What is a chief revenue officer, and why are companies hiring for the CRO role? What this sales executive could mean for your company.

Why is the CRO role important?

The Chief Revenue Officer in today’s organizations connects the traditionally siloed departments that target one of the most important functions in every business: revenue.

The Chief Revenue Officer or CRO oversees all functions that generate revenue for the enterprise. This C-level executive position ensures the go-to-market aligns sales, marketing, post-sales implementation, and client success and has an eye always looking for opportunities for sales growth and profitability.

The CRO enables collaboration among the teams listed below towards a unified goal of revenue generation with a common vision and well-executed go-to-market and ensures the departments listed below all understand the problem you solve and the value created for the customer:

  • Sales, business development and sales operations
  • Marketing
  • Client success including account management
  • Product development
  • Finance

While each of these departments has its own responsibilities, the CRO’s function is to unify them into a common mission to ensure the promises made to customers are kept.

Their cross-functional knowledge provides different perspective on everything from the ideal customer profile (ICP) to the tools and processes used to define client success.

With a common definition of success, finding, closing, and retaining clients is more seamless, efficient and effective.

What does the Chief Revenue Officer do?

CRO sales responsibilities include:

  • Identify the ideal employee profile: The most important thing a CRO does is define the characteristics for perfect fit employees in each revenue generation role. This sets the tone for the desired organizational culture.
  • Revenue generation leadership: Drive growth across all revenue-related functions by hiring and overseeing department leaders who fit the ideal employee profile defined for each role. The CRO unifies and maximizes the collaboration and production of the lead generation, marketing, sales, sales operations, consulting, retention, and expansion functions, as well as identifies external partnerships to maximize growth and profitability.
  • Look to the future: Identify new growth opportunities and set strategy to ensure the future success and consistent growth of the enterprise.
  • Establish the right KPIs: Establish the right measurement KPIs which if achieved accurately predict success and identify issues to be prioritized and addressed.
  • The technology stack: Utilize the right processes and technologies that help improve the performance as measured against the KPIs.
  • Client success Net Promotor Score (NPS): Establish an organizational culture that sells to perfect fit customers, proposes solutions that ensure maximum customer value, knows that the job isn’t done until the promises made to the customer are continuously met.

What’s the difference between a CRO and a VP of Sales?

The difference between a CRO and the VP of Sales is the broad umbrella over every revenue generation function within the organization.

Broad umbrella: A VP of Sales is responsible for new logo sales. A CRO is responsible for business development including marketing awareness creation, lead generation, new logo sales, delivery of services, client satisfaction, client retention and existing customer revenue expansion, i.e. the entire revenue generation machine.

Broader view: Sales departments usually focus on monthly, quarterly and annual sales targets mostly tied to new customer acquisition. The CRO plans and develops the strategy for next year in Q2 of this year. They are also planning for the following year working closely with product development to ensure achievement of the long-term growth and profitability goals.

There is only one CRO: There might be regional VPS of sales, national VPS of sales, country VPS of sales, or even divisional and or product focused VPs of sales, but there is only one CRO.

Why is the CRO role suddenly so popular?

The CRO role gained momentum when Forbes labeled the position “the CEO’s new secret weapon” in 2012. According to Salesforce research 25% of organizations will hire a CRO sales position by 2023. There are many reasons for the acceleration of the role.

Rapidly evolving tech stack

The shift to digital has created a whole new world. The proliferation of great technology to help with everything from account-based marketing, lead generation, software guided selling, seamless customer acquisition, artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) driven insights, client success software for retention and expansion are just a few examples. 

Even with these great options, many organizations still struggle to answer basic questions like, why do my customers buy from our organization, what business problem do I solve for my customer, and what measurable value is created by solving this business problem.

Many organizations are hiring a CRO to create the many benefits we highlighted so far in this post.

Zebrafi is not a recruiting firm, but we can help.

Many of the best CRO’s are certified in the Zebrafi Guided Selling System. Please investigate us further at https://Zebrafi.com or consider speaking with Brian, our President of Sales, to answers the questions; is it time to hire a full time, or fractional CRO? Email info@zebrafi.com for more information.

The biggest change of all is the way customers buy  

Customers no longer want to be found; they want to find you. The way they buy doesn’t align with the sales process used by many organizations for new customer acquisition.

Customers today go through three stages of the buyer’s journey:

  • Awareness
  • Consideration
  • Decision

When buyers are in the awareness stage, they are first becoming enlightened that they have a problem worth solving. Marketing, not sales, develops materials that helps them realize there could be great benefit in solving this problem. 

Buyers do not want to meet with sellers when they are in the awareness stage, they want to investigate on their own.

The first time a prospect will allow a meeting with sales is in the consideration stage of the buyer’s journey. In this stage sellers require materials that help them sort through the confusing options that exist to solve the problem. 

The conventional approach of presenting a corporate PowerPoint with information about your business and your products no longer leads to success. 

The CRO must ensure that marketing is aligned with sales to deliver helpful positioning messaging to the ideal customer profile to help buyers on their journey.

And finally in the decision stage organizations have to offer frictionless ways for customers to trial, buy and stay with your product or service. 

We live in an as a service economy now where almost anything can be purchased as a service. Even big-ticket items can be purchase as a service, and often delivered tomorrow if you order them today.  

This is why sales and marketing have to be so closely aligned. The product marketing must be completely integrated with the revenue generation team functions that the organization needs to find, close and retain customers more easily.

This type of alignment is easy to talk about but harder to execute. This is why the CRO has become a valued executive level position in many organizations.

Do you need CRO? Or would a fractional CRO be the next logical step for you?

Please consider reaching out to Brian, our President of Sales, to learn about the people, tools and processes provide by Zebrafi to help your enterprise scale and meet your revenue generation and profitability goals. Email info@zebrafi.com.

Categories: Retention


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