Knowledge Center: Publication

Marketing, Sales and Strategy Officers

The challenges holding back CX leaders and how to overcome them

9/19/2016 Samuel Stern
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CMO leaders forrester report

Today’s organizations are prioritizing customer experience (CX). However, CX leaders still face challenges within their organizations. In 2015, Heidrick & Struggles partnered with Forrester to survey more than 250 chief marketing officers (CMOs) and CX professionals about the challenges they experience—and how to overcome those challenges.

The challenges

Lack of customer-centric organizational culture: When the company culture isn’t customer-centric, CX pros may have trouble getting others in the organization on board.

Counterproductive organizational structure and processes: Organizational structure and processes can hurt more than they help if they are not developed with CX in mind.

Lagging technology capabilities: As mobile use increases and digital touchpoints proliferate, lagging technology or technical problems can get in the way of meeting customer expectations. Organizations benefit when CX pros have more influence over digital transformation strategy.

Insufficient influence, support, and alignment with peers: CX pros say that gaining support from both senior leadership and peers can be a challenge.

Expanding your influence

These challenges have a common thread: CX leaders can’t address them alone. How can CX pros increase their influence and promote collaboration across the organization?

Help employees become customer-centric. CX leaders can cultivate a consistent vision and approach across the organization by training employees.

Work with senior executives and HR to reimagine organizational structures and processes. Transforming organizational culture requires leadership from the top, as well as fundamental changes to HR processes such as hiring, training, coaching, and performance evaluation.

Work closely with technology management. When CX leaders can work with marketing and tech management, they can ensure that new systems and capabilities have a customer-centric focus.

Increase influence with data analysis and storytelling skills. Communication is key. CX leaders must present data as a compelling story to cultivate consistency and gain support across the organization.

To download the full report, please click the download link above.

About the author

Samuel Stern ( is Forrester’s senior analyst serving customer service professionals.

The author wishes to thank Forrester’s Michael E. Gazala, Will Willsea, Ryan Trafton, and Kara Hartig for their contributions to this report.

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The Evolved CMO in 2016: CMOs broaden their influence and leadership

The Evolved CMO in 2014

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