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The problem Chief Revenue Officers from a sales background face

October, 31 2023
The problem Chief Revenue Officers from a sales background face

Recently, I've been meeting more and more talented Chief Revenue Officers and Chief Commercial Officers (CCOs) that came to their roles from sales backgrounds.

They've shared their biggest problem with me and I’ve been hearing one problem come up again and again.

While they are very hot on the sales-led go-to-market motions and gaining expansion through sales, they admit that there are some areas where they are lacking. "My expertise is not in inbound marketing, nor customer success, and I have limited knowledge of product-led growth (PLG)."

What’s the solution?

That's ok when you're vice president of sales but if your stepping into the role of a CRO, you've got to have at least some idea of what good looks like in marketing, sales, partnerships, product-led growth and customer success. As CRO, you aren’t just responsible for sales. You're responsible for driving revenue growth across the whole customer journey.

Today, the go-to-market motion is multi-dimensional. In fact, it’s a lot more complex than ever before.

Revenue Leaders have no choice but to understand the key success metrics and levers from growth across all of your customer facing departments. The greatest CROs step out of their comfort zone, admit they don't know what they don't know and teach themselves. They also aren’t afraid to hire people who know how to lead a revenue operations transformation - like RevOps Automated.

For those of you who are already in position as a CRO and have been for some time, I have a question for you. What did you learn when you became a CRO that you didn't know before?

What the community said

“As someone who’s not new to revenue position but new to what it takes to own the heaviest number:

“- Prioritize or die trying — My new Christmas wish is to hire an executive assistant. Till then, it’s incredibly easy to waste a day and every hour counts

“- Understand End-2-End of your cycles - from pre-sales (net new) to post-sales (up-sell/cross-sell) and opportunities beyond engagement.

“- Always inform your team about the latest moves that will impact their work. Don’t keep them in the dark. It doesn’t matter if company decisions are in their hands to augment/influence or not. Transparency and knowing why you do what you do always trumps being kept in the dark. Lead by example of having a true open channel of communication.”

- Alexander Shyshko, CRO Outbound Funnel

“I was mostly sales-led until I was forced to learn marketing as a CEO. My learning initially came from Rachel Beisel Scott, who brought knowledge and concepts I had never heard of. Then, I took HubSpot's Inbound Marketing course, and Christine Dart joined our team and helped transform our marketing engine from the inside out. I made sure to observe and learn, so I had the wherewithal to be able to explain it, understand it, and then also articulate how we could build it for our clients.

“The magic took off from there, and then Sabrina Ott eventually became my right hand. She is one of the smartest and most talented marketers I've ever met, and everything she does is data-driven and ties back to revenue. With her, the silo/wall between marketing and sales was abolished. Now, everything we do is in tandem with the other, and we are in lockstep. A great CRO should be 100% knowledgeable in branding, marketing, and GTM (and yes, CS!), but they should also have a brilliant right-hand CMO/head of marketing. Yes, I know marketing, but without Sabrina, I'd be lacking. She is constantly researching and learning... and testing new things. We are always at the forefront of what is next and experimenting behind the scenes.”

- Mary Grothe, Chief Revenue Officer at PNI•HCM

“What worked yesterday doesn't necessarily work today. Innovation is key to adapting to the market, competitors, and other evolving dynamics. Every leader needs to be your best new hire (this includes internal transitions).”

-Chris Bondarenko, CRO at MentorcliQ

“It's refreshing that many CROs recognize the importance of expanding beyond their sales expertise. In today's complex business landscape, revenue leaders must have a holistic understanding of sales, partnerships, PLG, and customer success. Actual revenue growth can be achieved only by grasping the key success metrics and levers across all customer-facing departments.”

-Jolie Shapiro, Growth leader at Caspian Studios

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