With over 25 years of experience in sales and marketing, 20 of which as a leader, Ann-Charlotte Baudin is today CMO at Lexly. In CMO Insights, she shares her top trend scouting and challenges and some advice for other CMOs out in the country.
Lexly is a company dedicated to digitizing law, the first in Europe. For Ann-Charlotte, who has a quarter of a century of sales and marketing experience behind her, mainly in startups and scaleups, Lexly is the most intense but also changing company she has worked for. She also believes that it is the company she has worked for with the most robust vision. Ann-Charlotte elaborates:
– Making law accessible to everyone – it is obvious what such a clear "why" does to people, teams and culture. Our why unites and helps us build for the future. It's an extraordinary journey to be a part of.
Ann-Charlotte has previously held roles such as e-commerce manager, digital manager, sales manager, business area manager and CEO. She also had her own company as an interim executive for seven years. Today she is the CMO and Head of Marketing & Growth at Lexly, Sweden. A role which, according to Ann-Charlotte, means that she needs to be both a generalist and a specialist:
– There are many disciplines you need to master, and the deeper you are in knowledge, the better your leader, coach, setter of requirements and client will be. I see a strength in myself coming from sales and having the whole sales process with me. I have also worked with marketing managers as a target group for many years and have seen how the role has changed dramatically. Some have kept up, and others have not. A CMO today needs to be both short-term and long-term. Have the ability to drive sales and understand in depth what drives sales in the short and longer term.
– The marketing manager also needs to have the ability to build a strategic plan and dare to stick to it, have perseverance, believe in it and be able to wait for the long-term results. It can be challenging to get company support, especially in these more difficult times when short-term sales and profitability are high on the agenda.
“I am drawn to people with diverse and different backgrounds”
Ann-Charlotte admits that she is blind to gender and age when recruiting for her marketing team, which usually results in her getting a fantastic spread of age, gender, background and skills. She further explains:
– I am drawn to people with diverse and different backgrounds. In general, I find it challenging to recruit within the industry. I often go outside. It becomes more creative and exciting, and teams with that composition make a more significant difference over time. Today I have a team where I have handpicked the individuals. Parts of the team I have worked with in previous assignments are from entirely different industries, and I recruit them based on competence but, above all, drive and attitude. Everyone can learn knowledge. Some have it, and some don't. I want those who have it. But I am also humble about differences and want balance in the teams.
– So a mix of full speed ahead and complements in reflective individuals is the icing on the cake. I have the world's best MarCom team right now. It is a pleasure to lead them. In addition, a tremendous composite cross-functional team structure with what I call the "extended team". I know it may sound boastful, but they are the damn best.
2023 and the future
According to Ann-Charlotte, many companies today focus on profitability. Either they want to remain profitable or increase profitability. Something that could mean that the reorganizations replace each other. She believes in smaller budgets for some channels, while others will go against the grain. She explains:
– From a marketing perspective, there will be smaller budgets for extensive, broad brand push activities. TV and reach media might find it more challenging. Outdoors is a bit against the grain, but more companies see the effect of that channel. Many will continue to review how to work with employee branding to attract the right talent and retain their key players. Then I hope and believe we will see less greenwashing, other hit-and-run missions, and more of the real thing. That is, communication via good products and services that are useful and show the WHY to the customer and which in many cases is so good that they only sometimes need so much push marketing. Good services spread through word of mouth and users, and you can create an obsession with your brand through a good reputation.
Finally, Ann-Charlotte sends with some learnings from her twenty years as a leader in sales and marketing:
– When you step in as a new CMO, take inventory of the management team's competence in MarTech, marketing in general and how tech, product, market and sales are connected. In a management group with outstanding competence in the field, you will receive sparring and can work advanced and deeply with the issues as a team. Suppose you are alone in your expertise and have a CEO who does not master the area either. In that case, you need to be very educational and sell in concrete and much simpler language – the recipient's language – to get them involved in the decisions you want to drive and build teams around the issues you are primarily responsible for. Taking that inventory can be critical to the impact and outcome of your work.
– When you work data-driven and want to get more people in the company to go towards data instead of likes and dislikes, it is good to visualize tests and dashboards that are easy to adopt. Work with clear goals, KPIs and key results to get where you want and ensure everyone knows their part of the wheel. I work a lot with follow-up and making visible all the data we have access to with my team. We also do a lot of A/B testing and share the results with others in the company. The next step is to estimate what our tests explicitly contribute to the total sales growth over a year. Such a presentation would probably create even more insight and engagement in a company.