As your business evolves, your marketing strategy must adapt to support your future vision. At some point, you might wonder: Is it time to hire a CMO? Hiring a CMO is a crucial decision that can significantly impact your business’s long-term success. This guide will help you determine the right time to hire a CMO and how to find the ideal candidate swiftly.


When to Consider Hiring a CMO

There is no single indicator that it’s time to hire a CMO, but experiencing multiple of these scenarios suggests it might be:

  • CEO/Founder is Overextended: Initially, CEOs or founders often handle marketing. However, as the business grows, they may lack the bandwidth to focus on marketing campaigns, signaling the need for a dedicated marketing executive.
  • Need for Strategic Leadership: If your current marketing roles are focused on tactical execution, you may need an executive to guide strategic initiatives like market expansion, customer experience management, or M&A activities.
  • Struggling to Meet Growth Objectives: Growth challenges might stem from insufficient technology, staff, or strategic direction. A seasoned CMO can align your marketing strategy with business objectives and drive measurable results.
  • Tactical Focus Over Strategic Vision: If daily operations bog down your marketing leadership, you need a CMO to focus on the strategic vision and ensure cross-functional collaboration.
  • Difficulty Differentiating Your Brand: Operational success in lead generation and campaigns isn’t enough without a strategic brand vision. A visionary CMO can craft a differentiated brand strategy that resonates with your audience and drives sales.

If you’re unsure about hiring a full-time CMO, consider engaging a fractional CMO to help your business grow without committing to a permanent role.

How to Hire the Right CMO

Finding the right CMO requires a strategic approach:

  • Define Your Requirements: Clarify the skills, experience, and values essential for your CMO. This forms the basis for the job description and evaluation criteria.
  • Consider Internal Candidates: While your marketing team might not have a ready-made CMO, internal candidates can sometimes transition quickly with proper support and coaching.
  • Seek Visionary Leadership: Your CMO should excel in daily operations and possess the strategic vision to elevate your marketing function.
  • Focus on Team Building: A successful CMO must be adept at spotting talent, coaching, and leading a team.
  • Consult Marketing Experts: Seek advice from industry experts to avoid blind spots and ensure a thorough search process.
  • Look Beyond Superficial Qualities: Prioritize relevant skills and behaviours over impressive resumes or educational backgrounds. Consider behavioral interviewing or pre-hire assessments for objective evaluation.
  • Leverage Your Network and Beyond: Utilize your network and engage with specialists in CMO placements. Prioritize diverse talent pools to uncover the best candidates.
  • Ensure a Positive Candidate Experience: Streamline the recruiting process to maintain engagement and responsiveness. Consider using an executive search firm to enhance the candidate experience.

It’s important to note that small companies with very few marketing department employees will likely not benefit from having a CMO. After all, without the team to execute the marketing strategy, nothing gets accomplished.

Discover the Benefits of Able & Howe’s Fractional CMO Services

Let’s say you have a marketing team, but still, not every organization is ready for a CMO’s full-time commitment and salary, which can exceed $200,000 annually. This is where Able & Howe’s fractional CMO services come into play. Our fractional CMOs work part-time, providing you with top-tier marketing leadership without the full-time expense. This flexible approach ensures you receive the strategic guidance you need to drive growth, optimize your marketing budget, and achieve your business objectives.


With Able & Howe, you gain access to experienced marketing executives who can seamlessly integrate into your team, identify key growth opportunities, and implement effective marketing strategies tailored to your business needs. Let’s schedule a call if you believe we could help you overcome your business challenges.

Written By:

Anita Lo

Anita is the epitome of a modern digital marketer; chic, successful, and savvy. Having spent years on the front-lines and in strategy rooms, she has translated her insights into a profound understanding of today’s consumer. Her approach exploits sophisticated data testing to remain adaptive to new trends and digital tools.