What is a CRO (or Chief Revenue Officer)?

by Patrick Thorp - November 3, 2020

The job title, Chief Revenue Officer, is a term in its relative infancy in the UK, arguably slightly more mature in the US, but still, not all that common if you are to look outside the tech (more accurately SaaS) sector.

It is not to be confused with a Chief Sales Officer, or Chief Marketing Officer which are different given their alignment to a particular department; moreso, the CRO is responsible for and stitches together the 3 departments that are revenue-generating for a company: Marketing, Sales and Customer Success.

This individual is one that would have a VP of Sales, VP of Marketing and VP of Customer Success reporting to them and would have accountability for all revenue generation activity in the business. Depending on the age of the business, the adoption of a CRO position sends a message to the market that the company is focussing on creating a long lasting revenue engine that takes them from initial traction to lasting growth.

The challenge with these positions is that you are asking an individual to be an expert in Marketing, Sales and Customer Success which is highly unlikely as a profile. So, in this instance, your CRO will likely have been successful in one of these departments and so therefore to make up for their weaker areas, they have to be a very good team builder to help surround themselves with domain experts. Furthermore, as part of their role, they are required to be a strategic thinker and also a tactical operator having an obsession with data to back up everything that they do.

A CRO will be interested in the whole customer experience, from the Awareness stage of a buyer journey through to the retention and growth of accounts to ensure that more business comes through the door than leaves it, and that they are the person overseeing the closing of the feedback loop between Customer Success and Product, therefore growing product development, which feeds into successful marketing campaigns, which drives successful lead acquisition and conversion, which drives customer evangelism and then the process starts all over again. If you find this person, keep them, pay them and watch the business grow.

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