Karl Sakas continued our Revenue Rockstars Series with a recent live-streamed session entitled “What CMOs Say When You’re Not in the Room … And How It Can Help You Grow Your Agency”. Below, we’ll outline some of the key highlights and takeaways from this session. Or, if you’d like to watch Karl’s webinar in full, you can check it out here. Be sure to sign up for our full Revenue Rockstars Series, running through January 2022, here.

We’re thrilled to help attendees learn more about how revenue rockstars grow revenue throughout the entire marketing funnel in this new webinar series. Through the live sessions, you’ll have the opportunity to attend each show and participate in Q&A sessions. And we’ll share key takeaways on our blog, like this advice from Karl Sakas’ session.

Karl Sakas on how CMOs are people, too

CMOs are under pressure to produce and to perform in their job, so how can you position your agency as their ally, their helper, to make the CMO the hero in getting things done in their work?

You’ve probably seen the articles about shorter tenure for CMOs in their job. They’re under scrutiny from the CEO, the CFO. Remember, they want to know about the numbers, their team, their customers, and the board. If you were to take just one takeaway from this session, it’s that CMOs are human, too. They might seem like mythical figures, yet they are human. And if you can understand the context of their professional and personal situation, you can position your agency as the helper that makes the CMO the hero, and your agency can grow.

Karl Sakas on how you can enlist CMOs to share more of their budget

The solution, if you want to get a bigger slice of the budget, is to identify and agree on metrics. Start by understanding how the CMO is evaluated. As I said, CMOs are under a lot of pressure to produce to meet their goals. You need to understand what their goals are, what the metrics are, because then you can map your activities to what they’re trying to do, and help make them the hero.

Remember, the CMOs are in charge of day-to-day budget, but they need to go to the CFO to get more. When the CFO says, okay, so you want another million dollars, what’s the return on investment? Your job is to give the data and perhaps the story behind what the ROI might be, what those extra dollars will produce.

Karl on what CMOs find valuable in an agency and partner relationship

Ultimately, it would be that the agency is a trusted adviser, that the agency has the client’s best interests at heart. And this can apply in a range of ways. I spoke with a potential client earlier this week to see if they potentially could benefit from my help. But I wasn’t the right match. I pointed them to someone else. Right? I had a client in years past at one of the agencies. We helped his company with a lot of things, but there are certain things we couldn’t. So we actually got paid to help him define certain things to choose and find the other agency to implement it because we knew that we wouldn’t be the ones doing it based on the technologies involved. So if your client sees you as the trusted advisor, the client will know and trust that you are there for them, regardless of whether you’re directly getting paid. But of course, the ideal is you’ve got an ongoing retainer and then you are getting paid for that advice.

Karl on building personal relationships with CMOs

So that’s part of, you know, understanding that the clients are human. I would also listen for things they mention, you know, instead of starting the meeting by immediately diving into “alright, here’s the report, let’s go.” Ask how their week’s going, ask how their weekend was, and most importantly, listen and then ask again. For instance, a client recently went on a camping trip. I’m going to ask how the camping trip went, you know, that kind of thing. Or at one point a client mentioned their birthday was coming up, when this was a new client. I said, “oh, when is your birthday?” They mentioned the date and I made sure to send them a card. I actually have an accordion file of cards at this point organized by category so that when someone mentions something, I’m ready to go. Really, it comes down to listening and taking action based on what you hear.

Karl Sakas’ challenge for agencies

So I have a challenge for everyone. Coming from an agency operations background, it’s not enough to just get new ideas. You need to apply them. So here’s my challenge for everyone listening. Do an inventory of all your clients. How well do you know each client’s personal and professional goals? Based on the results of that, you can decide what to do next to help you grow your agency this year and beyond. Thanks and good luck out there.

Revenue Rockstars is for marketing agencies and SMB owners looking to help their sales and marketing teams work together to better focus on revenue instead of vanity metrics. If you want to grow your revenue, we invite you to register for our series and add the dates to your calendar to attend the live streams and Q&As.

Marketing industry guru Jay Baer helped us launch our Revenue Rockstars Series with a live kickoff, you can watch the event here.

If you missed Mickey Locey’s session, “Beyond the Pitch: Rock Star Moves to Not Only Win Business But Deliver on Your Promise,” you can watch it here.

Check out Karl Sakas’ session, “What CMOs Say When You’re Not In the Room… and How It Can Help You Grow Your Agency,” here.

Lisa Rios