The CRO–A New Member of the C-Suite

By: Gary Tubridy Revenue Growth Strategy, Sales Leadership, Sales Strategy

cro-blog-imageAlexander Group (AGI) continues to explore the changing customer contract: how more informed and sophisticated customers are demanding ever more value from their vendors…and what sales organizations are doing about it.

One recurring action is the creation of a Chief Revenue Officer position to unify leadership of marketing, sales and service. AGI has conducted some research with CROs from various industries to explore how this position actually works and what benefits it delivers.

First: What is the rationale for adding this position to the C-suite?

It boils down to a need for better vision. Sales, marketing and service executives focus on solving today’s problems and making today’s numbers. But the role of the CRO is to step back and ask, “Is there a better way?” This makes the CRO a catalyst for change—one who finds ways to grow revenue faster by serving customers better.

The role of the CRO is to find out where new approaches are needed and to leverage the talents of the whole team (marketing, sales, and service) to build a new and more value-laden playbook.

Next: How does the CRO enable such a playbook?

AGI has identified seven factors that, by virtue of cross-functional influence across marketing, sales and service, the CRO can use to steepen the growth trajectory of their company.

  1. CROs help create more compelling value propositions. The CRO collects and harnesses customer-centric insights in a way that siloed, functional executives cannot easily do.
  2. CROs make every customer-touching function responsible for results. Marketing, service and sales can all contribute to pre- and post-sale customer success. The CRO can ensure that there are measurable goals for all functions that add up to potential revenue growth.
  3. CROs help make customer-touching resources more productive. By more effectively connecting the right resources with the right customers, the CRO makes all customer-touching resources more impactful, more efficient…and more productive.
  4. CROs enable a more collaborative, communicative culture. When organizations design programs from a broader perspective, to serve the customer instead of protect turf, collaboration comes naturally. And so does growth.
  5. CROs enable more innovation through the “democratization of ideas.” The CRO is able to unleash the power of the individual contributor through collaboration. The CRO actively assimilates the best ideas and turns them into action.
  6. CROs improve the sense of partnership between sales, marketing and other key functions—especially finance. Others view the CRO as a peer, enabling a dialog and some give-and-take with finance. This takes the CFO out of the role of simply saying “no”, and enables a thoughtful discussion with the CRO about the business case and its merits. This produces a healthier, more productive relationship.
  7. CROs enable both speed and learning. When CROs enable a collaborative sales, marketing and service ecosystem, companies are able to get products to market faster, learn what works faster and deliver real value more consistently.

Closing Thoughts

The CRO understands the challenges in each organizational function…and how the various functions can address these challenges by working together more closely:

  • Marketing produces better leads when it shares revenue responsibility with sales
  • Sales moves leads through the pipeline more effectively with better insight and tools from marketing
  • Sales develops better customer loyalty and more renewal sales when it engages with service to engage customers before a problem occurs
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Gary Tubridy

Gary Tubridy is a senior vice president of the Alexander Group and the general manager in charge of the firm’s management consulting business. Gary’s consulting work is focused on increasing marketing and sales effectiveness with particular emphasis in technology and medical products industries. Gary has deep expertise in diagnosing sales management issues and helping clients execute action plans to improve results. His research is focused on best practices of leading sales organizations in North America with particular emphasis on sales force transformation and the role of sales leadership. He leads the Alexander Group executive events series and hosts the Operations and Executive Forums. He is one of three founding stockholders of the Alexander Group.

Gary has been with the Alexander Group for over 35 years. Prior to that, Gary was in sales with the IBM Corporation. Gary holds a B.A. from Brown University and an MBA from the Graduate School of Business at Columbia University.