began to sort of cast a vision for where I thought the organization should go. 

Samantha Spoto: And so what if you come across the issue of they don't have the resources to make these changes? How can you implement something that still has a positive change? 

John Walker: It was a matter of assessing what was possible within the resources that they had, and there were certainly areas where the organization didn't have the resources and we couldn't move as quickly or as dramatically in the direction that we want it to go. But what I tried to do was have a wide impact and impact as many critical areas as possible and as many critical areas as had the resources in the appetite to move forward. But there were definitely areas where it was very hard to make progress, either because people and processes were really ingrained or because the organization just didn't have the resources to make positive movement in certain areas. 

Samantha Spoto: Yeah, I think you hit on a really great point with assess what is possible, and I think that is a great jumping off point for our conversation today for the first episode of hired. So can you tell us a little bit about who we're talking to today? 

John Walker: Yes, I'm very excited to be speaking with Jordan Kendall. Jordan is the current president of Security Compass, but most of our conversation is going to focus on his time as the CMO of Stroz Friedberg, a New York based risk management firm. So we're very pleased to have Jordan with us, and I can't wait to interview him. 

Samantha Spoto: All right. Well, with that, let's jump right in. And now here is John speaking with Jordan Kendall.

John Walker: Today I'm pleased to be speaking with Jordan Kendall from Security Compass. Welcome Jordan.

Jordan Kendall: Great to meet you. Glad to be here.

John Walker: It's great to have you on the show. We appreciate you making time. Today's show is focused on what it's to be the CMO of a SAS company and specifically what it's like when you're just starting out. We're going to roll the clock back to when you started as CMO of Stroz Friedberg. Do you mind going back to that time?

Jordan Kendall: Sure. Yeah. I had just come out of four years at PWC in a sales and marketing leadership role for their New York office. Very intense, very financial services oriented and was looking to get into a smaller pond, take that big company experience I had and apply it in a place where I felt I could make more impact. Stroz came knocking. I had great discussions with all the folks there. We were able to make a match. I got started around 2014, came in, had a small department that I inherited from the previous CMO and a mandate to do some pretty big important things that they were looking to accomplish. It was a big leap in terms of the level of accountability for what I was going to do and a really exciting challenge.

John Walker: All right. Sounds like heady times. You've got a heavy lift ahead of you. You've got some pressure on you. Talk to me a little bit about what type of expectations there were, where those expectations were coming from and your assessment of the resources at your disposal to get the team to where it needed to be.

Jordan Kendall: It's a great question. In terms of expectations, they were exceedingly high. Small company with a lot of big personalities, very, very successful, high intensity people, including the CEO who had been a very senior person at McKinsey which is certainly known for having very smart and driven people. I was reporting directly to him. He made it very clear on day one that he felt the department needed a bit of a dusting off in terms of resources, so I immediately got focused on that. But I spoke to every one of the department leaders in the company within the first couple of weeks that I was there and each of them had a slightly different, but no less demanding expectation for marketing. I think they all felt they had been underserved for quite a period of time and they all had very different ideas of what marketing success looked like.

Jordan Kendall: I spent lot of time upfront building rapport, asking questions, trying to understand where they were all coming from, so I could synthesize it into a coherent strategy that I could actually execute rather than trying to service everyone's needs in seven or eight different strategies.

Jordan Kendall: In terms of the resources in the department, when I got there and marketing was very event and communications focused, which is not unusual I find, even in big companies I've worked at, as they move up the marketing maturity curve, they get much more aligned with the buyer's journey. But a lot of these companies, when I've come into them, it's very marcomms focused. And so that was the case here. I had a head of marketing who had been there for a very long time and had a lot of established procedures and rules, I would say. There was a head of PR who looked very angry at me all the time. It's a little scary. And then to more junior resources who were really excited, I felt to have someone new coming in and an opportunity to just try some different things. I did a lot to try to work with the existing team for the first month, six weeks that I was there.

