How a Fractional CMO Can Develop Your Marketing Team

Discover how a Fractional CMO can be instrumental in developing a marketing team. Gain valuable insights and tips in our latest blog by Sarah Lambley.

Sarah Lambley
29 Jan
January 29, 2024
 min video
29 Jan


In today's rapidly evolving business landscape, the strategic importance of marketing cannot be overstated. Enter the Fractional Chief Marketing Officer (CMO), a role increasingly pivotal in steering businesses towards success. In this article I explore the transformative influence of Fractional CMOs on marketing teams, offering my guidance for owner-managers and CEOs. I delve into how these experienced professionals can enhance your team's skills, efficiency, and overall impact, providing a blueprint for navigating the complexities of modern marketing.

The Role of a Fractional Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) in Nurturing and Developing Marketing Teams

Fractional CMOs are a catalyst for change, bringing a treasure trove of experience and fresh perspectives to businesses. They specialise in nurturing and developing marketing teams, identifying latent potential, refining strategies, and fostering a culture of continuous improvement. Their role is crucial in aligning the team’s efforts with the company's vision and goals, offering a unique blend of strategic oversight and practical expertise. They serve as mentors and guides, helping teams navigate the ever-changing marketing landscape while staying true to the core business objectives.

Assessing Team Needs and Skills

A Fractional CMO’s first task is often to assess the existing team, understanding its current capabilities and areas needing growth. This critical evaluation is the foundation upon which effective team development is built. Through their objective lens, Fractional CMOs can identify both strengths to be leveraged and weaknesses that require attention, setting the stage for targeted improvement.

Identifying Strengths and Weaknesses within the Marketing Team

A comprehensive analysis of the team’s current performance is essential. This involves evaluating existing campaigns, strategies, and outcomes to pinpoint successful initiatives and areas requiring refinement. Employing tools like SWOT analysis, Fractional CMOs gain insights into internal strengths and weaknesses, as well as external opportunities and threats. This holistic view is instrumental in shaping a well-rounded development plan. Moreover, by gathering feedback from team members, Fractional CMOs ensure that any developmental strategy is collaborative and inclusive, taking into account the insights and perspectives of those on the front lines. Typical assessment will include:

  1. Skill Set Assessment: A Fractional CMO can conduct a comprehensive assessment of the marketing team's individual skill sets. They may use tools like skills matrices or interviews to identify areas of expertise and gaps. For instance, they might discover that the team excels in content creation but lacks expertise in data analytics.
  2. Performance Metrics Analysis: The Fractional CMO can review the team's historical performance metrics, such as lead generation, conversion rates, or customer acquisition costs. This analysis can reveal both strengths (e.g., a high-performing email marketing specialist) and weaknesses (e.g., low click-through rates on paid ads).
  3. Team Collaboration and Communication: Assessing how well team members collaborate and communicate with each other is essential. The Fractional CMO can observe team meetings, review project communications, and conduct surveys to gauge teamwork and identify potential communication issues that need to be addressed.
  4. Feedback and Peer Evaluations: Gathering feedback from team members about their colleagues' strengths and weaknesses can provide valuable insights. A Fractional CMO can implement 360-degree evaluations or anonymous surveys to encourage honest feedback. This can uncover strengths like effective leadership skills and weaknesses such as poor time management.
  5. Benchmarking and Competitive Analysis: Fractional CMOs can benchmark the marketing team's performance against industry standards and competitors. They may compare key performance indicators (KPIs) such as website traffic, social media engagement, or conversion rates. This process can highlight areas where the team is outperforming competitors and where improvement is needed.
Sarah Lambley - Fractional CMO, VCMO
“Not all marketers are created equal. You need to understand every facet of the marketing discipline to recruit the most effective team. As a fractional CMO, I’ve evaluated many marketing teams where skills overlap or duplication is a problem. This often leads to gaps in some critical business thinking. A fractional CMO can quickly identify when expertise is missing.”  

Team Building and Recruitment

Developing a robust marketing team is a critical component of a Fractional CMO’s role. They are instrumental in both defining the ideal team structure and enhancing the recruitment process to ensure the assembly of a team capable of meeting business objectives. Here are some examples where a Fractional CMO adds value:

Building High-Performing Marketing Teams with the Right Talent

Defining the optimal team structure is a critical first step. A Fractional CMO conceptualises the ideal team configuration, tailored to meet the unique needs of the business. They delineate clear roles and responsibilities, ensuring each team member is aware of and excels in their specific domain. Furthermore, they strategise the ideal combination of skills and personalities to create a dynamic and effective marketing team, considering the diverse needs and goals of the business.

Effective Recruitment Strategies and Onboarding Processes

Utilising their extensive professional networks, Fractional CMOs attract top-tier talent, adding significant value to the marketing team. They oversee the recruitment process, ensuring it is efficient and effective in finding the right fit for the team. Additionally, they ensure new hires are seamlessly integrated into the team, fostering a productive and cohesive working environment. This comprehensive approach to recruitment and onboarding is crucial for building a team that is not only skilled but also well-aligned with the company’s culture and objectives.

