Your First 30 Days as CMO with Rashmi Vittal, Productiv

In this episode of SaaS Half Full, Lindsey Groepper speaks with Rashmi Vittal, CMO at Productiv.

A two-time SaaS CMO, Rashmi shares the lessons she’s learned when delving into your first 30 days as a company’s CMO. Whether you’re looking to become a CMO for the first time or are looking for a change, Rashmi shares valuable information about what you should uncover in the interview process, who you should speak with to set expectations, and how to create alignment amongst your new marketing team. Listen to the full episode to learn more about making your first 30, 60, and 90 days successful as a SaaS CMO.

Have a Point of View

Much of the work in finding the right position is done before an offer is ever made. Prior to embarking on the CMO interview process, develop your point of view (POV) around how marketing impacts an organization and what you want out of the role. As part of the executive team, knowing your POV will help uncover C-suite alignment in the interview process and whether your expectations match theirs depending on the stage of company. 

“You’re hopefully having multiple conversations with your CEO in the interview process and you’re talking about these things in the interview process, you’re understanding, what is the strategy? What is the vision? What is the mission?” says Rashmi. “And through those conversations, you should be exchanging ideas.”

Rashmi also suggests CMOs be prepared to do real work as part of the interview process to show their thinking, typically a high-level perspective or framework without giving away the keys on how to execute it. By the time you accept the offer, you should have developed mutual trust and agreed-upon expectations. 

Open Your Ears

In the first 30 days as a new CMO, Rashmi believes active listening is the number one skill you need to drive success. This is not only listening to the objectives of the C-suite and ensuring you are chasing the same things, but also gaining an understanding of both the marketing team you’ve inherited and the company culture.

“Active listening is really important – not coming in and just vomiting all your ideas at once,” says Rashmi. “Really active listening, talking to not only just the marketing team, but every staff member to establish that trusted relationship…and meeting as many people as you can.”

To quell a marketing team’s fears of a mass find-and-replace from the new CMO, Rashmi cautions against coming in and making declarations about what needs to change. Rather, spend your first 30-60 days truly getting to know your team and what makes them tick:

“If there’s a team there that somebody else built, you didn’t hire them. And so you didn’t go through the process of getting to know them and bringing them in. You have to know who they are and you have to respect the fact that they came in for a different leader.” Rashmi continues, “It’s really just about taking the time to understand them and their perspective and what really drives and motivates them and what is really important.”

For more of Rashmi’s insights, listen to Episode 325 of SaaS Half Full.