Shifting from Head of Department to leading an organisation may seem like a big leap, however you’re confident that you’re cut out to be a business leader and you feel there’s definitely room for a CMO in your c-suite. Now, you’re thinking about the steps you need to take to make it happen. So how can you translate your ambition into action? We’ve developed a practical guide to help you put your career in your hands and carve your path to the top.

Step 1: Understand the CMO role fully

Make sure you understand the difference between your current role and CMO – without this, you risk falling at the first hurdle. You need to know what the criteria is so you can make sure you’re hitting the mark every single day. CMO’s have a wider responsibility beyond the marketing department and influence all aspects of their organisation. This means levelling up to understand business strategy and operations to facilitate growth.

Step 2: Find a mentor

According to Forbes, people who are mentored are a whopping five times more likely to be promoted than those who aren't. By finding somebody in the role you’re hoping to secure, you’ll vastly improve your chances of promotion. Through leveraging a mentor’s expertise, you’ll receive encouragement that will improve your performance in the workplace, guidance on how to advance your career and the opportunity to learn new skills. In turn, this will only strengthen your case for promotion as your employers will see your desire and commitment to growth. For guidance on how to find a mentor, check out this article here.

Step 3: Ask for responsibilities outside of your department

Once you understand what’s needed and have support on side, show not only how much you want to make the leap, but also how capable you are. Be proactive and ask your management team if you can move beyond the silos to make an impact on companywide growth. Work with the customer management team to align the whole organisation around your customer centric strategy. Look at how you can build capacity through leveraging technology to automate processes and ease up operations. Create product/service proposals that detail gaps in the market and scope for development. And don’t forget to delegate, trust your team so you can move away from the everyday to focus on being proactive in your quest for promotion.

Step 4: Put yourself in front of your boss

You’re likely already on the top rung of the ladder – if your SMT think you’re happy where you are, they won’t look to create a CMO role. Request a monthly meeting to talk around your progression to regularly show them your passion and dedication to progress.

Step 5: Create an open dialogue

When you’re in front of your management team, be open about your ambitions and where you’re exceeding your goals. Always measure your own achievements in line with wider business objectives to create a business case that quantifies your impact. You need to have tangible data to show how you’re destined for the top and this should be prepared ahead of time. Building a sophisticated measurement framework linked back to overarching goals will be key in demonstrating your success.

Step 6: Pitch for your promotion

Treat each meeting reviewing your progression like a pitch situation. Research and practice what you will say ahead of time. Continuously look for CMO job descriptions and identify where you meet the criteria. Don’t use hypothetical examples and always tie it back to real statistics, where you’ve made an impact on the bottom line.

Step 7: Be persistent

Don’t give up straight away if you get turned away. Ask for actionable feedback and focus on implementing it every single day. Acknowledge the feedback in your next meeting to show where you’ve improved. And lastly, if you don’t think you’ll ever get to where you want to be within your current organisation, think about moving on. Take the evidence you’ve gathered over time to show a new employer why you belong in the c-suite.

With drive and preparation, there’s no reason why you can’t make the leap into an executive role. Visit our programme page to find out how you can build a measurable strategy linked to business objectives to evidence your impact and accelerate your career.

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