What is a Chief Revenue Officer, and What’s Their Role?

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While start-ups in Silicon Valley may have been among the first companies to employ a chief revenue officer (CRO), this executive position is now becoming more mainstream.

Companies from micro-businesses to the multi-million-dollar corporation are increasingly evolving their sales processes to generate predictable and repeatable income. They’re also looking to make money from disruption taking place in their fields.

In most organizations today, the chief revenue officer has the responsibility of optimizing all types of revenue generation.

The Most Desirable and Effective Skills of a Chief Revenue Officer

This position requires strong technical and financial experience as well as a host of other skills. Some of the most important attributes for a person in this role to possess include:

Leadership skills and background

Most Chief Revenue Officers have experience as a C-suite executive. Since the ultimate responsibility for generating scalable, predictable, and repeatable income lies with this person, it’s essential that he or she can lead a large team and take responsibility for its successes and failures.

Good Negotiation Skills

The person also needs to have good negotiation skills to help teams work together as well as take charge in the boardroom. These skills, along with solid sales and marketing knowledge, often develop while working as a C-suite executive.

Technological Savvy

An incoming CRO must be technologically adept in many ways. They should possess the following:

  • An instinctive understanding of how the company’s products merge with the technology stack of their clients.
  • An intimate understanding of how each product works to bring in the maximum amount of revenue.
  • A strong understanding of digital marketing and the importance of big data. They should continually analyze data to discover how their company can earn greater profits.

Strong collaboration abilities:

Teamwork is essential, and it starts at the top. Sales, marketing, and other teams within the company look to the CRO for how they should interact with one another. This person must also know how to spot and attract top talent to bring onto a struggling team. Since the CRO frequently meets with several department heads, he or she must know how to listen as well as challenge when necessary and offer real solutions for pressing problems.

Ability to see the immediate and larger picture:

An effective CRO sets and measures immediate goals as well as those for several months in the future. He or she knows how to adjust course when necessary if teams consistently miss their financial target. The CRO understands that the financial picture can change at any moment even though it looks stable at present. He or she plans continually to avoid a crisis and keep the company headed in the right direction.

The aforementioned qualities of the ideal Chief Revenue Officer candidate represent a tall order. While experience matters, so does the ability to jump right into an unfamiliar field and help to unify teams and increase sales. Although finding the right person is difficult, the effort is worth the outcome.

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