Jordan Kendall: But it became clear pretty quickly that we were on totally different pages about what success looked like and that it wasn't going to be able to evolve. They'd been there a very long time. They had a very established way of doing things and that it was either their way or the wrong way. We got to a point pretty quickly where we decided to part ways with the two senior people, the two junior people stuck around. One of them works for Beacon or did work for Beacon at some point, which is a great testament to her and the evolution she had over her time with us. One of them is still there. The company's since been acquired by Aon, but she's in the marketing team there and doing very well. They both had an opportunity as I transformed what marketing was and put in a different strategy to learn and grow. We sent them for training and so on, and I think they're doing very well as a result of that.

John Walker: Jordan, you’ve raised a sensitive matter. You want to give people on the team a chance but you also know you may need to make some changes. How do you navigate that?

Jordan Kendall: Look, I've since learned primarily through my experience post to the Aon acquisition, that oftentimes these decisions are better made quickly.

Jordan Kendall: That there's a certain way of assessing whether someone is going to be on the bus or off the bus. And if it's not going to work out in fairness to them and to the team that's going to continue on, it's better to do those things fast. The assessment is essentially, what's my strategy? How am I going to approach things now? What do I need those resources to do? And a very frank conversation with them that says, look, this is where we're going. Are you okay with that? Can you do this for me? And if there's resistance, if they're struggling to wrap their minds around that change, then that's the assessment I think. The goal is really to try to have a conversation with them that is meaningful, which is, you have goals in your career. You have things you've accomplished here. We're going this direction. You want to stay on the path you're on. Let us say goodbye in a nice way. We'll be a reference, we'll help you out. But this probably is the point at which we need to part ways.

John Walker: That makes sense. Okay. Looking outside of your team for a minute, looking to your peers, colleagues, heads of other departments, what type of relationship did you build with them? Did you find that these were partners in the work that you were doing? Were some of them resistant of the work that you were doing? Talk a little bit about some of those collegial relationships.

Jordan Kendall: Sure. It was interesting at Stroz, the other leaders, my peers were very hungry for marketing support. Again, as I mentioned, each of them had a slightly different idea of what that meant. But nonetheless they were very welcoming and excited to tell me what they wanted and to articulate when they wanted it and how they wanted it. But they were all very happy for me to be there and they were very collegial right from the beginning. I think they appreciated the experience I had brought from other big firms and that they respected. As I started to pull things together, what I have to come back to them with was a strategy that was going to fulfill some of each of their needs, but no one would get everything they wanted. So everyone was going to be just a little bit unhappy.

Jordan Kendall: The way I approached that was to educate them about what a buyer's journey is, how our buyer's journeys look and how marketing can help facilitate that in a way that drives more business for each of them in their different units. And so the customization was not in the way that we would approach marketing for each of them, which was what they initially wanted, but rather how we would apply our strategy to each of their unique businesses. Some of those businesses were reactive, literally waiting for a cyber incident to happen and for the phone to ring. Others were proactive, going out and trying to help people improve their security, to avoid a breach. And so there's very different journeys there. Very different buying sequences, but we were able to take that basic idea that, this is not going to be a strategy built on PR and events.

Jordan Kendall: This is going to be a strategy built on understanding who our buyers are, finding them where they are and telling them stories about what we can do. That gets them interested in engaging with us and helps to intervene at points in the buying process that are relevant. Now, when I came at that with them, I actually worked with an outside firm to develop a very sophisticated presentation. It wasn't the messages that were so sophisticated, it was the look and feel, because I had a sense that coming in as a CMO, in a place that wasn't used to having that marketing function, a little bit of razzle-dazzle might go a long way. We had a very sophisticated presentation. I stepped them through what the buyer journey is and how to think about it and what it would mean for them if we could really do something good around this.

Jordan Kendall: I had this experience where they all talked to me after individually and said, that was really informative and educational. I get it, I buy in. I'm ready to go. And so I think through the initial conversations I had with them, where I sat and listened to them, that when I came back and said, look, no one's going to get everything they want, but this is what we're going to do. You'll each be happy with it and you'll be successful with it. And here's why. I was able to speak to each of their individual needs and how it would help them. It built a lot of trust. It built a lot of credibility. They felt like I was serving them, which I think is really the role of the CMO, is to make sure that the businesses are being served by marketing. I think they came away with that feeling when I was able to express it that way.

