Turnover at the C-level is at an all time high, which is makes selling to this crowd harder and harder. It seems that just when you get to know them, or just get them to return your phone calls, they are history.
A recent study by Spencer Stuart, the global executive search firm, estimates that the average Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) lasts on the job for only 23 months. When broken down by industry, the apparel industry tops the list with an amazing 10 month average stay; the longest lived CMOs stayed 35 months in the financial sector.
Interesting enough, Spencer Stuart also suggests that an out of work CMO looking for the top marketing job at a big name firm could have a 12-24 month search. If my math serves me well, this means that same CMO needs to immediately start looking for a job after he or she lands one.
For the record, CIOs are staying on the job for a 40 month average, while CEOs stay for an average of 54 months. Not a pretty picture.
What this means to us marketers who call on C-level execs is that we cannot pin our hopes on just one person to push our deals through, since there is a good chance that he or she won’t be there later. Selling at the highest levels is becoming more and more a consensus sell with multiple coaches and advocates needed. Depending on one player to get your proposal approved is now a risky proposition.
Sales people need many relationships at their key accounts. The mantra is “invest in relationship building now”. Also, be nice to the little people since they may be the only ones left.
John Bradley Jackson
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