Why CMOs Need Impactful Storytelling in Board Meetings

21 Nov 23

In SBI’s latest CMO Growth Forum, marketing leaders discussed presenting to Board members and the importance of building strong relationships with them.

Driving impact as a marketing leader is often not as easily quantifiable as compared to Sales, making it all the more important for marketing leaders to tell a compelling story when presenting to the Board. This set the tone for the conversations that took place at SBI’s Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) Growth Forum, a dynamic roundtable session between SBI and a group of invited marketing leaders.

The discussion about marketing leaders and their relationship with the Board kickstarted with some data from SBI’s research into GTM Board reporting effectiveness. Based on these results, leaders focused on the following before, during, and after their Board presentation:

  • Before: Establish deep command of their messaging

  • During: Build Board confidence in their leadership

  • After: Elevate their ability to deliver more value in the next Board interaction

Forum participants were all too familiar with the importance of understanding and meeting Board expectations. Board members need more than just progress reports and plans; they seek insights into Marketing’s decision-making processes and how they are supporting the company’s strategic direction.

Therefore, attendees believed that proactive engagement in discussions and addressing data anomalies were vital, and they emphasized the importance of building strong relationships with board members to facilitate successful communication and collaboration—something that requires them to understand the background and interests of each board member.

On effective storytelling and value creation

The group discussion also touched on the importance of effective storytelling when presenting to the board. Some elements that were important to crafting a compelling and impactful narrative were revenue generation, risks, and cost reduction strategies. To aid organizations in identifying and resolving sales process issues, the group also agreed that it was important to have an integrated dashboard that could provide a comprehensive view of the marketing pipeline as well as sales conversion rates.

Bringing the discussion back to value creation, some forum attendees shared their execution plans for the rest of 2023, moving into 2024. A wide variety of value creation strategies were brought up, but some of the most consistent growth levers that marketing leaders were focused on include increasing customer retention, market penetration or expansion, as well as driving revenue through the most cost-efficient channels.

Key takeaways from the CMO Growth Forum

  1. CMOs should always strive to deliver board presentations that exude confidence and trust. C-suite executives are always subject to high scrutiny by the board. This makes it crucial for a CMO to build board confidence in their leadership abilities in board meetings. The best CMOs avoid excuses and honestly report facts and their interpretation of them.

  2. The wisest move for any C-suite executive is to get to know the Board on a personal-professional level, not just at the reporting level. By getting to know their backgrounds and connecting with them closely, this opens doors for an executive to tap into their expertise or actively seek their advice outside of meetings and presentations.


We are committed to helping more companies strive towards unforgettable growth by publishing insightful content regularly. Here are more blog posts we think you might be interested in.