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4 Reasons CMOs Are Top Candidates for CEO Succession

Debbie Qaqish

There are four phenomena making CMOs the likely heirs in the lineage of executive leadership

I first heard the idea that customer-centric B-to-B CMOs make the perfect CEOs when talking with Claudine Bianchi, CMO at Click Software. Led by her customer-centric CEO, her company had adopted a top-to-bottom customer-centric strategy and was experiencing record growth. Bianchi orchestrated the entire customer life cycle through the use of customer-facing systems, data and collaborative processes. Bianchi knows her customer and brings intimate knowledge to her company for better decision-making up and down the line.

Because of her intense customer focus, she acts more like a B-to-C CMO than a B-to-B CMO. Her B-to-C approach fuels her successful career path. There are four phenomena guiding her and other CMOs to the corner office: the B-to-B legacy shift, customer demand for B-to-C experience, customer-centric strategy and marketing operations enabling CMO-led customer-centric strategy.

1. The B-to-B Legacy Shift

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Debbie Qaqish, Ph.D., is principal partner and chief strategy officer of The Pedowitz Group. She manages global client relationships and leads the firm’s thought leadership initiatives. She has been helping B2B companies drive revenue growth for more than 35 years.