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The Role of a Chief Revenue Officer

Discover the role of a Chief Revenue Officer and why your organization needs one. Learn about the skills, responsibilities, & benefits of hiring a CRO.

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As a business owner, you're probably aware that the landscape of the buying committee is rapidly changing. According to Gartner, the average buying committee consists of six to ten people, and the CRO is the seat at the table rising in prominence. This relatively new role is going to be around for a while. In fact, it's expected that 25% of businesses will have a CRO by 2030.

With the ever-increasing pressure for businesses to be agile and adapt to the changing needs of societies, CROs are becoming an essential part of the team. They are the ones who identify where the next revenue will come from, implementing tools and processes that maintain revenue over the long term. In addition, they make sure that purchasing decisions align with the wider strategy driven by the board.

Who is a Chief Revenue Officer? 

CROs have a laser focus on ROI, which might make them seem difficult to win over, but building a relationship with them is worth the effort. In addition, CROs are looking for long-term solutions to challenges impacting everything from sales and marketing to finance and customer services. So they're looking beyond short-term fixes and instead focusing on adopting a wide range of solutions for the long haul.

Through CROs, sellers have an opportunity to build enduring partnerships with businesses. This will require a deep sales approach to search beneath the surface and uncover the root challenges that impact the business's revenue potential - just as a CRO does.

The role of a CRO is becoming increasingly important for businesses to stay ahead in today's rapidly changing landscape. They are the ones who identify where the next revenue will come from and ensure that purchasing decisions are aligned with the wider strategy. Building a relationship with a CRO may seem challenging, but it's worth it for sellers looking to build enduring partnerships with businesses.

What are the roles and responsibilities of a CRO? 

A Chief Revenue Officer (CRO) is a senior executive responsible for overseeing and driving revenue growth within an organization. The CRO's primary responsibility is to develop and execute strategies to increase the company's revenue and profitability. The role of a CRO typically involves the following responsibilities:

  1. Revenue Strategy: The CRO is responsible for developing and executing a revenue strategy that aligns with the organization's goals and objectives. This involves identifying new revenue streams, developing pricing strategies, and optimizing sales processes.
  2. Sales Management: The CRO oversees the sales team and sets sales targets and goals. They work with sales managers to develop sales plans, identify new opportunities, and ensure the team meets revenue targets.
  3. Marketing Strategy: The CRO works closely with the marketing team to develop and execute marketing strategies that support revenue goals. This involves identifying target markets, developing marketing campaigns, and measuring the effectiveness of marketing efforts.
  4. Customer Success: The CRO is responsible for ensuring that customers are satisfied and retained. They work with customer success teams to develop strategies for retaining customers and increasing customer lifetime value.
  5. Data Analysis: The CRO is responsible for analyzing data to identify trends and opportunities for revenue growth. They use data to inform business decisions and adjusts to revenue strategies as needed.

What does a day in the life of a CRO look like? 

  • 8:00 AM: The CRO begins their day by reviewing sales and revenue data from the previous day. They identify trends and areas for improvement.
  • 9:00 AM: The CRO meets with sales managers to review sales performance and discuss strategies for increasing revenue. They review the sales pipeline and identify opportunities for closing deals.
  • 10:00 AM: The CRO meets with the marketing team to discuss marketing strategies and campaigns. They review marketing data and identify areas for improvement.
  • 11:00 AM: The CRO meets with the customer success team to discuss customer retention strategies. They review customer data and identify areas where the team can improve customer satisfaction.
  • 12:00 PM: The CRO takes a lunch break.
  • 1:00 PM: The CRO meets with the CEO to discuss revenue goals and overall business strategy. They review financial data and discuss areas for improvement.
  • 2:00 PM: The CRO works with the sales team to develop sales strategies and plans for closing deals. They review sales data and identify areas for improvement.
  • 3:00 PM: The CRO reviews data from the morning meetings and begins to develop strategies for revenue growth. They identify areas where the organization can improve revenue and profitability.
  • 4:00 PM: The CRO meets with other senior executives to discuss overall business strategy and alignment with revenue goals.
  • 5:00 PM: The CRO ends the day by reviewing their schedule for the next day and making any necessary adjustments.

Top 5 Traits To Look Out for in a Successful CRO

Being a chief revenue officer (CRO) is no easy feat. It requires unique skills and traits to lead a company to success. Here are the top traits that make for a standout CRO:

Trait 1: Visionary

A standout CRO must be confident and aggressive yet steady and predictable. They must go beyond just hitting the numbers and focus on storytelling. A visionary CRO clearly understands the company's vision for growth and possibility.

Trait 2: Data-obsessed

CROs drive pricing and product structure and set the buyer journey. To make informed decisions, they must be data-obsessed. They study customer behavior to answer important questions such as how to make it easier for customers to buy when to sell subscriptions, and how to target the right customers at the right time on the right channel for upsells and cross-sells. They often turn to CRM software to bring every team and their data together around the same customer view.

