Customer Success | 6 MIN READ

Chief Revenue Officer (CRO): The Complete Guide to This Key Role

A chief revenue officer keeps the revenues of the company streamlined and implements plans to get the most revenue. Learn all about the CRO in this blog.

Niyathi Rao
Niyathi Rao
Apr 23, 2021

Chief Revenue Officer (CRO)

Chief Revenue Officer (CRO)

What keeps a business going? Its revenue, of course. Growth is the number one requirement for most companies in the changing economic landscape. And to drive revenue of scale, companies need to hire a Chief Revenue Officer (CRO). While sales executives always have a seat at the C-Suite, it is required the Customer Success and Revenue executives also have a seat. To ensure revenue performance increases steadily, there is the emergence of a Chief Revenue Officer (CRO) as a new C-level appointment. The SaaS sector specially needs a specialised individual dedicated to focusing on revenue and prioritising expanding revenue. Let us look into everything about the CRO role, responsibilities, need for a CRO, when to hire a chief revenue officer and more.

What is a Chief Revenue Officer (CRO)?

A chief revenue officer is one in charge of all the revenue streams of the company. These revenue officers are accountable for all revenue growth. They also align all revenue-generating activities and streamline them for better output. If any department generates revenue, it is the CRO who should unify the streams and optimise them for growth. As per the Revenue Marketing Report 2021, nearly 80 percent of companies say that their executive team encourages alignment of sales and marketing teams. This alignment is caused by a customer-centric attitude and a CRO. With increased focus on Customer Success 2.0, a CRO part is needed in generating revenue.

The purpose of a CRO is to align company’s revenue strategy, GTM strategy, and optimise customer experience to improve revenue. They merge sales, marketing, business operations, account management, and customer success related revenue.

CRO versus CMO

CRO is a senior member who is responsible for revenue generation. CRO will look at the long-term perspective and will not be enticed by small wins. Sales teams are focused on making the numbers roll in. Marketing needs to make sure the pipeline for the same is full. The CRO needs to ensure that customer’s revenue is optimised and maximised. So, the CRO looks at streamlining the revenue generation while a CMO looks at populating that marketing funnel.

Chief Revenue Officer Salary

How much does a chief revenue officer earn? Based on submissions made anonymously on Glassdoor, the average salary of a Chief Revenue Officer is around $238,972/year.

Key Roles and Responsibilities of a Chief Revenue Officer

What Does a Chief Revenue Officer Do? CROs look to transform the sales and marketing division of companies via a strategy. The responsibilities include-

  • Optimising marketing teams efforts
  • Discovering new leads
  • Collaborating with external teams, account managers on improving customer satisfaction
  • Finding scope for renewals or expansions
  • Track progression of customers
  • Defining market segments and ideal buyers
  • Optimising value positioning
  • Setting go-to-market strategies and models.

KPIs that CROs Focus On

The Key Performance Indicators that CROs need to focus on include-

  • Customer Lifetime Value
  • Annual Recurring Revenue
  • Expansion Revenue
  • Annual Contract Value
  • Monthly Recurring Revenue and other metrics that look to improve revenue and retain customers.

CROs need to deliver profitable growth in a hyper-fast environment. That brings us to our next segment- What are the top 5 must-have traits in a CRO?

5 Traits Every CRO needs to have

  1. CRM, sales, and marketing expert

    The end goal of a CRO is to optimise the customer journey and this is possible when they know the sales funnel in deep detail.

  2. Must be data-driven

    CROs need to love analytics and data so as to make sense of customer data and influence decisions. They need to leverage the power of data analytics.

  3. Tech Oriented

    Every CRO needs to be tech savvy and oriented to monetise the data in the best manner. Also, they need to know how to use technology to meet their needs.

  4. Must be a seasoned C-Suite Executive

    A CRO has to be someone who can handle the boardroom effectively. The politics and hard decisions they have to make should not stress or frighten them away.

  5. Coordination and Team Player

    A CRO needs to be a team player. They are a synthesis of different roles and that has to be kept in mind to generate revenue.

What is the need for a CRO?

A chief revenue officer is one who aligns marketing messaging with revenue generation and customer success to increase revenue. It creates consistent messaging that can be useful for prospects and customers. A CRO helps create environment that prospects and customers can experience. So, in a SaaS company where subscriptions are the key it is important to have a CRO who will improve the revenue.

When Should my company hire a CRO?

When your company feels they need to align sales and growth- you need to hire a CRO. Some key indicators that suggest when to hire a CRO are –

  • When the blame game starts
  • When there are poor quality leads
  • When there is low alignment across teams
  • When one team makes all the decisions
  • When there are missed sales opportunities

Usually, the CMO under the supervision of the company implements a revenue streamlining strategy. In case that is not done well, you need to hire a CRO. CROs will analyse how your company works and see what can be offered by focussing on the positives.

A good CRO will look to ensure maximum revenue and good processes are in place.

  • Establishing that marketing and sales are fully integrated.
  • Analysing and measuring marketing and sales productivity from a revenue angle
  • Removing and identifying defects in sales and marketing efficiency
  • Causing a fundamental shift in process and continuous improvement in sales and marketing

Revenue Alignment and Customer Success

By streamlining revenue streams, you can achieve customer success. The best way CROs can achieve revenue alignment is by rallying the company over customer experience. Companies need to have smart plans that will focus on increasing the customer lifetime value. This CLV is a key metric that impacts marketing, sales, product, and customer success teams. A chief revenue officer needs to handle this CLV by maximising it to increase revenue.

Final Thoughts

A good CRO helps maximise revenue and is a necessary leader who can help your business. Harnessing the power of your sales, marketing, and CS teams to the right extent is the responsibility of the CRO. Hiring a team player will help implement a revenue-generating plan for company and customer success.

You might also like:

Get the #1 Customer Success Platform

For Growing CS Teams

Get a Demo

Originally Published April 23rd, 2021, Updated April 26th, 2021

Niyathi Rao

Niyathi Rao

Niyathi is an experienced content marketer with a love for SaaS tech products. She reads a lot (mostly fiction) and is a huge news junkie. Niyathi loves exploring different forms of inbound marketing and taking on challenges.

Related Articles


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

Ready to see us in action?

Schedule a demo now!