Skill Development and Training

Continuous skill development and training are crucial for keeping a marketing team competitive and effective in an ever-evolving industry landscape.

Providing Ongoing Training and Skill Enhancement Programs for Marketing Professionals

Fractional CMOs create an environment where continuous learning and development are prioritised. They introduce state-of-the-art marketing tools and resources, ensuring the team remains up-to-date with industry advancements. Furthermore, they regularly assess the impact of training programs on team performance, making necessary adjustments to align with evolving business needs and industry trends. This focus on continuous improvement ensures that the team not only maintains its competitive edge but also grows in capability and confidence.

“A significant number of marketers have no formal marketing qualifications. It’s shocking to me that the marketing discipline has such a laissez-faire attitude to training. A good fractional CMO will know of the best training courses and will ensure your team is committed to on-going personal development. In my view, all marketers should be curious to know more – more about your business, more about the market and more about the marketing discipline itself.”

Leadership and Mentorship

A Fractional CMO’s influence extends beyond tactical management; they are leaders and mentors, fostering an environment conducive to growth and excellence. Their leadership style is crucial in guiding the team towards achieving significant marketing milestones and overall business success.

Leading and Mentoring Marketing Team Members for Growth and Excellence

Fractional CMOs excel in setting clear, achievable goals, providing a roadmap for the team's progress. Their leadership involves closely monitoring performance metrics and ensuring the team remains focused on key objectives. But beyond these managerial tasks, they also engage in regular feedback sessions and provide personalised coaching. This approach ensures not just the continuous improvement of the team but also fosters the personal and professional development of each member. By setting a high bar and providing the tools and guidance to reach it, Fractional CMOs inspire their teams to strive for and achieve excellence.

Fostering a Culture of Innovation and Continuous Learning

Innovation is at the heart of successful marketing, and Fractional CMOs are instrumental in cultivating this within their teams. They encourage creative thinking and innovative problem-solving, creating an atmosphere where new ideas are valued and explored. By promoting collaboration across different functions within the organisation, they foster a versatile and adaptive marketing team. Furthermore, recognising and celebrating achievements and excellence is a key part of their strategy to boost morale and motivate the team. This environment not only nurtures innovation but also builds a strong, cohesive team poised for long-term success.

Measuring Success and ROI

A critical aspect of a Fractional CMO's role is establishing and monitoring metrics that accurately reflect the team's development and its contribution to the company's success.

Establishing Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) for Team Development

Fractional CMOs are adept at setting relevant KPIs that reflect the growth of both individuals and the team as a whole, in alignment with the business's objectives. These metrics serve as a barometer for assessing the effectiveness of team development strategies. Regular tracking of these KPIs provides valuable insights, enabling the Fractional CMO to adjust strategies based on performance data. This constant evaluation and adaptation ensure the team's continual improvement and alignment with evolving business goals.

“The best part of being a fractional CMO is developing and empowering the teams I get to work with, setting them up for future success. By bringing a wealth of experience and years of people management to the table, I’m able to cut through with tried and tested methods to evaluate, coach and mentor staff, bringing efficiency and flexibility to your marketing approach.”

Conclusion - The Impact of a Fractional CMO in Developing and Empowering Marketing Teams for Success

In summing up, the role of a Fractional CMO in developing and empowering a marketing team is invaluable. Their expertise, leadership, and strategic vision can significantly enhance the capabilities of a marketing team, driving it towards greater efficiency and success. The Fractional CMO's impact goes beyond immediate results, setting the stage for sustainable success and resilience in a competitive business environment.

Fractional CMOs bring long-term benefits to team development, emphasising not just the immediate improvements but the enduring impact of their strategies. Their role in fostering a skilled, innovative, and successful marketing team is a powerful catalyst for business growth.

Businesses, particularly those considering the engagement of fractional marketing services, stand to gain significantly from the expertise and versatility these professionals offer. The incorporation of a Fractional CMO into your business strategy is not merely about temporary leadership but about building a legacy of a skilled, innovative, and successful marketing team capable of navigating the challenges of the modern market landscape.

In conclusion, the engagement of a Fractional CMO is an investment in the future of your marketing team and, by extension, the company itself. Their role in developing, empowering, and leading marketing teams towards excellence and innovation is invaluable. For businesses seeking to adapt, grow, and thrive in today's dynamic market environment, the Fractional CMO offers not just expertise but a transformative partnership that can redefine the trajectory of their marketing success.

About the Author

Sarah Lambley is a Fractional Marketing Executive in the VCMO network, a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Marketing (FCIM) and a Chartered Marketer. During her agency-side days, Sarah's clients included P&G, Heinz and Umbro. Sarah then moved client-side to GHD as Global Brand Director helping to grow the business to £300m before establishing herself as a successful Fractional CMO. Read her bio.

About VCMO

VCMO helps SMEs and investor-backed portfolio companies with a £2 million or higher turnover that operate without a full-time Chief Marketing Officer. Our Fractional CMOs and tailored services transform marketing potential into a competitive advantage that delivers scalable and predictable growth, increased profits, and enhanced enterprise value.

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Sarah Lambley
Fractional CMO

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