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A Chief Revenue Officer (CRO) or Chief Sales Officer (CSO) is the executive-level linchpin for generating topline revenue for fast-growth organizations. Responsible for developing and implementing a company’s overall sales strategy, CRO’s ensure success by partnering with other senior executives to connect sales, marketing, and customer success for a seamless customer experience. 

Companies need to identify the right strategic, cross-functional leader who is an expert in building sales organizations and managing sales performance for the best possible outcome.

Reporting to the founder and/or CEO, the responsibilities for a CRO may vary depending on the size and stage of a company, and typically include: 

  • overall accountability for company sales revenue and setting aggressive targets
  • defining the sales organization’s vision and strategy 
  • defining sales metrics, data capture, and analyses
  • partnering with C-suite executives to determine pricing, contract negotiations, and contract duration
  • innovating and accelerating ideas for immediate and long-term growth
  • removing barriers inhibiting performance or operational excellence across the sales organization and cross-functional teams
  • hiring, mentoring, and sales training and development
  • fostering a winning culture within the sales organization and across the company

The Chief Revenue Officer is tasked with defining and measuring the success of the sales organization and to continually iterate based on precise metrics and outcomes. The CRO needs to be fully capable to monitor and assess the sales pipeline, requiring their team to report on prospects and leads throughout all stages of the sales funnel. The best CRO’s are passionate about communicating and not only engender, but demonstrate, best practices to the sales team and overall organization.

Evaluating Chief Revenue Officer’s Leadership

Prior experience with a proven track record of leading, building out a sales function, and setting and exceeding sales targets is non-negotiable. Just as critical are personality traits, emotional skills, and values-alignment. The DANA team diligently uncovers and thoroughly evaluates each candidate for the Chief Revenue Officer position during our rigorous interview process and identifies characteristics that others may have missed.

  • Leadership – The strongest leaders are marked by integrity and have a long-term vision for the business and their team. They continually work to inspire and optimize the sales team and its processes to achieve success. Paramount is the desire and ability to invest the time and energy needed to cultivate a communicative and cooperative environment and build a culture of trust. Do they have the emotional agility to lead? Can they drive positive change? Are they authentic? Do they champion the team and give credit where it is do? 
  • Communication and Interpersonal Skills – Exceptional communication and interpersonal skills are core competencies for high-performing CROs. Providing clear, focused communication and demonstrating sensitivity and tolerance mark their success. Do team members know what to do? What’s expected? Does the candidate genuinely engage their team, asking for input and feedback throughout the process? What does their body language reveal? How do they instill confidence and enthusiasm? Do they use collaborative language? 
  • People Management – Far beyond just managing people and optimizing processes in the workplace, accomplished Chief Revenue Officers ensure their sales team have what they need to get the job done. It starts with caring for team members and providing them with continued support, guidance, and resources to overcome challenges and pave the way for peak performance. How do they create a psychologically safe environment? What is their coaching style? How do they empower individuals to realize their full potential? How do they mediate and resolve conflict? 
  • Empathy – An essential trait for effective leaders and a key ingredient for building healthy organizations is empathy. Possessing empathy creates a positive experience for individuals and teams that enhances and improves engagement and productivity. It also enables leaders to more readily identify the root cause for poor performance. How does a candidate demonstrate empathy? How do team members perceive them? Do team members feel respected and valued?
  • Adaptability – Inclusive leaders are prepared to adapt their behavior and methods when faced with any situation. They are continuously open to learning and new ideas, readily absorbing new information into their thinking. Are they flexible? Do they have a one-size fits all approach? How have they adapted their leadership, communication, and coaching styles to respond to the varied needs of individual team members or changes in the business? 
  • Developing Strong Relationships – Accomplished CRO’s understand that building strong, personal relationships with prospects, customers, team members, and other C-suite executives pays off. With clients it drives higher lifetime value and lowers acquisition costs. With employees, fostering a sense of belonging means the ability to attract and retain talent. Does the candidate build strong bonds? Are they fully committed and engaged? Do team members and co-workers feel seen, heard, and valued? 
  • Self-Awareness – One of the most important capabilities for leaders to develop is self-awareness. Exceptional CRO’s are not only curious and emotionally intelligent but self-aware. They recognize their own strengths, weaknesses, and hidden biases. Does the candidate understand the impact of their words and actions? Do they actively listen and connect? Do they continue to evolve and grow?

Contact Us to Recruit for Your New Chief Revenue Officer

AHiring the right C-suite executive to set the stage for future growth is critical to your success. As the top sales search firm in the Boston-Cambridge area, we have earned our stripes because our approach is different. It goes deeper. Our rigorous evaluation process over multiple, in-depth interviews uncovers character and personality traits and critical skills that wouldn’t surface otherwise. Let us help you identify the right CRO/CSO to lead you to success. To learn more about DANA’s sales headhunting services, read our case studies or please schedule an introductory call. We look forward to speaking with you.

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