Earlier this year, big-time executive search firm Spencer Stuart reported that the average tenure of a chief marketing officer dropped to just 42 months, marking a rapid two-year decline of 13%. Oof! Forty-two months. That’s not much longer than your average car lease. A hair shorter than a one-term President. And probably a bit less time than any C-level exec would like to come into a new job, assess and reshape an organization, plan and execute a strategy and deliver expected results.
Naturally, it got me thinking about my own executive mortality. I’m a chief revenue officer, the other side of the corporate coin from a CMO. Our fates are inevitably intertwined. Am I that much better off?
So I did some LinkedIn
stalking research ... perusing the profiles of friends in the business, their comings and goings in recent years. While that scan may not have been (air quotes) statistically relevant, when I look around the industry I get the sense that us CROs probably don’t have a lot longer leash than our CMO colleagues.
Now wouldn’t you know it, I’m on year three of my tenure here at BuzzFeed – and while I’d love more revenue (who wouldn’t?), I think things are going pretty well. But should I start thinking about renewing that car lease? Should I be firing up my reelection campaign?
Naaaah. For whatever reason, I’m feeling more in the mood for self-reflection than self-preservation. Call it the BuzzFeed in me, but I feel compelled to share. Something we CROs don’t do that often. Maybe because we’re more drawn to numbers than to words. Maybe because we’re too competitive to give up even the slightest edge. Or maybe we’re just too damn busy. I’m certainly not an over-sharer (except when UK is rolling in March Madness).
But, to my fellow CROs I say: We’re all in this together. And by “this” I mean a pretty heady, challenging but exciting time in our industry. The rate of change in the marketplace plus the proliferation of platforms and content plus multiplying opportunities for partnership plus a non-stop evolving diverse talent profile equals information overload for today’s CRO. If we’re going to move the industry forward -- and retain our sanity (and family) in the process -- we should be doing a better job of sharing what we’ve learned, what we see and how we think.
So I’m going to practice what I’m preaching and give it a shot. Over the next couple months I’ll be posting thoughts here and musings on talent development, organizational management, client service and how digital is reshaping all areas of the sales game. The kind of stuff that bounces around my head on long flights and short train rides. I hope you’ll let me know what you think, what you like, what you hate, and maybe even share some of your own thoughts.
I’ll be back before the Fourth with some thoughts on the changing talent profile for the modern salesperson. Until then, I know the lucky among you will be headed out to Cannes next week (and the very lucky among you, vacation) so I’ll leave you with a travel tip -- always take the window seat! Get up only when you want to get up and not when some random stranger needs to use the restroom. Which window seat is the real question? I like traveling with the shade open, so I always pick the side of the plane with no direct sunlight. For example, if you are flying west, the sun will set in the west but still be south until late afternoon so you should sit on the right side of the airplane.
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