Bringing on a CRO

The C-suite is diversifying, once the bastion of the CEO, CFO, and COO, over the years we’ve seen the addition of CMOs, CTOs, CIOs, CISOs, and even more recently, Chief Revenue Officers (CROs). The role is prevalent in SaaS companies and Silicon Valley, but more Fortune 500 companies are bringing on a CRO – United Airlines, Hertz, and Coca-Cola to name a few.

The CRO is responsible for identifying and driving growth (aka revenue) across the organization. Their focus is on improving current go-to-market tactics and finding new go-to-market opportunities that create additional revenue channels. CROs understand the industry landscape in both the short and long term. They are also able to articulate the market conditions internally to build consensus around product roadmaps, R&D planning, and of course financial forecasting.

We recently wrote about the evolving role of the CMO and the need to be the voice of the consumer in the C-suite. The yin to the CMO’s yang is the CRO. The CMO is responsible for connecting with the consumer in an authentic manner including being responsible for delivering value to the consumer. Much as the CMO needs to understand and create a holistic consumer experience, the CRO is expected to optimize revenue at every applicable touch point. Like their counterpart, CROs also need to work seamlessly across functions – including sales, marketing, customer success, business development, product, finance, and support.

The CRO evolved primarily from the sales function. As such, CROs are metrics driven. With their singular focus on revenue, there are a variety of measures that indicate their success, including:

  • Shorter sales cycle times
  • Lower customer acquisition costs
  • Increases in deal sizes
  • Increases in win rates
  • Better Campaign ROI
  • New revenue channels

Back in 2012, Forbes called the CRO, “The CEO’s new secret weapon.” Per the, “A CRO is responsible for creating the overarching strategy that generates predictable AND profitable revenue over time. To do so successfully requires everything from correctly pricing product offerings (what are the margins required to cover overhead costs by business segment? – otherwise known as ‘putting water over the rocks’) to overseeing the marketing initiatives that attract customers in the first place, and implementing sales compensation plans to both attract top talent and keeping a lid on customer acquisition costs.”

Bringing on a CRO requires careful consideration. To be successful, a CRO requires the appropriate backend systems, software, processes, and accountability to deliver more revenue without a similar increase in working capital. Without commitment from each stakeholder, you run the risk of simply chasing every dollar without knowing the profitability of each new endeavor.

If you’re still not sure you’re ready for a CRO, or you’ve decided it’s time. Get in touch, we can help you find the best candidate the first time.