“Chief Revenue Officer” is a relatively new addition to the C-Suite, but it’s proving popular with a number of mainstream companies. So popular, in fact, that some are even eliminating Chief Marketing Officer in favor of this new position.
Ancestry.com made headlines recently when it made this move, but it turns out the company is part of a larger trend that is shaping brands as diverse as Johnson & Johnson, Uber, Lyft and Hyatt Hotels. Some think of the shift from CMO to CRO as a “re-brand,” but there are some key difference you should be aware of if you are making this shift.
How is a Chief Revenue Officer different from a Chief Marketing Officer?
Chief Marketing Officers have long been seen as a bedrock part of any consumer or business-facing organization. They craft marketing plans, oversee advertising, crunch numbers and analyze their success rate.
Chief Revenue Officers have a similar remit, however they are seen as having a stronger connection to the sales function of an organization. In that sense, they can be useful in breaking down traditional silos. Additionally, as marketing operations become more digital in nature, CROs are also expected to be consummate data people. Last but not least, these folks, in addition to absorbing many traditional marketing functions, must be constantly focused on the bottom line and extracting the most value out of each line of business.
Roots in Startup Culture
We can trace the roots of the Chief Revenue Officer in startup and tech culture thanks to growth-focused companies like Uber and Tesla. Startup culture has brought a number of ideas into the business mainstream, such as rapid iteration, minimum viable product and “growth hacking.” All of these innovations are focused on one thing: getting the maximum possible value out of an idea on a short timetable. The increasing popularity of the Chief Revenue Officer position, even outside of tech, is a reflection of a yen for rapid progress and innovation that produces profitable results.
Rapid adoption by regular organizations
So as marketing budgets get squeezed, we see companies like Ancestry.com contemplating the move to a “Chief Revenue Officer” model. We expect this trend to continue as more organizations look for metrics-driven solutions to their revenue-generating efforts.
Chief Revenue Officers occupy a special role in the hospitality industry, where they are an essential tool in minimizing hotel vacancy rates, addressing the proliferation of OTAs (Online Travel Agents) that cut into the bottom line, and maximizing profits for their companies.
Takeaways for executives
Chief Revenue Officer can be a point of transition for both sales and marketing professionals. Marketing pros would be well served by quantifying their successes in dollars and cents, while sales folks will want to demonstrate success in working across departments and disciplines. Both will want to show that they are data savvy and able to apply various kinds of analysis to the bottom line and extracting more revenue.
Takeaways for hiring organizations
Should you hire a CRO over a CMO? One thing to think about is how marketing and sales figure into your organization. If you find there is a level of misalignment in mission and goals across departments, a new hire — a CRO — can offer a level of consolidation that will show great benefits in other areas of your organization. Many companies are also attracted to this position because it can enhance an “entrepreneurial” feel within the organization.
Making the right hire
Rely on ACCUR Recruiting Services to help you find your next Chief Revenue Officer. Contact us now for more details.