Jordan Kendall: I think it set us off in a really good path, those relationships and the trust that was established at the beginning allowed me to do things later on that were much more difficult and challenging for some of those business leaders where I really had to tell them they were not going to get what they wanted, period, full stop. We were peers at that point, so it was difficult, but there was an understanding and a respect.

John Walker: When you started, did you find that the resources were adequate for what you set out to do? Or was there a time when you needed to have a conversation with the CEO or build a budget that right-sized the resources for the job?

Jordan Kendall: Yeah. When I got there, there were four people in the department within a short period of time, two of them left. So I had two people. I went to the CEO and I said, look, I have an idea of how this should look. I showed him the structure I had in mind. I showed him generally the direction I wanted to go and the kinds of initiatives I thought we needed to have a functional marketing department, largely based on what I was told by the other leaders. He understood and quickly bought in, but I said, look, it's me and two very junior people. The first thing I need is someone by my side who I trust, who is analytical, who can help me essentially do anything I need to do at this point. It doesn't need to be a marketing expert, needs to have a broad sense of what marketing is and be able to just run with me on these things.

Jordan Kendall: And that's what I did. He gave me the ability to hire that person. And then he and I together built out the team. We hired several people. We hired a communications leader. We hired actually a marketing leader to be under me. And then we hired a number of additional resources to do different parts of what we were focused on. We also re-educated the two resources who were there from the start before me, to do the kinds of things that we to do, because they were eager for that development and opportunity. Within about six months, we went from three people to about 10 people, with people on the marketing team aligned with different service lines, people with technical expertise in PR and comms, in digital marketing. I had my the gentleman who worked with me who was my right hand.

Jordan Kendall: It was a big powerful team that we assembled in a short period of time that really had a huge impact on how the rest of the organization viewed marketing in general and what marketing could do for them.

John Walker: Alright, here is a question about culture. Coming into a new organization, I don't need to tell you, you probably have a better sense of it than anyone, but culture is a huge issue in terms of assessing what level and velocity of change an organization has an appetite for. What did you do to try to understand the culture of this company you were coming into and how did that help you orient what you set out to do?

Jordan Kendall: In this particular role, I think in any role that I've come into at a C level, and a lot of the roles that I've done, I've come in and it's clear they want me to do something different than what had been done. I'm coming in with a clear mandate for change. I do definitely believe that people follow a leader who's driving change, if that leader takes the time to build followership and that only happens if you understand how people think, how they function, which is really culture of the organization. I spent a lot of time with leaders. I met a lot of people in the organization, walked the floor, meet people in the pantry, try to just understand how people think, what they do, fascinating work at Stroz Friedberg. That was genuinely an interesting thing to engage in. But it didn't take very long because my goal wasn't to do a PhD in the culture of Stroz Friedberg.

Jordan Kendall: My goal was to understand just enough to be able to figure out how I could drive change rapidly and make sure people were along for the ride. I've been in situations where I've worked on my own and with other leaders where we've gone too fast and left people behind. That's definitely not a success. I really wanted to take the time and there were certain elements of the culture that I really have to challenge. When I got there, the company was not branded as a cybersecurity firm. It was branded as an investigations firm. Now forensics that you do in an incident response are essentially an investigation, they're just done on a computer instead of out on the street. But that was very much in the DNA and how they saw themselves. And the CEO was very clear with me, I want this to be a cybersecurity firm. That's what this is. That's what buyers are buying. That's what investors want. That's what we need to be.

Jordan Kendall: And so I did not spend a lot of time thinking about how do I ingratiate and get myself into the culture. I spent most of my time figuring out how does the culture work, so that I could figure out how to make those kinds of substantive changes at the pace that the CEO expected.

John Walker: Got it. Okay. That's an interesting distinction. Thanks for pointing that out. Jordan we are going through a period obviously of rapid digital transformation and it feels to me like we're in another cycle of it from a marketing standpoint, especially with what we're seeing around account-based marketing, marketing automation, et cetera. Did you need to do any digital transformation when you entered into this position as CMO?

