What is a Chief Revenue Officer - Job Description and Responsibilities

The chief revenue officer is a pivotal role directly influencing the future of a company, and covers new business sales, installed client base sales, marketing, and partner strategy. Adding a new CRO to an organization sends the message: “our company wants a growth hacker” with a passion for growing business.

As a company evolves, it may become apparent that a chief revenue officer is needed, and that person will lead the charge as they take on the responsibility for all aspects of driving revenue to the company. As with most CXO positions, each company will require a CRO to play different roles. There is no “one-size fits all” job description.

Free eBook: The Role of a Chief Revenue Officer

It is more appealing for software and engineering companies to find a talented person to fill the role of a chief revenue officer.  This makes sense because so many CEOs who have product and engineering backgrounds want revenue and customer DNA to complement their skills and interests, and they want a sales leader who will be able to translate initial traction into lasting growth.

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As positions in a company evolve, a chief revenue officer
might be referred to as (or confused with) these titles:

- Chief Sales Officer
- Chief Sales and Marketing Officer
- Chief Development Officer
- Chief Marketing Officer

Since the role of a chief revenue officer is so critical, there is a hesitation to put “all the eggs in the proverbial basket” and rely so heavily on one key individual except for teams with an obvious skill gap.

To help you with recruiting, evaluation and development, here are responsibilities of a chief revenue officer.

A Chief Revenue Officer for a larger company is expected to have a successful background of scaling revenues into the hundreds of millions, building lasting relationships of among Fortune 500-1000 brands, and managing large sales teams.  A CRO is expected to have a flawless understanding of SaaS-based cross-channel marketing and the programmatic space.

A smaller company looks for an individual with success in delivering rapid revenue growth.  Many times a smaller company is looking for a CRO to take a lead role and the position evolves as the company grows. Most of the responsibilities below are still required.

In the new world of media and technology, the successful chief revenue officer will have deep knowledge of cross-channel marketing, native advertising, programmatic, and the latest trends in digital advertising.

Understanding how to establish and maintain excellent relationships with C-level executives of key target clients and channel partners is tougher than ever, but just as important.

Without the expertise of growing, training, and managing a national sales team, including developing sales strategies and matrixes for analyzing sales performance, the CRO becomes another administrator vs. a business development leader.

The Chief Revenue Officer should expect to participate actively in strategic and business unit planning to develop reasonable and thorough revenue projections for annual budgets and multi-year projections. It is very possible that he/she will participate actively in contract negotiations.

It will be important for the prospective CRO to have more in their skill arsenal if the company has partners, affiliates, and joint venture partnerships. If this is the case, the CRO will also oversee all Channel/Partner Development -- adding new sales channels and 3rd party resellers and partners.

Naturally, such a role requires strong financial analytical, modeling, writing, PC and software skills. In this key CRO role, a person will be very well be called on to “evangelize the company,” through participation in key industry events. It is important to understand the responsibilities in advance since a person who has both the talent to be an “evangelist” and have strong financial analysis skills are a particular breed.

A great CRO cannot be a one-trick pony. They have to find any and every go-to-market opportunity that provides leverage. As noted above, metrics and analysis and data benchmarks are vital. The job is to test demand generation, selling, growth hacking, etc., to measure success and failure, and as a leader they need to know when, where and how to “double-down.”

Rarely does a person taking on the role of a chief revenue officer not have a minimum of at least five years of direct sales experience. While the CRO leads a team, their personal experience lays a foundation for successful leadership.

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The Chief Revenue Officer must be prepared to take on these responsibilities:

  1. Create a standardized outreach for current and future clients and coordinate its implementation across sales channels, client management, and marketing and communications
  2. Develop growth strategies with the executive team and board of directors
  3. Create accountability within the company by developing appropriate metrics and coordinating compensation and promotions with these metrics
  4. Prospect and close relationships with key target clients
  5. Monitor the revenue pipeline and leads, adjusting as necessary to create sustainable growth
  6. Establish both short-term results and long-term strategy, including revenue forecasting
  7. Monitor the strategies and processes across the revenue cycle from customer acquisition to engagement to success
  8. Fill management gaps by building and training individuals and teams in Sales and Account Management
  9. Develop and implement robust sales management processes – pipeline, account planning, and proposals
  10. Oversee all Channel/Partner Development -- adding new sales channels and 3rd party resellers and partners
  11. Drive a “lean startup” style environment of constant experimentation and learning
  12. Leverage customer research (quantity and quality) to provide strategic leadership for brand architecture and positioning
  13. Each company will add more special requirements based on their products, services and size

Free eBook: The Role of a Chief Revenue Officer

Character attributes are essential and more difficult to recognize. The successful chief revenue officer may have the following attributes or skills:

  • Self-Starter - ability to execute and implement change
  • Passion – for the company’s mission
  • Highly energetic personality – a motivator
  • Critical Thinking – strategic and highly analytical
  • Leadership – easily move others to action by planning, motivating, organizing and controlling work being done
  • Goal Oriented – naturally motivated to reach goals
  • Interpersonal/Communication Skills – an innate ability to channel different points of view; Able to establish and maintain excellent relationships and credibility quickly; Create team atmosphere with internal staff while achieving key objectives; Excellent consulting skills as well as technical writing and public speaking
  • Maturity – provide a good balance of risk taking and judgment; Is aggressive and confident; Able to operate independently of a large staff
  • Professional – unquestionable integrity, credibility, and character; Who has demonstrated high moral and ethical behavior

A chief revenue officer in today's new world of media and technology, is a new breed. Expertise and passion as a company builder are needed to be successful in the CRO role, one who can broker any number of diverse go-to-market strategies through to scale.

For your convenience, you can download this article in a pdf format here >

While this information can help you understand the role and responsibilities of a chief revenue officer, we have a NEW eBook that will help you define the Role of a Chief Revenue Officer in greater depth.

We believe the job of a CRO is more than just a glorified VP of Sales, and the free eBook offers a detailed overview of the role and responsibilities.

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Chief Revenue Officer >


Topics: Revenue Growth CRO Chief Revenue Officer