How to Know When Your Business is Ready to Hire a Fractional CMO


A Fractional CMO offers a unique mix of flexibility, cost-efficiency, deep experience, and specialized expertise, adeptly filling the gaps left by the ever-changing landscape of traditional marketing roles. Through many conversations with founders and executives, we’ve identified some of the most common indicators that it’s time for an organization to hire a fractional CMO. The following six signs might indicate that your business is ready for a fractional CMO.

So how do you know you are ready for a fractional CMO?

Hiring a fractional CMO allows your company to leverage the skills and insights of a seasoned executive marketer without the delay of the recruiting process and the added costs of a full-time employee. It also allows you to find the right combination of experiences and cultural fit at a price point that you can afford.

You don’t have a dedicated marketing team or someone without marketing expertise is leading your marketing initiatives.

Sometimes the need for a marketing leader emerges when the business begins to build out the next iteration of its accountability or organizational chart. CEOs and founders are often initially responsible for marketing in early-stage companies. In other companies, marketing may report to the head of sales, operations, or whoever has time. In most cases, none of these leaders have the necessary marketing expertise that the scaling company needs.

Without strategic marketing leadership, growing businesses often fall into the habit of forming a marketing “committee” of employees and contractors with varied experience and guessing at what should be done. This leads to marketing getting put on the back burner as the makeshift marketing team manages their other responsibilities. Contractors can be highly effective at executing specialized work. But without a strategic plan and leadership, they often end up working in silos or projects fall through. The contractors and the projects end up being disconnected from the bigger business vision as well as each other, making it next to impossible to deliver enough value to justify their cost.

Fractional CMOs are highly effective at stepping in to fill an executive role to forge a strategic, sales-aligned path for the business. Most of our clients need an initial Quick Win before we truly get started with the strategic work. We can then build high-performing, sales-aligned teams that know when to engage and how to align the right external partners for effective marketing. 

The company doesn’t understand marketing’s role in growing the organization.

Growing businesses often lack clarity on what marketing is and how it is connected to the growth of the organization. This can include not knowing how to adequately fund roles, ad spend, operation or tech spend, or determining the appropriate marketing mix to support a growth strategy. This can lead to tension and misalignment between sales and marketing when boundaries and expectations aren’t clear.

Healthy growth looks different for every business. Growth for one company could be a 4 percent increase over the previous year, while for another company, it could be tripling its revenue or getting acquired.

Experienced fractional CMOs have built marketing teams and programs before and know how to build strong, collaborative relationships with sales.

You’re not sure if your marketing investments are working.

Growing businesses often struggle to find their marketing voice which leads to making choices that rarely produce valuable results. If a business lacks a strategic marketing direction, it’s impossible to know where it’s best to invest in marketing spend. As a result, companies often spread their budget across numerous tactics, and platforms, and target too many different audiences. Every day brings a new marketing concept, a new gimmick that seems to be a sure-fire way to turn things around. They take the hail Mary approach and think: one of these should work, right?

Fractional CMOs provide businesses with clarity, focus, and direction to align sales and marketing and create business growth through targeted, strategic efforts.

You have a capable marketer, but they lack experience and coaching.

Many growing businesses have successfully grown a sales-driven organization supported by one or two marketing coordinators or managers. These rising star marketers are talented, driven, and loyal, but they haven’t yet had enough experience to sharpen their strategic acumen.

Fractional CMOs are highly effective mentors and coaches for talented employees you want to retain. They have a wealth of experience they can use to develop your current team. Since a fractional CMO is an external resource, your existing staff can feel confident collaborating and learning from them without fearing that the Fractional CMO will jeopardize their career path.

You’re planning to get acquired or to acquire another business.

New growth plans sometimes lead businesses into spaces the company and its leaders have never been before. You could be launching a new product or service or entering a new marketplace.

There are significant marketing, branding, and cultural implications associated with acquisitions.  Whether you’re planning to get acquired in the next three to five years or to acquire another company, value propositions change, and go-to-market messaging needs to be thoughtfully revised. If you recently completed an acquisition and are overwhelmed by the unforeseen marketing implications, it’s not too late to hire a fractional CMO to support you.

You’ve experienced turnover on your marketing team and/or want to get your marketing hire right.

Marketing roles, in general, have the highest turnover rates of any profession. This isn’t because marketers are less committed or loyal than other professionals, but more likely that leaders don’t give marketing the opportunity or budget to succeed.

A fractional CMO can quickly step in to fill a vacant seat to make a quick strategic impact on your business. They can also help you define what it needs and clarify the budget required. Fractional CMOs can help you fill marketing roles with confidence and less risk.

Omicle delivers brand clarity, marketing strategy, and operational efficiency to prepare leaders to scale their business. If you are ready to scale your business, contact us today to get started.

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