CRO, Chief Revenue Officer, the new title for marketers?

In this article we will tell you a little bit more about CRO and in this case we are not referring to conversion-rate-optimization but to the job title Chief Revenue Officer. It is a title that has become more and more popular and actually fills a completely new role in the modern company that works actively and structured with digital marketing. 

Why has the CRO, Chief Revenue Officer role become popular?

Historically, marketing and sales departments have worked in parallel but with very little collaboration between the departments. The marketing department has rarely had a clear link to revenue-generating activities but has to some extent acted as a support function to sales where the focus has been on producing brochures, stands for trade fairs, designing some presentation etc. In connection with the development of new strategies such as Inbound Marketing, Content Marketing, Account Based Marketing and others, the need for cooperation between the marketing department and the sales department has increased significantly.

For many companies, it is now difficult to see an exact boundary where the work of the marketing department ends and the sales department takes over. It has also become much easier to measure what marketing departments are actually adding value to, thanks to increased tracking of digital activity and the arrival of new software for this purpose. The trend in recent years is for marketing departments to work more closely with sales departments and for marketing to be seen as an integral part of the wider customer journey. This is where the CRO role comes in. This is because there has been a lack of a clear role that held the marketing department and the sales department together and made them work as a synchronised orchestra. 

What does CRO - Chief Revenue Officer - mean? 

The title refers to being responsible for all revenue for a company. The direct translation of the title Chief Revenue Officer is something like "Head of Revenue" which clearly shows what the role entails. This title has become more and more current and common as more and more companies see that marketing and sales are intertwined. In an organizational chart, a CRO is usually placed above the marketing manager and sales manager. The role involves being responsible for all revenue generating activities for the company and therefore needs to be in control of both marketing and sales. Sometimes the role has been more of an analytical role where the starting point has been to analyse data from sales and marketing activities but has evolved and in our opinion should be a leadership role for sales and marketing.

CRO new marketing manager or sales manager?

Those companies that choose to introduce CRO as a new role in the company will need to consider what types of skills are needed for the CRO role. The role requires both an understanding of marketing and sales, and therefore it is natural to fill this role with someone who has a background in either sales or marketing but preferably someone with experience in both areas. The choice to go with someone who is more focused on sales or marketing is difficult and should be made depending on your particular company's situation. It's natural to choose someone who will work best where the biggest challenge in the company is today.

In many cases, the sales manager is chosen as CRO because it is still easier to measure sales activities as directly revenue-driving. However, with the development of tracking marketing activities all the way to revenue, it is more common now than in the past to hire someone from the marketing side.
Whether it's someone from marketing or sales, the most important thing, as with any recruitment, is the right personality.Specific to the CRO role is a leader who can intertwine marketing and sales into a well-oiled machine. 

When should you hire a CRO? 

In small companies, it is the CEO who effectively owns the CRO role and it is usually not until there is a well-established marketing and sales department that it is interesting to hire a CRO. However, our view of the future is that it should be appropriate for the first employee in either sales or marketing to be given the role of CRO. This clearly shows that the company has the intention from the outset to put together a sales and marketing team that will work together and not separately.
When it comes to larger companies, the structure with a clear sales and marketing department is usually in place and there it is more often the case to appoint a Chief Revenue Officer. This will bring an active stance and demonstrate that they believe there is value and revenue to be captured along the entire customer journey. 

Do you need to add more marketing expertise to your sales and marketing department? Contact us to look at a Marketing as a Service (MaaS) package that suits your organisation. 

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