Trait 3: Team Player

CROs are seasoned executives who not only grow revenue but also grow people and culture. They spend a lot of time mentoring their teams and are motivated by building a workplace that excites people to do their best.

Trait 4: Resilient

CROs are distinctly "on the hook" compared to their C-level peers and hold the most board accountability. However, a successful CRO can take this burden on and thrive. They can handle the pressure and enjoy the perks, including not-so-shabby compensation in stock and equity, the pride of winning in the market, and the chance to grow a great team and company.

Trait 5: Agile

A standout CRO can navigate rising business complexity, changing customer demands, great resignation, and the hybrid workforce. They must keep up with all these changes while delivering incredible, connected, and personalized experiences. They leverage new digital tools, such as AI-powered tools for remote coaching and Slack-first sales, to activate a hybrid workforce and keep teams in lockstep.

The Difference Between a CRO and VP of Sales 

The Chief Revenue Officer (CRO) and Vice President (VP) of Sales are key executives in a company's revenue-generating efforts, but they have different roles and responsibilities.

The CRO is responsible for managing the overall revenue strategy of a company, which includes overseeing all revenue-generating departments like sales, marketing, and customer success. In addition, the CRO focuses on maximizing revenue growth, developing new revenue streams, and optimizing customer acquisition and retention.

On the other hand, the VP of Sales is solely responsible for driving revenue through the sales department. Therefore, they focus on managing and motivating the sales team to meet or exceed revenue goals, developing strategies and tactics, and tracking sales performance metrics.

The CRO takes a more strategic and holistic approach to revenue growth, while the VP of Sales focuses more on executing the sales strategy and hitting sales targets. The CRO is also responsible for aligning all revenue-generating departments to achieve company goals, whereas the VP of Sales is solely focused on sales.

The CRO and VP of Sales have distinct roles and responsibilities, and a company should consider their specific needs when deciding which role to fill. If a company is looking to optimize revenue across multiple departments, a CRO may be the better choice. If a company is solely focused on improving its sales team's performance, then a VP of Sales may be more appropriate.

When should organizations hire a CRO? 

Organizations should consider hiring a CRO when they want to take a more strategic approach to revenue growth and align their sales, marketing, and customer success teams around a unified revenue strategy.

Some specific scenarios that may indicate the need for a CRO include:

  1. When the company is experiencing stagnant or inconsistent revenue growth.
  2. When the sales and marketing teams are not effectively collaborating and coordinating their efforts.
  3. When the company is looking to expand into new markets or launch new products and services.
  4. When there are silos or inefficiencies in the customer acquisition and retention process.
  5. When there is a need for a more data-driven approach to revenue generation and management.

Hiring a CRO can help organizations take a holistic approach to revenue growth and optimize the entire customer lifecycle, from initial lead generation to ongoing customer retention and expansion.

What is the salary of a CRO? 

The salary of a Chief Revenue Officer (CRO) varies widely depending on various factors such as the company size, industry, location, experience, and skills. According to data from Glassdoor, as of 2021, the average base salary for a CRO in the United States is around $200,000 per year, with a range of $115,000 to $398,000. However, with bonuses, commissions, and stock options, the total compensation package for a CRO can be significantly higher, with some earning over $1 million per year. It's important to note that these figures are subject to change and may vary based on individual negotiations and circumstances.

How to become a CRO? 

Becoming a Chief Revenue Officer (CRO) requires a combination of experience, skills, and qualifications. Here are some steps you can take to work towards becoming a CRO: 

  1. Gain relevant experience: To become a CRO, you need to have a solid background in sales, marketing, and business development. Start by working in a sales or marketing role and gain experience in managing teams, developing sales strategies, and driving revenue growth.
  2. Develop leadership skills: As a CRO, you will be responsible for managing and leading teams, so it's essential to develop your leadership skills. Take on leadership roles in your current job, attend leadership training programs, and read books on leadership and management.
  3. Build a network: Networking is critical in any field, and it's no different from becoming a CRO. Attend industry events, connect with other professionals in your field, and build relationships with executives who can provide opportunities for career growth.
  4. Learn about financials: As a CRO, you will need to have a deep understanding of financials, including revenue forecasting, pricing strategies, and budgeting. Take classes or courses in finance, accounting, and economics to gain a strong foundation in financial concepts.
  5. Obtain relevant qualifications: A bachelor's degree in business, sales, or marketing is often a minimum requirement for a CRO position. However, obtaining an MBA or other advanced degree in business or management can be beneficial and increase your chances of being hired as a CRO.
  6. Show results: Companies want to hire CROs who can drive revenue growth and deliver results. Be prepared to demonstrate your success in achieving revenue targets and improving business performance.
  7. Stay up-to-date with industry trends: The business landscape is constantly evolving, so staying current with the latest trends and technologies is essential. Subscribe to industry publications, attend conferences, and participate in online forums to stay informed and expand your knowledge.

Becoming a CRO takes time and effort. However, with dedication, experience, and the right qualifications, you can achieve this position and play a vital role in driving revenue growth for your organization.

Soundarya Durgumahanthi
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