The Impact of Fractional Leadership

Emilia D’Anzica, Founder & Managing Partner, Growth Molecules.

In today’s competitive marketplace, having a strong customer-focused leader is essential. Businesses that put their customers first are the ones that are most likely to succeed. 

If you aren’t ready to hire a full-time Chief Customer Officer (CCO), a Fractional Leader is a great option until you are ready. A fractional leader is a highly experienced executive who can provide your business with strategic guidance and hands-on support to improve customer satisfaction, loyalty, and retention.

This type of high-impact leadership is quickly picking up pace. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, fractional jobs were up 18% from 2021 to 2022 and 57% from 2020 to 2022.

Fractional leaders come in ready to identify areas of opportunity and tackle goals quickly. They are less likely to get caught in the weeds of the day-to-day as they drive toward established goals. According to research, hiring a fractional leader can also be more budget-friendly.  

There are many reasons why companies hires customer success consultants.

Here are some specific ways that a fractional CCO can help your business:

  • Develop and implement a customer-centric strategy
  • Improve customer satisfaction and loyalty
  • Reduce customer churn
  • Increase the customer lifetime value
  • Launch new products and services
  • Drive revenue growth

Many of our clients, such as BuildingLink, have come to us for help in filling a leadership gap:

 “By bringing on an interim fractional chief customer officer (CCO) to support the internal transformational change, we were able to quickly and effectively, establish a best-in-class Customer Experience (CX) program. A customer success team did not exist at our company. We are also amid a multi-year transformation, aligning the engagement to other areas.

Sabina Pons guided us from a flat organizational structure to a growth-minded organizational model, which created opportunities for our team and provided professional development, leadership, and coaching for our newly created CX team. She has also been a champion for customer experience, partnering with us to define and promote our customer journey and segmentation.” – Stephanie Viszlay, PMP, MBA, Head of Operations, BuildingLink

Advantages of Retaining a Fractional Leader

There are many advantages to retaining fractional leadership for your SaaS company. Here are a few of the most common:

  1. Access to executive-level expertise: A fractional CCO is a seasoned professional who has a wealth of experience in customer experience, marketing, sales, and other areas. They can bring their expertise to your business and help you improve your customer-facing operations.
  2. Fills a gap: When you are struggling to keep up with the demands from leadership.
  3. Cost-effective: Hiring a fractional CCO is more cost-effective than hiring a full-time CCO. You only pay for the services you need when needed, and you don’t have to worry about paying for benefits or overhead.
  4. Scalability: As your business grows, you can quickly scale your CCO services up or down.
  5. Flexibility: Fractional leadership allows you to quickly scale your CS or CSOps team up or down as needed. This is especially helpful for SaaS companies that are growing rapidly or need to adjust their staffing levels in response to changing market conditions. You can choose the number of hours you need their services per week or month.
  6. Specialized Expertise: Fractional leaders are typically highly experienced and skilled professionals. They can bring your team a wealth of knowledge and expertise that you don’t have in-house.
  7. Fresh perspective: A fractional leader can bring a fresh and unbiased perspective to your team and help you to identify areas where you can improve. This can be especially helpful if your team has been doing the same thing for a long time and is starting to feel stagnant.
  8. Time savings: Fractional leaders can free up your time so that you can focus on other aspects of your business. This can be especially helpful for SaaS company founders or CEOs wearing many hats.
  9. Accelerated growth: You may stagnate during a rapid growth period due to a lack of current resources. Bringing in a fractional leader solely focused on specific initiatives can accelerate your growth.

As you embark on your journey of evaluating the benefits of this type of partnership, several factors must be considered. Preparing ahead and thinking through your goals and expectations will set you and the leader up for success.

How Should a CxO Prepare to Get the Most Out of a Fractional Leader?

10 Tips to Ensure a Successful Engagement:

  1. Do your research. Before hiring a fractional leader, research and find someone who is a good fit for your company and your needs. This includes understanding their skills, experience, and personality.

  2. Set clear expectations. Setting clear expectations with your fractional leader from the beginning is essential. This includes clarifying their responsibilities, reporting lines, and communication style.

  3. Provide regular feedback. It is crucial to provide regular feedback to your fractional leader. This will help them to understand how they are performing and to make adjustments as needed.

  4. Be flexible. Depending on your company’s needs, fractional leaders may need to adjust their availability or scope of work. Be prepared to be flexible and to work with them to find a solution that works for everyone.

  5. Communicate effectively. Communication is vital to any successful relationship, especially when working with a fractional leader. Communicate regularly with your fractional leader and update them on your company’s progress.

  6. Build trust. Trust is essential for any successful relationship, especially when working with a fractional leader. Build trust with your fractional leader by being honest, transparent, and reliable.

  7. Be open to new ideas. Fractional leaders bring a wealth of experience and knowledge to the table and may have new ideas to help your company grow. Be open to these new ideas and be willing to change your approach if necessary.

  8. Celebrate successes. When your fractional leader achieves a goal, celebrate their success. This will show them you appreciate their hard work and are committed to the relationship.

  9. Provide growth opportunities. Fractional leaders are professionals who are looking for new challenges and opportunities. To keep them engaged and motivated, provide them with growth opportunities. This could include giving them more responsibility, challenging them with new projects, or helping them to develop new skills.

  10. End the relationship on a positive note. If you decide to end your relationship with a fractional leader, be sure to do so on a positive note. Thank them for their hard work and express appreciation for their contributions to your company.

Following these tips will ensure that your experience with a fractional leader is optimistic and produces the results you are expecting. Finding a great match can be challenging, so some good preparation will go a long way in making the partnership successful and getting you the desired results. 

Fractional leadership is a compelling solution with many benefits as you fill a gap to address your business needs. With proper research and planning, many organizations see the benefit of fractional leadership for their business as this trend continues. 

Growth Molecules™ is a Customer Success Advisory firm, helping companies protect and grow revenue. 
We do That in Three Ways:

  1. We assess your current capabilities: People, Processes, and Systems. 
  2. We implement new solutions: Actionable Playbooks, Technology, and Training.
  3. We execute them: Fractional Customer Success Leadership, Success, Leadership, and Support Training.

Growth Molecules™ is the ideal partner in revenue growth and customer success management. Our proven methodologies swiftly identify organizational needs, and strategically plan solutions to positively impact business outcomes. Our team of award-winning strategists are former customer success leaders who understand what it takes to increase revenue through customer success. Don’t take it from us, take it from our customers through case studies and G2 Reviews to prove it.

Contact us today to get started on your customer success optimization journey.

About the Author:

Emilia D’Anzica, Founder, Author, Growth Molecules™

Emilia D’Anzica, MBA, PMP, is the founder and managing director of Growth Molecules,™ a management consulting firm focused on protecting and growing revenue. The company aims to help organizations increase profit while maximizing customer value. Emilia is also on several advisory boards globally and an active contributor to the Forbes Council. She is a part-time Adjunct MBA Marketing Metrics Professor at Saint Mary’s College of California.

As an early employee at several successful companies, Emilia has amassed over 25 years of customer experience in customer leadership roles, including as Chief Customer Officer.

Emilia holds a BA from the University of British Columbia and an MBA with Honors from Saint Mary’s College of California. She is PMP and Scrum-certified. Emilia resides with her three children and partner in the San Francisco Bay Area, California. Her first book is Pressing ON As A Tech Mom: How Tech Industry Mothers Set Goals, Define Boundaries, & Raise The Bar for Success.


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