Journey to a Fractional CMO: How an Outsourced Accounting Services Firm Found the Right Fit

by Debra Andrews | July 12, 2022

More and more middle-market companies are discovering that a fractional marketing approach can drive significant growth—and avoid tying up salary dollars where they won’t pay off. One such company is Scrubbed, a provider of outsourced accounting, finance, and tax services for businesses and support services for professional firms.

Vince De Leon, CTO

Marketri recently talked with Vince De Leon, chief technologist at Scrubbed, about why the company sought a better way to staff the marketing function and a better approach to generating revenue—and how the journey led them to choose Marketri as the company’s fractional CMO.

Going Beyond Referrals

When Vince joined Scrubbed in 2014 the company was in startup mode, so all of its marketing was homegrown. “I’m not a marketing or design expert, and even I knew our website was horrendous,” he says.

Fast forward a few years and Scrubbed had the resources to hire a creative person internally to give its marketing materials a more professional look. “But there was still something missing,” Vince says. Most importantly, it became clear that simply relying on referrals for new business wasn’t going to fuel the kind of growth Scrubbed had in mind.

“Our growth wasn’t about the partners anymore; it was about fulfilling the promise we made to our employees,” he explains, noting the sacrifices that many had made in joining a startup. To achieve its aggressive goals, Scrubbed leadership knew it was time to hire an experienced marketing professional to drive predictable revenue. And so the search began.

In Search of the Wrong Person

Vince developed a profile of what he perceived to be the ideal marketing hire for Scrubbed:  A Certified Public Accountant (CPA) now working in sales and business development in a SaaS company, with ownership for a book of business. As he started talking to potential candidates and they learned more about what Scrubbed wanted out of this role, they all had the same reaction: I don’t know how to do what you want this hire to do.

“It turns out I was looking for the wrong kind of person,” Vince says. So he began reaching out to people within his network who worked in marketing roles, asking for guidance on how to find the right person to lead Scrubbed’s marketing transformation. In the process, he heard the same advice over and over: Stop trying to hire a salesperson to do the job of marketing.

Vince instinctively knew that sales and marketing are entirely different disciplines, but he admits to having blinders on when it came to the marketing hiring process. “I was looking at the end goal—increasing our sales—but I wasn’t thinking about how marketing is the engine that drives those sales,” he explains. “I finally realized we needed someone who knew how to establish our brand, engage in data-based marketing and account-based marketing, segment our buyers, and develop the right messaging.”  When he went back to his original group of candidates and asked if they could do any of those things, he got a resounding “no.”

The A-Ha Moment

Vince’s conversations with trusted colleagues at companies across a wide spectrum of industries only reinforced his belief that he needed to pivot and hire an experienced marketing professional. Those discussions also opened his eyes to the concept and the value of a fractional CMO as an alternative to a full-time in-house employee.

As his colleagues explained, hiring a single, full-time marketing leader in-house would leave little budget for Scrubbed to pay for the other specialists needed to execute a modern marketing strategy designed to generate qualified, hot leads at scale. “They all told me ‘What you really need is a fractional CMO.’ And that was my a-ha moment,” he says.

For middle market companies, a fractional CMO is often the best approach to gaining the deep marketing knowledge and experienced leadership they need to develop and drive a marketing plan that generates predictable revenue. When you hire a fractional CMO, you get a slice of a strategic-thinking, experienced marketer—someone who can develop a strategic marketing plan that’s fully aligned with your business goals and oversee its successful execution.

Once Scrubbed decided that hiring a fractional CMO was the best way to turn its marketing into a growth driver, it didn’t take long to hire Marketri.

“Marketri fit the profile I was looking for: A fractional CMO with experience working with CPA and accounting firms,” Vince says. He spoke with two other firms that purported to offer fractional CMO services. But one turned out to be more of a placement agency, and the other recommended an ad strategy without knowing anything about Scrubbed’s business first.

After meeting with Marketri CEO Deb Andrews and talking with several client references, the Scrubbed management team was sold. “Looking back, I think one of the most important parts of our decision process was talking to references,” he says. “People don’t always check references because they think it’s a bother. But the truth is, other people are happy to tell you when they get great service.”  

The Results Say It All

As Scrubbed’s fractional CMO, Marketri first developed a strategic marketing plan to serve as the foundation for the company’s modern marketing—including business goals, marketing goals, a profile of the ideal buyer, competitor analysis, SWOT analysis, market analysis, positioning, and the key performance metrics (KPIs) the team would use to measure results.

With a solid strategy in place, the Marketri team is now executing on that strategy with strong early results.

Scrubbed’s journey illustrates the importance of hiring the right specialist to lead your marketing and the value of taking a fractional approach. As your fractional CMO, Marketri applies decades of experience helping B2B companies develop and execute strategic marketing plans that drive revenue growth. Contact Marketri or schedule a meeting with our CEO Deb Andrews to learn how our fractional CMO services can turn your marketing into a revenue generator!

And if you think a fractional CMO structure might be right for you, check out our guide: 5 Questions to Ask Before Considering Fractional Marketing.