A fractional CMO can be an invaluable asset to your growing business and in-house team. They offer countless benefits, including years of experience, industry expertise, fresh perspectives on marketing strategies, and more. But it can be challenging to find a fractional CMO who will mesh well with your company.

Recruiting the right person to fulfill a leadership role is never easy. Most businesses take over three months to hire a new C-suite executive—but not all businesses can afford to leave their marketing department without a leader for this long. 

Fractional CMOs serve to step into an intermediate leadership role as needed for a marketing department. This may be to fulfill a vacancy as you look for a more permanent C-level executive, or to simply offer guidance to a newly formed team.

There are many agencies that offer fractional marketing services to connect you with an fCMO. However, this is a decision you shouldn’t make lightly. How can you make sure you find a fractional CMO that’s the right fit for your business?

Let’s discuss.

1. Clarify Your Needs and Set Realistic Expectations

Before you even start to contact fractional CMO agencies, your first step is to nail down exactly what you’re looking for. Start by setting realistic expectations for a potential fractional CMO.

Most fractional CMO agencies will ask you a list of questions to see which of their services will be the best fit. Here are some of the common questions they might ask:

  • How many hours of work are expected?
  • Are there any specific projects or campaigns you need them to work on?
  • Any specific areas of expertise they should have?
  • What is the expected timeline for their service?
  • What other team members will they be working with (other C-suite executives, marketing managers, outsourced marketing agents, etc.)?

Most importantly, you need to be extremely clear on the overarching reason why you want to hire a fractional CMO over an in-house employee. This will help the agency understand your company’s position and the involvement they will have to take on.

A fractional CMO serves a specific purpose, and they are not necessarily a replacement for a full-time chief marketing officer. They won’t be working in-house and they are intended to serve as a leader and a guide—not another employee.

Clearly defining your expectations and requirements ahead of time will help ensure you get paired with the right fractional CMO.

2. Write Down Questions to Ask Your Fractional CMO

Once you have reached out to some agencies and found potential matches, ask for a one-on-one meeting. Approach this conversation similar to a job interview. You need to get a feel for the potential fCMO’s personality, communication style, and approach. Start by preparing a list of questions to ask.

First, you’ll want to learn more about their experience and see how they’ve handled working with businesses or situations similar to your own.

  • Do they work mostly with start-ups and small businesses or larger corporations?
  • Are there specific types of marketing strategies they specialize in?

Next, see how well they will fit in and benefit your company’s culture. While they won’t be working directly in the office every day, a fractional CMO will collaborate regularly with your team members.

  • How do they manage day-to-day tasks with a new team?
  • How do they hold team members accountable?
  • How do they measure the success of their efforts?

These insights can be tricky to figure out during an initial conversation, but it’s extremely important. A recent report revealed that employees were ten times more likely to leave a company due to poor leadership or a bad culture than compensation issues.

Make sure any fractional CMO you bring into the mix will support your team and make your company better as a whole.

3. Talk About Finances

Of course, money is a major deciding factor that will impact who you hire as a fractional CMO. It’s best to deal with the elephant in the room early on. Have an honest and open conversation with your financial department about realistic budgets. You need to know exactly what you can afford, at least for the first few months.

So how much does a fractional CMO cost? Well, that depends on several factors.

Some agencies charge fractional CMO rates based on hours worked per pay cycle, such as per week or month. You may be able to set a max so you have more control over your budget.

Most fractional CMO services offer part-time or short-term contracts. Say you want to bring on an expert to handle the launch of a new campaign because it might involve marketing channels you haven’t worked with before – you could opt to bring on a fractional CMO for one quarter to get things moving in the right direction.

The key is to find an agency that will work with you to make their services affordable.

4. Do Proper Research

Before you sign any contracts, make sure you’re partnering with someone who can truly take on all these fractional CMO responsibilities.

Check with other business owners who have worked with the potential fCMO to get second opinions. A quality service provider will be happy to give you references from satisfied clients. If they put you in contact with a previous client, ask them about day-to-day operations.

  • How were they with communication?
  • Were they able to work well with your team?
  • What kind of results did they generate?
  • What obstacles did they run into?
  • How did they navigate these obstacles?

While a fractional CMO isn’t your employee, you can screen them as such. Browse their LinkedIn profile and see if you can find any articles or endorsements about their past performance. The best marketers make no mysteries about the knowledge they bring to the table.

Over to You

Ultimately, the best way to find a fractional CMO is to map out exactly what you need and base your hiring criteria on it. Of course, that’s easier said than done.

At River Avenue Digital, we understand that hiring a fractional CMO is a big decision, but it’s usually one that needs to be made quickly. That’s why we have put together a team of fantastic and incredibly qualified fractional CMOs to help your business succeed.

To learn more about our services, pricing options, and experience with businesses like yours, reach out to us today. We’d be happy to connect and help you find the right fractional CMO for your company.