Chief Revenue Officer: Overview & Traits for Success as CRO

Last updated on Thursday, April 14, 2022

As more companies seek to convert their operations into scalable, sustainable growth, many have opted to hire a Chief Revenue Officer (CRO) to oversee the increasingly complex revenue process. With more touchpoints in the consumer lifecycle than ever before, CROs have become in high demand — but exactly what is a Chief Revenue Officer, and what does a Chief Revenue Officer do? 

If you’re looking to fine-tune the elements of your business that impact revenue generation or are looking to put your skills to work in the C-Suite, you’ve come to the right place. Take a look at everything you need to know about CROs, including Chief Revenue Officer priorities, the traits that set them apart from Chief Financial Officers, and the average Chief Revenue Officer salary.

What is a Chief Revenue Officer (CRO)?

A Chief Revenue Officer (CRO) is a C-Suite level executive who oversees and aligns every revenue-generating process across an organization. CROs maximize profitability by connecting multiple revenue-related teams, from sales and marketing to customer success. They are responsible for bettering sales performance, ensuring customer satisfaction, and accurate revenue forecasting. 

In other words, a Chief Revenue Officer eliminates barriers between revenue operations (RevOps) to ensure effectiveness across all departments. Chief Revenue Officer responsibilities span across multiple financial and sales-related functions, marketing and advertising alignment, and even the technologies that make interdepartmental communication possible.  

What Does a Chief Revenue Officer Do?

When it comes to the question of what does a Chief Revenue Officer do, there’s never just one answer. Chief Revenue Officer priorities run the gamut of product marketing to sales forecasting to customer success; however, the primary role of a CRO is to oversee the revenue operations team. RevOps teams consist of key players from sales, finance, marketing, and customer success teams. 

A Chief Revenue Officer must ensure no department under the RevOps team works in silos and rather to create alignment between each business activity that impacts revenue streams. This alignment helps to secure higher profitability and more accurate data that can be used to make informed decisions about revenue generation. 

Role-specific duties may vary across companies, especially between small and large organizations; however, there are some Chief Revenue Officer priorities that all professionals share:

  • Create alignment between all revenue-related departments and work hand-in-hand with team leaders as well as executives and stakeholders in revenue generation. 
  • Leverage data to make informed decisions, establish strategic processes and key performance indicators (KPIs), and communicate this data to relevant teams. 
  • Monitor sales performance to gauge the success of current processes and identify troublesome areas or new areas of revenue generation. 
  • Ensure company products, services, and marketing campaigns are placed in revenue-generating markets and are focused on the proper customers and channels. 
  • Supply each department with the resources, tools, and technology necessary to execute revenue generation. 

What is a Chief Revenue Officer vs. CFO?

So, how does what a Chief Revenue Officer do compare to the role of a Chief Financial Officer (CFO)? While there is a decent amount of overlap between CRO and CFO priorities, a CRO is responsible for managing and scaling revenue growth within an organization, whereas a CFO is responsible for the overall profit and loss of the organization and managing the company’s finances. 

Compared to a CFO, Chief Revenue Officer responsibilities go beyond the traditional sense of finance and sales to also align marketing and customer success for a uniform approach to revenue growth. Though a CFO also focuses on incoming revenue, their management of the full array of financial aspects means that CROs have a more diverse path towards growing revenue streams. 

Chief Revenue Officer Salary

The average Chief Revenue Officer Salary is approximately $235,000 but ranges from $100,000 at small-scale companies to upwards of $400,000 at large corporations. Salary ranges vary widely depending on several key factors, including education, certification, experience level, and company size. Likewise, the extent of Chief Revenue Officer responsibilities can also increase the salary. 

How to Become a Chief Revenue Officer

With such a range of Chief Revenue Officer priorities, how does one go about becoming a Chief Revenue Officer, anyway? Since a CRO is an executive-level role, employers seek out a highly-qualified individual for this position. Most organizations will require a Chief Executive Officer to have both a bachelor’s and master’s degree, typically an MBA or equivalent degree. 

You also must have relevant experience to maximize revenue, which is why many CROs start their career in sales and have a minimum of 7 to 10 years in roles like revenue operation or finance. Other requirements to become a Chief Revenue Officer include proven experience creating and executing successful business strategies and leveraging data to make informed business decisions. 

What Makes a Great CRO?

Beyond Chief Revenue Officer priorities, what truly makes a great CRO? There are several traits that not only increase the chances of being promoted to Chief Revenue Officer in an organization but also make the individual more effective at their role. Here are four traits of successful CROs. 

  1. Leadership Ability: Chief Revenue Officers must be able to effectively work alongside other C-Suite executives, communicate with key stakeholders, and manage an internal RevOps team. They should be able to mentor individuals across revenue-generating departments and build a productive, profitable workplace environment. 
  2. Technological Competence: Chief Revenue Officers should be comfortable leveraging a variety of digital tools, including software like Salesforce and Salesforce Revenue Cloud, to complete job duties that include revenue forecasting and analyzing customer churn. 
  3. Team-Building Skills: Chief Revenue Officers are expected to manage large teams of people across multiple departments and eliminate any barriers to revenue generation. As such, communication and empathy skills help align all parties in the same direction, from sales and marketing teams to other executives in the C-Suite. 
  4. Sales, Marketing, and RevOps Knowledge: Chief Revenue Officers must be able to identify the market segments that drive growth and establish strategic processes that harp on audience needs. They should understand how to locate opportunities for increased revenue.

Final Thoughts

Now more than ever, data-driven organizations seek to optimize the customer experience and fine-tune the touchpoints involved with the consumer lifecycle. Chief Revenue Officers have emerged as key players who can deliver a disciplined approach to maximizing revenue streams and aligning revenue-driving teams. 

With a Chief Revenue Officer at the head of your RevOps team, little stands in the way of advancing your organization — except outdated technology, that is. revVana is the ultimate revenue operations platform for Salesforce that both automates your forecasts and accelerates your revenue growth. Book a demo today to learn how revVana for Salesforce can benefit your business.