Jordan Kendall: Yeah, I did. When I came into it, the technology that was there supporting the marketing processes was essentially just WordPress. There was really no marketing automation system to speak of. One of the things I had my right hand do was a vendor selection process where we looked at a number of tools. As we matured in that we started to automate and integrate other technologies into our processes, but I was essentially starting from almost nothing. Just the website. That was it. One of the things, back to resources for a moment that made it clear that we needed different resources in place, was how stuck on the existing technology the previous team was. They were rightly very proud of what they had accomplished with it. But what the CEO was saying, he wanted a complete rebrand, really required us to be very aggressive about pushing messages out, across all stages of the funnel, using all the techniques available through digital marketing, to be able to accomplish that in a short time and the website just wasn't going to cut it for that.

Jordan Kendall: I started from zero. I brought in someone who's an expert in digital marketing. I am not, and had them explain to me what the technology looks in that space, what are the different pieces. What's the most important to start with and how do you grow from there? We used input from firms like Forrester and Gartner to help us think about vendors and how to build a digital marketing strategy that took advantage of the different automation technologies that were available. By the time we were done and we worked with Beacon at some point along the journey as well. We have a pretty sophisticated set of tools and strategies around it that looked nothing like what was there when we started. The one thing I would say about it is that it's generally the expectation. When I would go to the CEO and say, okay, I need X tens of thousands of dollars to acquire licenses for an integrate into this processes, name your system. He wanted to know, what are the metrics? How do you know if that investment is paying off? One of the things I needed to constantly remind him of is that this is not sales, this is marketing. I can hire a great salesperson, you'll know in three months whether that person is successful or not. With marketing, it takes time. It does take time for the messages to anchor themselves for what you're doing to really take hold in all the different places where you're trying to do it, whether that's digital or analog. It's very hard to get CEOs to be patient, CFOs to be patient, on marketing ROI. Now, in this case, I had to transform, so we needed to plunk down a decent amount of money to get to where they wanted to be. To some extent they understood that, in spite of the pressure that there was nonetheless to hit metrics.

Jordan Kendall: But my experience in my current role at Security Compass, where they had a more sophisticated marketing team and had a number of tools in place, that didn't all meet my requirements. I went incrementally, I sat down with my team. I said, look, what is it that we need that we don't have? Let's prioritize, right? Let's go one at a time, so that we give enough time for the first thing we ask them to spend money on, to show a little bit of results, so that they get excited enough about that, to then ask for the next thing. This idea of just coming in and wholesale changing everything that's there, is very difficult to convince a CEO, a CFO to do, particularly if that's not the main thing they're trying to achieve.

John Walker: You are alluding to perhaps brand advertising. You said the CEO was interested in being perceived differently than the company was perceived when you started. Am I right that it required some brand advertising? And if so, how did you establish enough patience within the organization to let that take effect?

Jordan Kendall: Stroz Friedberg was a services firm. The product was the people. Branding in that environment is a little bit different than when you're thinking about a product organization. Essentially what we needed to do was equip every person in the organization who touched clients with a really good understanding of what the new brand was, what it stood for, how to speak about it, how to represent it in all of their interactions, whether that was with clients in the context of a project in delivering a speech at a conference, in writing a paper, a thought leadership paper and putting it out there. Our job in marketing was to define the brand, create a voice for it and then equip those people to activate it for us. In terms of activating a brand when you're in a services firm from a pure marketing perspective, yeah, we rebranded the website. We rewrote all the copy.

Jordan Kendall: We actually sat down with every single service line leader, explained what the new brand was and our approach to telling the market about it and have them then tell us their stories. We collected all those stories, branded them, and then put them back out there in various vehicles, website, digital ads, thought leadership talks. We gave people something for every interaction they had that embodied the brand, and really trained them over time to be able to speak to it. It was, I think that's actually a more complex exercise in some ways than product branding. You really have to win hearts and minds to be able to be successful that way. Some people were fine with it. Some people embraced it. I think the people who embraced it were the ones that felt that the previous brand didn't serve them that well.

