Every company focused on business growth wants to ensure that all its departments and teams are effective enough to support its scaling, especially those teams that directly affect its revenue. And that’s where the Revenue Operations (RevOps) team steps in.
The RevOps team’s mission is to align the company’s overall business strategy with its revenue goals and support the marketing, sales, and customer service departments to achieve better results. And the key role in all this process is performed by a Chief Revenue Officer (CRO).
A CRO is the head of the RevOps department. It is a top-level executive who can drive business growth for the company and ensure higher revenues.
But, what exactly does a person in this role do? In this article, we have collected a thorough overview of a CRO job. Here, you will find:
- The definition of a Chief Revenue Officer role;
- The key differences between this role and the role of a VP of Sales;
- A comprehensive overview of the key job duties of a CRO;
- Tips on how to become a chief revenue specialist yourself;
- A list of key skills and proficiencies required for this job;
- An overview of a CRO’s typical salary.
If you are considering a career as a CRO yourself, this article has everything you need to know about it. Read on to learn more about this job and define whether it’s right for you!
Who Is a Chief Revenue Officer?
A Chief Revenue Officer (also referred to as CRO) is a critical member of an executive team who actively participates in the revenue generation processes. A person in this role is responsible for aligning the efforts of all teams that affect revenue generation with the company's vision and objectives. Simply put, it is someone who is tying company performance to its revenue goals.
Typically, the teams that fall under CRO’s supervision include customer support, marketing, and sales teams. The goal of a CRO is to maximize the effectiveness of these teams and ensure that everything they do leads to steady revenue growth.
At the same time, since revenue generation depends a lot on customers, a CRO is expected to help its company establish and maintain a customer-centered mindset. A specialist in this role must keep clients at the core and tweak the company’s revenue strategy so that it aligns with their needs and ensures customer satisfaction.
CRO vs. VP of Sales: The Key Differences
Most often, people find a chief revenue officer job very similar to the job of a VP of Sales. Indeed, these two roles relate to similar departments. However, a CRO and a VP of Sales should never be confused because there are a number of significant differences between these two positions.
So, what are these differences?
First and foremost, it is worth noting that the VP of sales is only responsible for managing and supporting the company’s sales team. They only focus on the company’s sales performance. Whereas other teams, departments, and objectives don’t fall into this specialist’s area of responsibility.
The CRO’s area of responsibility is much more extensive. A person in this role also works with sales teams, ensuring that they meet their objectives. But, at the same time, a CRO focuses on everything else that generates sales, including product pricing, marketing campaigns, etc. Respectively, these specialists supervise and support not only sales but other revenue-generating departments, including marketing and even customer support teams.
The second significant difference is that there is always only one CRO in a company. As for the VP of Sales, there might be several of them. For example, one assigned to each particular region or one per each of multiple customer segments that your business deals with.
What Does a Chief Revenue Officer Do?
The chief revenue officer job spans a wide variety of duties and responsibilities. Basically, every specialist in this role is expected to oversee all kinds of business operations that affect revenue streams. These can include product marketing, customer success, pricing strategies, and many other activities.
At the same time, CROs have to ensure that all departments engaged in different revenue-related functions work in synergy. These specialists need to support these teams in such a way that their performance brings scalability.
So, what specific tasks do CROs perform? While the specific duties can vary from one company to another, there is a set of general responsibilities that all CROs have. Let’s look at these responsibilities in detail.
- Observe the full revenue cycle of the company and develop strategies that can maximize future revenue.
- Align the efforts of all teams and departments that generate revenue (i.e., sales, support, marketing, etc.) and ensure their effective collaboration within the company.
- Closely collaborate with leaders of these departments.
- Use relevant data to identify manageable KPIs for teams and communicate them with leaders and team members.
- Use relevant data and insights to make data-driven decisions and define core strategic processes.
- Equip the teams with all resources, tools, technology, and other things they need to contribute to the successful implementation of the company’s business and sales strategies.
- Track the teams’ revenue stream and sales performance, and communicate it with key stakeholders and top-level executives.
Marketing and Product-Related Responsibilities of a CRO
- Collaborate with product and marketing team leaders to align their departments’ performance with the overall revenue strategy.
- Use relevant data to identify key market segments and an ideal buyer persona that can generate the most revenue.
- Identify and dictate strategic marketing processes that will support customer acquisition, help create market positioning, and drive more sales.
- Monitor and assess the performance of the company’s marketing campaigns.
- Ensure that campaigns are centered around the right target audience and the most impactful sales channels.
- Identify opportunities for generating increased revenues and areas for growth.
- Review and assess product pricing to ensure that it’s accurate for target markets and customers.
- Oversee the corporate development strategies for products and ensure that all releases and updates speak to potential customers’ needs.
- Help determine budget trade-offs that can help generate more revenue in the future.
