All the money in one place (why the Chief Revenue Officer role is becoming more popular, and what you should look for)

Businessman in a hot air balloon looking through a telescope at a bar chart of growth

Hiring a CRO can be a game changer for sales, marketing and customer success. Think’s Steve Wooten looks at the growing popularity of the role and what makes a good candidate for a CRO. 

The growing popularity of the Chief Revenue Officer role is largely due to the evolving nature of business and the increasing emphasis on revenue growth and customer-centric approaches. The role originally emerged in response to the need for a unified approach to revenue generation that spans sales, marketing, and customer success functions. The idea is that the role helps ensure that all revenue-related activities are aligned and working together towards a common goal. 

Additionally, as companies become more data-driven, having a CRO who is focused on revenue operations and analytics can be instrumental in making data-informed decisions that drive growth. Overall, the CRO plays a critical role in driving revenue and ensuring the long-term success and sustainability of a company.

The primary goal of a CRO is to drive revenue growth and profitability. This typically includes responsibilities related to sales, marketing, customer success, and sometimes even product development or pricing strategies. 


What are the key responsibilities and functions of a Chief Revenue Officer?

Sales Management:  The CRO is often responsible for the overall sales strategy, including setting targets, managing sales teams, and ensuring that revenue goals are met. 

Marketing Alignment:  The CRO works closely with the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) to align marketing efforts with sales goals. This includes lead generation, customer acquisition strategies, and marketing campaigns that support revenue growth.

Customer Success and Retention:  The CRO is concerned with not only acquiring new customers but also retaining and maximizing revenue from existing customers. This involves ensuring high levels of customer satisfaction and identifying opportunities for upselling or cross-selling.

Revenue Operations:  The CRO often oversees revenue operations, which involves optimizing processes, technology, and data management to improve sales efficiency and effectiveness. 

Pricing and Monetization Strategies:  In some organizations, the CRO may play a role in setting pricing strategies and determining how the company monetizes its products or services. 

Forecasting and Reporting:  The CRO is responsible for providing accurate revenue forecasts and reporting to the executive team and stakeholders. This involves using data and analytics to track progress towards revenue goals. 

Market Analysis and Strategy:  The CRO is typically involved in market research and analysis to identify growth opportunities and market trends that can inform the company’s revenue strategy. 


When should you look for a CRO? 

The right time to hire a Chief Revenue Officer (CRO) depends on various factors specific to your company’s circumstances, goals, and challenges. Here are some scenarios that may indicate it’s the right time to consider hiring a CRO: 

Emphasis on Revenue Growth:  If your company is prioritizing aggressive revenue growth and aims to scale operations, bringing in a CRO can provide the strategic leadership needed to achieve those goals. 

Need for Cross-Functional Alignment:  If there’s a lack of alignment between sales, marketing, and customer success efforts, a CRO can help unify these functions under a common revenue strategy. 

Complex Sales Processes:  If your business involves intricate sales cycles, multiple product lines, or diverse customer segments, a CRO’s expertise can help streamline and optimize these processes. 

Entering New Markets or Expanding Offerings:  When your company is planning to enter new markets or diversify its product or service offerings, a CRO with experience in market expansion can be invaluable. 

Plateau or Decline in Revenue:  If your company is experiencing stagnant or declining revenue, a CRO can assess current strategies and implement new approaches to stimulate growth. 

High Customer Acquisition Costs:  If customer acquisition costs are high relative to the lifetime value of a customer, a CRO can work on strategies to improve efficiency and profitability. 

Data-Driven Approach Needed:  When there’s a need to leverage data and analytics for decision-making in revenue operations, a CRO with strong analytical skills can be a significant asset. 

Strategic Planning for Revenue Diversification:  If your company is looking to diversify its revenue streams or explore new business models, a CRO can provide the strategic insight required. 

SaaS or Subscription-Based Models:  For companies with subscription-based revenue models, a CRO can help optimize customer acquisition, retention, and upsell strategies. 

Post-Funding or IPO Preparation:  If your company has recently received significant funding or is preparing for an IPO, a CRO can help maximize valuation by demonstrating a strong revenue strategy. 

Remember, the decision to hire a CRO should be based on a thorough assessment of your company’s specific needs and goals. It’s important to consider whether the current stage of your business and its revenue-related challenges warrant the addition of a CRO to the leadership team. 


What are the most important skills for the CRO role?

Strategic Thinking:  The ability to develop and execute a clear revenue growth strategy aligned with the company’s overall goals and objectives. 

Sales Expertise:  A strong background in sales, including experience in sales management, pipeline management, and closing deals. 

Marketing Knowledge: Familiarity with marketing principles and the ability to align marketing efforts with sales goals for lead generation and customer acquisition. 

Customer-Centric Mindset:  A deep understanding of customer needs, preferences, and behaviors, and the ability to implement strategies that enhance customer satisfaction and retention. 

Analytical Skills:  Proficiency in data analysis and the ability to use metrics and KPIs to make informed decisions and track progress towards revenue goals. 

Financial Acumen:  Understanding of financial statements, revenue models, and pricing strategies to maximize profitability.  

Team Leadership:  The capability to lead, motivate, and manage cross-functional teams, including sales, marketing, customer success, and revenue operations. 

Communication Skills:  Strong verbal and written communication skills to effectively articulate strategies, goals, and expectations to internal teams, stakeholders, and external partners. 

Negotiation Skills:  The ability to negotiate contracts, partnerships, and deals that contribute to revenue growth. 

Problem-Solving and Decision-Making:  The capacity to identify challenges, develop solutions, and make informed decisions in a dynamic business environment.

Change Management:  The skill to drive and manage organizational change initiatives related to revenue generation and operations. 

Adaptability:  The ability to adapt to changing market conditions, emerging technologies, and evolving customer preferences.   

Technology Proficiency:  Familiarity with relevant sales and marketing technologies, CRM systems, analytics tools, and other revenue-related software. 

Networking Abilities:  A strong network of industry contacts and the ability to build and nurture relationships with potential partners, customers, and other stakeholders. 

Results-Orientation:  A focus on achieving and exceeding revenue targets while maintaining a long-term view of sustainable growth. 


Ultimately, there’s a great deal to be gained from a strong candidate in this role if you can find the right person and the right time for your business. Steve and his team have a proven track record in successful hires for emerging and challenging roles in a wide range of industries. If you are getting ready to hire, or need support curating the role, Think is there for you.

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