Jordan Kendall: These are people who are doing the real work of cybersecurity in its purest form. The people who were doing forensic investigations, it was difficult for them to wrap their mind around the idea that we were not going to be an investigations firm anymore. We were going to drop that word from the vernacular by order of the CEO. It took a lot of work, ultimately, this particular case, that firm was founded by Ed Stroz, who was an investigator for the FBI, which is why investigations was such a huge part of the business, the way they thought about themselves. I went to Ed and I explained why we needed to do this. Ed was a very thoughtful and is wonderful and thoughtful human being, said to me, look, you're the CMO now, I'm following your lead. You tell me what you need to do.

Jordan Kendall: He got up in front of people, spoke to people individually when it was necessary and said, we're doing this and I'm behind it. I approve it. We need to do it. It helped build a lot of momentum with the people who were resisting, because they were able to see that the person who I think they felt some loyalty to around that previous brand, if he was okay with it, they were okay with letting go. It was a very much an emotional connection to it that we had to break through. And again, that's the challenge with branding when people are the product, is breaking that emotional connection and forming one with the new brand. One of the ways we did that was we carried over some of the characteristics of the previous brand into the new brand, some of the color palette, some of the look and feel.

Jordan Kendall: The stories though were really the main thing we carried over, because the stories fit perfectly into the new brand. They just needed to be articulated in a slightly different way. We needed to emphasize different things within those stories than what they had been talking about before. When they saw that, they were so relevant to new brand, it was still their stories. It was still the great work they were doing. We were just talking about it in a slightly different way, positioning it in the client's mind, so it was more impactful to them. They were able to port over the emotional connection they had from the brands to the new one. That was where it really started to click, was when we were able to establish with people that it wasn't really that different. We had preserved the best of what we were and made it better.

John Walker: Well, Jordan, it sounds like you had a great boss, but I imagine you were probably also savvy about what they call managing up. Can you talk a little bit about what you may have done to build that relationship and create a positive dynamic between you and the CEO?

Jordan Kendall: I was very lucky in this situation, I will say. CEO, probably my best boss ever or one of, we just hit it off right from the beginning. I think the reason why is because he was looking for someone coming from a real consulting firm to do consulting style, marketing at Stroz Friedberg. He looked at my background, he said, yup. You speak the right language. He was from McKinsey. I had been at Deloitte and PWC. We just saw the world the same way. I think he felt immediately like, okay, I have an ally now. I have a senior person on my leadership team who can do what I need done. We talked about a lot of things other than marketing. We bridged very much into strategy. I don't think that's unique to me. I think strong CMOs are naturally involved in discussions of strategy. It's not just about executing, it's about where are we going? What markets do we want to be in? What customers do we want to serve? Where's the opportunity? How do we evolve our services? That kind of thing.

Jordan Kendall: I was very much in those conversations. But what I did right from the beginning was two things. If I wanted to spend money or do something new, I brought a business case. He's from McKinsey, he needed business cases. That's pretty easy, right? To structure one. But I focused on what the impact for him was going to be. I knew it was important to him what he was trying to achieve. I tried to position everything I wanted to do in those terms. He would understand what he personally was going to get out of it. And because he was the CEO, his personal goals were 100% aligned with the company's goals. His success was the company's success. So positioning my initiatives that way worked quite well.

Jordan Kendall: But then I brought him regular updates. This is where we are against the plan I told you we would execute. Here's the measurements we're taking and what's working and what's not. Here are the tweaks I'm going to make. Constant communication anchored in numbers because that's how CEOs get measured, not only allowed him to see that I was at least being partially successful and where I wasn't I was of course correcting proactively, but he was able to take that information back to the board, because who he was answerable to. We were spending much more money on marketing under me than we had been under the previous leadership. It was important for him to be able to come and show that those investments were paying off. So that the information I said to him, the metrics that I was capturing and sharing were critical to his ability to be successful in the way he defined success.

Jordan Kendall: I think that's what built the rapport initially and ultimately ended in a relationship that remains to this day, warm and respectful.

John Walker: All right. Jordan, now you are a CEO. Am I right?

Jordan Kendall: I'm a president.

John Walker: A president. Okay. Well in any case, you're in a leadership position. It's interesting because we were just talking about how you reported to the leader of Stroz. And now you are at least one of the senior leaders of the company where you are. How has your perspective on marketing changed if at all and what type of leader do you want to be for your marketing leaders?

