What Does a Chief Revenue Officer Do?

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The Chief Revenue Officer (CRO) is responsible for gaining a competitive advantage by continually optimizing the ‘Lead-to-cash’ lifecycle and revenue retention.

This executive is a relatively new figure in the C-suite, growing in popularity over the past five years. The CRO role originated in the SaaS industry to capitalize on how the digital products and services emerging from Silicon Valley could be brought to market. Compared to traditional sales, SaaS products opened opportunities to diversified pricing strategies that reap more revenue, all at scale.

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Do you know what a CRO does? Which decisions should they be involved with when it comes to IT and Salesforce projects?

What Does a CRO Do?

Fuelled by their passion for revenue growth, the CRO’s mission is to align revenue streams, therefore, playing a major role in connecting revenue processes between teams.

Compared to the CFO (Chief Financial Officer), the CRO is focused on growth within revenue streams versus the overall profit/loss of the company (the CFO’s responsibilities). Their focus on incoming revenue means that it makes sense for the CRO to align with the sales team, orchestrating what the sales team is doing.

It could be said that the CRO is the new C-level iteration of the ‘head of sales’/’VP of sales’, the person driving an organization forward in the evolution from ‘what we sell’, to ‘how we sell’.

This means that they will be involved in marketing, sales, channel sales, and customer success.

Others argue that there is so much more to working as a CRO than an extension of a sales C-level executive role. CRO responsibilities include:

  • Revenue growth and maintaining full visibility over revenue generation,
  • Confer on marketing initiatives (lead by the CMO/Marketing management) that match the go-to-market strategy with a laser focus on delivering revenue,
  • Connecting the sales, operations, and finance teams to deliver a seamless revenue cycle (including partner teams, where a channel sales stream exists) – plus giving each team visibility into the different business functions,
  • Setting revenue targets to help executives, managers, and project leaders meet their team and organization-level objectives,
  • Oversees the budgets assigned to marketing/sales operations and special projects,
  • Spinning up new monetization strategies, such as bundling, usage-based pricing, or cross-sell opportunities,
  • Define pricing models, promotions, and discount thresholds specifically to drive revenue growth,
  • Assessing new/future revenue streams, with a long-term vision (versus a VP of sales who have a close eye on the current revenue streams and lead/opportunity pipeline),
  • Involved in exploring ways to improve the customer-facing experience with new technologies (lead by the CTO/technical lead), including self-service, intelligent recommendations, and multi-channel sales,
  • Tapping into sources of data, such as sales forecast data, websites/e-commerce behavior data (ie. browsing/buying/returning), to then use data to drive decisions for new revenue streams,
  • Overall, are tech-savvy to better understand current industry trends, remain agile, and potential that innovations such as AI, data analysis, and data visualization could deliver.

What IT Decisions Does a CRO Get Involved In?

After highlighting that CROs are tech-savvy and analytical, relying heavily on data means they can project revenue and identify untapped revenue streams.

Although their revenue strategies demand IT infrastructure that can handle complex business models or revenue processes, there is an overarching aim to make the buying experience increasingly simple for the customer. In short, no matter how complex their requirements, the customer experience must continually be streamlined.

Here are the main reasons why a CRO would be involved in an IT project:

  • Optimizing the ‘Lead-to-cash’ lifecycle; enhancing the CRM and other integrated platforms to handle revenue processes, such as payment balances and consumption limits,
  • Being the key stakeholder for CPQ and billing projects (eg. Revenue Cloud),
  • Be involved in the discovery phase for ERP projects, sharing their requirements (what they need from the ERP and CRM-ERP integration) so they can fulfil their goals*,
  • Be involved in the discovery phase for e-commerce platforms, sharing their requirements to ensuring they will get the desired insight into their KPIs,
  • Be involved somewhat in high-level marketing automation platform decisions, with an interested in ensuring the tool of choice is extensible/scalable to handle future business lines/growth initiatives,
  • Advocate for automation and/or integration that removes operational friction between sales, operations, and finance teams,
  • Data analysis and visualization, especially those that will show sales pipeline KPIs, digital channel performance (‘revenue by channel’), and why some digital strategies work while others do not.

*The CFO would lead the evaluation process, as in, shortlisting and selecting the ERP. The CRO would typically be consulted leading up to the decision on which ERP to use, then after to influence how it should be used.

Summary

Fuelled by their passion for revenue growth, the CRO’s mission is to align revenue streams, therefore, playing a major role in connecting revenue processes between teams.

CROs are tech-savvy and analytical – relying heavily on data to project revenue and identify untapped revenue streams – so it makes sense that they feel invested as stakeholders in IT projects. The CROs main focus is the CRM ‘Lead-to-cash’ lifecycle but will be a key influencer in e-commerce, ERP, and marketing automation decisions.

To get to the crux of what the CRO role involves, I wanted to speak to someone that has walked in those shoes. Thanks to Mike Hoal, FinancialForce Engagement Manager with OpMentors and Merivis Alumni Advisory Board Member, for providing those insights that our community will surely benefit from.

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