Chief Revenue Officer: A Failed Experiment or an Evolutionary Step?
- October 13th, 2012
- Crandell's Corner
- 7 Comments
The clash between marketing and sales departments has fostered the growing popularity of a new position – the Chief Revenue Officer – to bring the finger-pointing under wraps and align the two functions under shared revenue goals.
In theory, the CRO role makes sense. It allows the CEO to delegate marketing and sales alignment to someone with experience under both functions to optimize the teams and manage differing charters, personalities and performance metrics. Many Chief Executive Officers have risen through the sales ranks. They may not fully understand the charter of marketing and are prone to take sales’ side in arguments, instead of creating an environment for collaboration.
In the best of cases, Chief Revenue Officers have gotten sales and marketing to stop blaming each other for lost revenue opportunities and created a customer-focused attitude, aligning both departments with customers rather than lead numbers and superficial metrics.
But in most cases CROs have made matters worse. Instead of leading both functions to a shared, common-sense vision of serving the customer, they inevitably play mediator between two warring sides. Like the CEOs before them, the favor of the CRO is won by sales, who has a more direct way of measuring their influence on revenues. The CRO role has developed into giving sales a seat at the C-suite – almost like a Chief Sales Officer.
The CRO is not dead however, it is an experiment and an intermediary step to the Chief Customer Officer position. As progressive companies realize that it’s more effective to focus on the customer experience, relationship, satisfaction and loyalty that drives revenues than on the numbers themselves, Chief Revenue Officers will inevitably become Chief Customer Officers.
Most Fortune 100 companies are at some stage of the transformation to a customer-centric organization. From strategic planning to job description and performance metrics, enterprises are retooling themselves to align with customer expectations. In this transformation, it’s natural for CROs to move into the position of a Chief Customer Officer (CCO) that manages the lifecycle of the customer experience from marketing, to sales and support.
Only by stitching together these functions into a cohesive fabric can companies consistently deliver experiences and nimbly change in lock step with their customers.