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Behind the boom of the CRO

As the lines between marketing and sales blur, there's been a 73% increase in CRO titles...
Behind the boom of the CRO

The ‘Chief Revenue Officer’ (CRO) title has experienced a boom as of recent. In just three years, there’s been a 73% increase in CRO titles on LinkedIn, with many pointing to Silicon Valley as home to the role’s inception. As companies within the digital or startup space look to scale up - particularly within the software-as-a-service (SaaS) industry – the CRO position was created.

According to Nick Cromydas, CEO and Co-Founder of Hunt Club, a recruiting service for venture-backed tech startups, the rapid growth in CRO titles is due to the shifting nature of marketing and sales. Traditionally, marketing and sales have been segmented,” he explains. “But today, marketing isn’t seen only as a brand awareness agent. It’s seen more as a way to drive material customers or leads into a sales organisation.”

Although the fundamentals of CRO lie in sales, their expertise transcends beyond revenue, encompassing data skills such as analysing customer engagement and ensuring business models can be scaled up. “In other words, the reason you’re seeing these titles more frequently is because the handshake is getting tighter with the way technology is moving today,” Cromydas explains. “This integration of sales, account management, customer success, business development and marketing call for a CRO because there is now a greater demand for a direct line from marketing and sales into one person.”

“A problem many companies have is their dream candidate of today often doesn’t fit the needs of tomorrow.”

 

Cromydas notes that with the proliferation of software businesses, companies are no longer constrained by the production of inventory or bandwidth of people to service customers. “With the click of a button, you can clone an entirely new software product for a prospective new client or customer,” he says. “This allows for rapid exponential growth by technology companies, forcing companies to integrate marketing, account management, sales, business development and customer success.”

However, there are challenges in finding qualified CROs, with the main one being, in Cromydas’ opinion, finding someone who really understands the DNA of the business and organisational structure in relation to growth needs. “Fast growing tech companies change on a dime, and the needs one year will dramatically change the next,” he elaborates. “A problem many companies have is their dream candidate of today often doesn’t fit the needs of tomorrow.”

But there is a solution. Cromydas advises those searching for CROs should align themselves with great consultants, mentors, and investors who can help them build the optimal profile. “Next, you need to ensure you have actual figures to back the achievements of job candidates. Sales and marketing leaders are good at selling themselves, but if you don’t have concrete data points on someone’s experience, it’s going to be difficult to tell whether this person will actually make an effective CRO.”