While there are many things that contribute to the decision behind the hiring of a CRO, (company growth goals, time left in the investment period, etc.) there are a few key characteristics by growth stage that are pivotal for the CRO to succeed.
The goal of the CRO: Define and align a value-based organizational message and operationalize it at the rep level.
Focuses on value
Defines the right markets
Uses a start-up mentality
Most portfolio companies see the biggest impact on revenue when they establish a buyer-focused sales message and operationalize it in a scalable fashion. CROs with an early focus on alignment will establish a strong and consistent sales message that enables their sales team to sell at a premium, consistently.
The goal of the CRO: Equip the entire customer-facing organization to efficiently qualify, progress and close sales opportunities.
Methodical about process creation
Understands accountability at all levels (reps, managers, leaders)
Leads from the front
CROs who join a company with more established products and messages will most likely turn their attention to operationalizing sales execution processes to accelerate revenue growth. The CROs should set their sights on defining and implementing scalable ways to enable their sales teams to qualify deals faster and consistently forecast sales.
The goal of the CRO: Define new opportunities to drive aggressive, expansion-stage revenue growth.
Strategic at identifying new markets and needs, then aligning them to solutions
With consistent messaging and sales processes in place, sales leaders at large-scale companies have the unique opportunity to find additional revenue-driving solutions. CROs in this environment should be held accountable for finding new markets, industries and outlets that enable their sales organization to expand their ideal customer profile.
Help Your Partnership Hire a CRO Who’s Committed to Achieving Growth
Helping your leadership team recruit and hire a leader that’s committed to growth and can set your portfolio company's sales organization up for success. As you know, supporting your company leaders in hiring the right CRO may come up more than once in your partnership, and at various stages during your investment period. Therefore, having a fine-tuned process to support your portfolio company leaders in understanding what they should require in a CRO by growth stage, will allow your portfolios to make the most successful choice(s).
Like most decisions, defining what you don't want in a CRO may be just as important as defining what you do want. As your leadership team works through the recruiting process, share our How to Hire the Right CRO Guide with them to help them invest in a candidate that will prime their sales organization for scalable revenue growth.
About Joe Kaplan
Joe Kaplan has worked in sales and sales management for over 25 years helping companies build the foundation and discipline that fuels predictable revenue growth. He currently leads the Force Management Investor Program where he consults on sales effectiveness initiatives with investors and their portfolio companies. Much of his work includes advising and managing projects pertaining to strategic sales planning, sales process improvement, channel strategy, pre-sales support and management development.