Sales-Related Responsibilities of a CRO
- Ensure that all sales materials are designed with the potential customer’s needs in mind.
- Make sure that everyone in the team understands how to provide prospects with the best value propositions that can lead to faster customer acquisition and further revenue growth.
- Track and assess the performance of the sales department.
- Oversee sales forecasting and other activities critical for generating revenue; identify problem areas and find areas for improvement.
CRO Service Responsibilities
- Create and maintain a customer-centered mindset in service teams.
- Ensure that all service operations put the customer first, solve their problems, and encourage customer loyalty, retention, and repeat purchases.
How to Become a Chief Revenue Officer
As you now see, CROs monitor and coordinate the work across multiple departments, which implies performing a wide range of related tasks and duties. So, what does one need to qualify for a job like this?
Since a CRO is a senior role, you can easily guess that the baseline requirements for this position are pretty high.
The specific demands can vary from one company to another, depending on a wide range of factors. Still, there are some key qualifications that every successful chief revenue officer should possess.
These typically include:
- An MBA (or equivalent) degree in Business or related fields.
- Extensive professional experience (often 7-10 years or more) in positions related to revenue generation, such as marketing, product development, customer success, sales, revenue management, etc.
- Experience in supervising and leading large teams, ensuring seamless collaboration, and creating effective corporate communication processes within cross-functional teams.
- Thorough understanding of revenue cycle, revenue operations, and other related concepts and activities, and their role in different business models.
- Good understanding of their company’s business strategy history, products, and services.
- Proven experience in creating and executing effective business strategies.
- Thorough understanding and comfort in using large amounts of data for making more data-driven business decisions.
- Strong ability to communicate and collaborate with key stakeholders and other C-Suite executives.
Other Key Skills
Apart from the qualifications and experience described above, every chief revenue executive needs to possess a wide range of hard and soft skills.
Namely, some of the key soft skills for this role include critical thinking, leadership, maturity, self-organization, high level of motivation, time management, decision-making, problem-solving, credibility, excellent interpersonal and communication skills, etc. Also, every chief revenue specialist must be goal-oriented and passionate in order to bring notable competitive advantages to their companies.
As for hard skills, in a chief revenue role, you will be expected to be very experienced and comfortable using various digital tools, such as customer insights dashboards and others. The specific tools you will have to know for each particular job will be dictated by the employers. They can also vary for different companies.
Finally, below is a brief overview of the top three critical skills you need to demonstrate to become a chief revenue officer.
1) Thorough Understanding of Customer Needs and Wants
As was already mentioned, customer satisfaction has a significant impact on the company’s revenue streams. Thus, every chief revenue executive must understand the needs and wants of their company’s customers and know how to address them.
A good specialist needs to develop a strong empathy for their customers. They have to understand customers’ pain points, what works for them and what doesn’t, and know how to use this information to generate higher revenues. Also, they need to know the basics of effective account management that can increase customers’ consumption of products and services.
2) Tech and Product Savviness
CROs have to perform a variety of tasks on a daily basis. A specialist in this role leverages the data collected from market research and competitive analysis, forecasts future revenue, builds strategies, monitors quarterly revenue results, and deals with a variety of other revenue management activities. All these tasks can be pretty time-consuming. To avoid this, CROs leverage a wide variety of tools to automate and streamline their operations. In order to be able to leverage all these tools, every chief revenue specialist must be incredibly tech-savvy.
As for product savviness, it is also crucial to succeed in this role. It implies having a deep understanding of the company’s product and the features that make it unique. This understanding is crucial for finding ways to monetize the product.
3) A “Builder” Mindset
In a nutshell, the mission of a chief revenue executive is to take separate teams and align their efforts in order to build a synergetic system that complements the company’s business strategy and brings revenue. To achieve this goal, a specialist in this role must possess a “builder” mindset that would let them see how different departments, teams, and tools can be brought together to achieve shared goals.
How Much Does a Chief Revenue Officer Make?
Lastly, everyone interested in the chief revenue career path is probably wondering how much money they can make in this role.
Since specialists in a chief revenue officer role are considered top-level executives and perform one of the most critical roles in every business, the salary for such positions is pretty high.
According to stats, the average base chief revenue officer salary in the US is between $233,415 and $378,535. The base salary can vary depending on the size of the company, the specialist’s qualification, and other factors. But that’s not all.
In addition to the base salary, CRO jobs often offer additional forms of compensation. On average, specialists in this role report receiving additional:
- $132,000 in stock options;
- $123,000 in commission;
- And $60,000 in annual bonuses.
If you put together the base salary and additional forms of compensation, you can get a pretty solid annual pay. That’s how much CROs can make. Thus, if you qualify for this job and do your best to create excellent customer experiences and generate more revenue for your company, this job can pay your efforts off generously.