Do you have what it takes to be an effective CRO?

The chief revenue officer is an increasingly important role in today’s business environment. We are facing high head of sales turnover. That turnover impacts an entire organization’s sales success. Plus revenue performance remains stagnant or declining for the majority of large companies.

It takes a certain kind of leader to manage and increase an organization’s revenue, to lead its salespeople to achieve goals and to work alongside the leadership team to help a business prosper. While there is no single formula for a CRO, there are traits all CROs must embody in order to find success in this role.

A CRO Is Customer-Focused

Chief revenue officers have a thorough understanding of the buyer’s environment and motivations in a purchasing decision. The buyer journey is one this leader can walk with a blindfold on, and buyer personas are as well-known as golfing friends. By having such an omniscient view of the target buyer, CROs build a sales culture that aligns with it. Sellers under the lead of a competent CRO default to viewing everything through the eyes of the customer, understand the customers’ pains and uncover the solutions that could help the customers most. As such, sellers use these insights to engage customers in relevant and valuable dialogue — and become trusted advisors.

A CRO Is Transparent and Articulate With Their Salespeople

When a team can rally around clear goals and expectations, the entire organization realizes more success. It is also important CROs manage individual expectations of their team’s performance.

A competency framework provides a clear understanding of what is expected of sellers’ performance, and it can be used from recruiting to performance reviews to motivation for growth. Sellers can measure their competencies against this framework, and together with the CRO, they can continue to improve their skills and performance based on the framework’s benchmark.

A CRO Is Collaborative and Allied

A CRO is an ally to their peers on the C-suite team as well as to each individual on their sales team. The company’s revenue performance sits on the CRO’s shoulders, so it is vital that communication, support and buy-in happens at the top leadership level — for without everyone’s support, financial targets are not achieved and investors get upset, and so do employees and even customers. The leadership team is a force to collaborate with and to seek action from at specific times, as well as to gain the support of at all times. Likewise, a CRO must be an ally to their sales team. This leader’s knowledge and experience has made them ideal for the role, but a truly successful CRO shares their know-how with their team. Teaching, mentoring, guiding and directing play a major role in revenue performance success — and it is the onus of the CRO to ready their team for the why of the what they are asking of those under their charge.

A CRO Is a Chemist

CROs may not wearing white coats and spend their days in a laboratory, but rather they forge chemistry between their team members. An X-factor in winning teams is the combination of diverse characters who bring unique strengths that feed off one another. There are those who are eager to mentor, not lead. There are those whose written skills are better than their verbal communication. The CRO recognizes these strengths and character differences and optimizes them by learning individual motivators and recruiting new people who fit the culture and enhance the culture. This cannot be learned from a book but requires years of experience assembling effective teams.

A CRO Is a Motivator

“Let’s go, team” on a Monday morning is not motivation. And though we can safely assume sellers are money-motivated, there is more to it than compensation. Motivation concepts made popular by Fredrick Herzberg, an influential psychologist in business, found that while poor work environment generates discontent, improved conditions seldom brought with it improved attitudes. Using employees’ accounts of real events that had a positive or negative impact, Herzberg’s research discovered that satisfaction came more often from factors intrinsic to the work itself: achievements, job recognition, responsibilities, and challenging and interesting work. (Hear Herzberg share his theories: Part I and Part II.)

The CRO who knows how to truly motivate has a team that contributes the most growth to the company. They ensure “hygiene factors” are in place. They know how to inspire a team to take the initiative. Because at the end of the day, if a salesperson is unmotivated, the customer knows and they respond with an equal lack of motivation to buy.


If your company could benefit from a chief revenue officer and needs help finding the right leader who checks all these boxes — or if your current CRO could use mentoring from someone with decades of experience — look to the Mereo Office of the CRO.