Jordan Kendall: I wouldn't say my perspective on marketing has changed. I think looking at it from where I sit right now, what I see is how important it is to have a marketing leader who's able to have that dialogue with me about strategy. Because when that doesn't exist, I have to dip down into that and do it myself. That takes a lot of time. Being a great CMO is a full-time job. It's really cemented my belief that a strategic seasoned CMO is critical to the success of the organization. Particularly when I'm coming in as I was in the Security Compass job, to help the company do something quite different, to drive change in the way it's perceived in the market, drive internal change. There's a lot of marketing effort to support both of those things that's required. And so I need that strategic thinker beside me.

Jordan Kendall: Again, it's really cemented my view, amplified my view at the importance of that kind of person in that role. For that person, for that CMO, I want to be a facilitator, an enabler. I want them to tell me how it's going to work, how it will be successful, to be able to take my ideas and say, okay, this is how marketing will empower you to be successful. And then I want to enable them to do whatever it is they need to do to make that so. Take blockers out of their way, support them verbally, with the people who are working for me, with other executives in the organization, so that that person sees that I am behind them all the time. And where we have issues, where we run into bumps in the road, which we inevitably do, that they know that I will have their back.

Jordan Kendall: I will not throw them under the bus if they have a problem, if they fail on something. My goal for people who work for me include, if you're going to fail, fail fast and that's how I like to work with those people. I think it works very well in marketing, because if you're iterating constantly, being very agile in the way you do things, you're never putting all your eggs in one basket. You're trying a lot of different stuff. Some of it works, some of it doesn't, you double down on the good stuff, quickly retract the other and try something different. I think for marketing people that's good. They like to be creative and constantly innovating. It creates an environment where they feel they can do their best. They're not stifled by too many rules, processes, they can be their best selves in that way.

John Walker: Jordan, this has been a great conversation, and your perspective is invaluable. To wrap things up. Our listeners include CMOs who are walking into positions like you did. Can you give a couple of top line pieces of advice to those folks?

Jordan Kendall: Sure. I think number one is, if you're not from that organization, if you're coming from the outside, you need to build credibility first. It doesn't matter how many times you've been a CMO, how successful you've been, if you're not known and you don't have trust in the organization, not just with other senior executives, but with key people around you, your people in the department, others who are critical to your success at any level within that hierarchy, you need to take time to make sure that they respect you, they understand what you're going to do to support them, before you ask them to do anything for you. The second thing I would say is, don't be afraid to make change. You need the credibility and the trust to be able to do it. But if you're there to do something specific, if the person who you report to has said, I need this, and it's different from what they're doing, don't wait too long.

Jordan Kendall: Don't wait until everyone's on the bus. Some people will never be, and you're just going to have to keep going. If you wait too long, you become part of the problem. Part of the inertia, and that's generally speaking not what a new executive, either being promoted into a role or coming in from the outside is expected to do. The last thing I would say is, align how you define success with the people around you and above you. Because marketing is an important strategic function, but it ultimately is seen in most organizations as a cost. And that's just a fact of life. If you accept it and embrace it, you can be successful at it, because you look at the metrics you're driving. You look at how the spend aligns to the way other people around you define success, and you talk about it in that way.

Jordan Kendall: Don't try to get everyone to understand it all. Don't worry if they love marketing or it's not their favorite thing to talk about. All you need to do is show numbers that align with how they define success, and they will be happy. They will support you. They will continue to fund you. If you want to get them to see it your way, you're probably going to struggle.

John Walker: Jordan, I want to thank you for taking the time to spend some time with us on B2B marketing brief. Your perspective has been invaluable.

Jordan Kendall: Yeah, my pleasure, John. Glad to do it.

Samantha Spoto: If you like what you heard, find us on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you listen. B2B Marketing Brief is produced by Beacon Digital Marketing. John Walker is your host. And I’m your co-host, Samantha Spoto. We’ll see you next time.

Whitney Mitchell

Whitney Mitchell

Whitney is a highly sought-after B2B online marketing expert with more than 12 years of experience leading marketing and communications teams in a variety of organizations, including nonprofits, small businesses, tech startups, and large global corporations. She’s helped dozens of brands gain greater recognition for their causes and products in the digital world.