We are a flexible workforce solutions provider to Series B funded startups, VC and PE firms, SaaS, brands, agencies, and Fortune 50 companies.

How to Hire a Fractional CMO 

A new trend is emerging in executive search talent: the rise of the Fractional Chief Marketing Officer. Both high-growth companies and established organizations alike are selecting a fractional CMO when hiring a full-time C-Suite marketing leader isn’t the right fit, is too expensive, or feels too risky.  

These leaders give businesses access to C-level expertise without having the expense of a full-time executive. As a business grows, so does its need to stand out from competitors – that’s why understanding how fractional CMOs work and what benefits they can bring is valuable.  

What is a Fractional CMO?

A fractional CMO is an alternative to a full-time employee. Depending on the organization’s needs, this marketing executive generally performs the same tasks as their full-time counterparts. But a benefit is that a company can pick and choose what services they want. A fractional CMO can develop a marketing strategy, oversee the implementation of the strategy, identify the right team members to execute, build roadmaps, and more.  

“Fractional roles differ from full-time CMO jobs in that they focus more heavily on performance-based marketing to drive sales growth. Fractional CMOs are also unlike consultants in that they are expected to develop and implement comprehensive marketing plans while working to earn the trust of internal staffers who may see them as a threat,” said Shernaz Daver, chief marketing officer at venture-capital firm Khosla Ventures told the Wall Street Journal  

Increasingly, marketing executives are accepting these fractional positions. These roles come with less responsibility than a traditional executive role with greater flexibility.  

“CMOs are grappling with intense pressure to drive profitable growth, meet changing demands for business transformation, and keep up with increasing complexity in the broader marketing landscape,” some experts say. 

What are the Benefits?

  1. Controlled cost. Smaller organizations can hire a fractional CMO to advise the business without committing to the significant cost of a long-term hire.  
  2. Set schedule. Some companies hire fractional CMOs for a trial period. This provides the opportunity to observe in real-time if the executive produces results and fits in culturally. If there is a fit, the company may hire the executive full-time. 
  3. Speed. Fractional CMOs can join an organization very quickly. When there is no time for an extended executive search, a fractional leader can be interviewed and selected within weeks or days, as opposed to months. 
  4. Limited onboarding. These experienced executives understand the challenges many organizations face. They’re prepared to hit the ground running because they’re experienced in business challenges and tech. 

How to Hire a Fractional CMO

Once your organization has made the decision to hire a fractional CMO, it’s time to find the right advisor. Follow these steps to select the right fit fractional CMO for you.  

Identify your business challenge. Ask yourself what you want to achieve by hiring a fractional CMO and document it.  

Set goals. Once you’ve identified the business challenge, gather the leadership team to determine the key metrics you need to be accomplished. Discuss what kind of experience and qualifications this leader will need to bring to the table to hit the ground running.  

Do your homework. What does the ideal advisor look like? What experience do they have? Research potential advisors on LinkedIn. Look for experienced marketing professionals who have the skills and expertise you need, and who have experience working as a fractional CMO. 

Alert your network. Post to social media and contact your executive peers letting them know you are seeking referrals for a Fractional CMO. Referrals are welcome!  

Find a partner (Optional). Getting access to the most experienced advisors can be challenging. A recruiting partner can deliver vetted candidates quickly. That’s why Talentfoot built Indigo, a network of rigorously vetted, proven C-Suite advisors. Indigo is an invite-only network of more than 200 proven growth accelerators with experience advising companies from startups to Fortune 500 brands. When you select a recruiting partner, you can tap into executives eager for advising work.   

Identify a shortlist.  Whether you post the job and get applicants, or seek potential advisors from a partner, it’s time to select 3-4 qualified candidates.  

Meet with candidates. Conduct interviews to assess the candidate’s qualifications, experience, and fit for your company culture. Use a candidate scorecard. Make sure to refer to your goals during the interview process.  

Check references. Ask for references from previous clients and conduct reference checks to ensure the candidate has a good track record of delivering results. 

Negotiate terms. After you select your ideal advisor, negotiate terms such as the scope of work, deliverables, compensation, and duration of the engagement. 

Sign an agreement. Once terms are agreed upon, sign an agreement that outlines the responsibilities of both parties and the expectations for the engagement. 

Have regular check-ins. Meet with your advisory regularly to receive progress reports, deliverables, and status updates. Adjust as needed. Assess your advisor as you work together. Is your organization benefiting from this relationship?  

How to Find a Fractional CMO

Interim executives have never been in higher demand from hiring teams and advisors seeking work. A job board listing will result in hundreds of candidates – many of whom are likely not qualified to provide strategic leadership. Talentfoot’s Indigo network cuts through the clutter and delivers experienced executives to fulfill an organization’s specific needs. 

Ready to get started? Contact us. Our bench of vetted marketers is ready to support your growth goals.