Why your AEC firm may need a Fractional CMO (and how to leverage one)

Author: Sarah Kinard
The Flamingo Project

Most AEC firms run on the efforts of seller-doers. But, there are only so many hours in a day. And the very things that have made your firm successful can limit your leadership’s bandwidth.

What happens when months slip by head down in a busy day-to-day? Ever worry that you can’t grow because you can’t focus on it? Wish you had some help?

It’s at this point that people start looking for a marketing professional. Some start with an entry level marketer to execute with a seller-doer leading the strategy in the margins of other responsibilities. After all, op marketing talent, can be expensive.

But, what if you could get that talent without committing to a full-time executive?

Enter the fractional CMO.

 

What is a fractional CMO?

A fractional CMO serves your company for a fixed amount of time each month. The arrangement gives you access to a senior-level strategic marketer on a regular basis at a fraction of the pay.

It offers someone who understands how you do business and is focused on growth. To team with you to get your company to the next level. It’s an incremental, monthly investment to advance your firm in the marketplace.

 

What can a fractional CMO do for me and my team?

A fractional CMO can:

● Develop a growth plan for your firm and set the actions to get there
● Position your firm to break into new markets
● Streamline proposal production and develop processes and tools
● Manage marketing initiatives executed through freelancers such as web and graphic designers, writers/PR professionals, photographers, resume writers, and market researchers.
● Hire, train, and mentor marketing managers, marketing coordinators, or admin staff.
● Report on trends in your client’s industries, marketing metrics, and KPI’s.

 

Is a fractional CMO needed for your team?

Here’s a litmus test. If any of these are true for you and your firm, a fractional CMO could be the right answer.

You don’t have a marketing strategy.

As a leader, you likely have a strategy for your business. But if the strategy for growth isn’t documented and socialized within your team, then it is the same as not having a strategy at all. Even the most talented leaders can grossly underestimate how much their teammates understand about how the business acquires new work. (Or the role they each need to play in helping to get that work.)

A fractional CMO can document strategy, validate it against market research, and build champions for it within your team.

Marketing efforts are inconsistent.

If your marketing is primarily driven by seller-doers or a proposal manager, there is a good chance that your efforts are inconsistent. When things are going well, you are “too busy to market.” And when things slow down, you are already behind the curve on the activities needed to keep the pipeline full of work.

A fractional CMO can develop an incremental, consistent strategy to make sure that initiatives are being acted on every single month.

Responses to RFQ’s and RFP’s are inefficient and a burden on your team.

How many times do you end up cutting and pasting from some old proposal after hours rather than crafting a thoughtful approach to a proposal deadline? Ever review a submittal and find you missed something big? (How much stress does this put on your team when this is discovered minutes before the deadline?)

A fractional CMO can streamline your response process. They can train your team to improve the quality of what you send out while minimizing the effort to get it done well. They make sure you have the right templates and custom verbiage available to set you apart from the crowd.

You don’t have a handle on your proposal pipeline.

How confident are you in your projections for future work? Do you have data to validate which positions you need to hire? Do you know if a downturn in proposal requests is signaling a need to tighten your budget in upcoming months? Are you able to identify your next growth areas that are differentiated from your competition?

A fractional CMO can help you set up systems and dashboards to track quals and proposal responses to project the future. While your billings report on history, tracking proposal metrics lets you look ahead. And Market Research looks further beyond that.

Your firm is stuck on a plateau in a growing economy.

Sometimes, you just need extra horsepower. A fractional CMO can help you identify opportunities you might be missing and craft a strategy to meet them. They can also oversee execution of that strategy.

 

Will I need a fractional CMO forever?

A fractional CMO is provides the extra experience and horsepower to get you to the next level. The best ones make themselves obsolete because you grow in revenue, reach, and maturity evolving to where you can serve these functions in-house.

The Flamingo Project provides fractional CMO talent that can help you get from where you are now to where you want to be. Curious what it takes to get this help? Reach out. sarah@theflamingoproject.com

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