Chief Revenue Officer Success – The First 90 Days

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Marketing and Sales

Written with contributions from Ed Funaro

As growth focused companies realize the critical synergies required across the marketing, sales and customer success functions, they are increasingly recruiting a Chief Revenue Officer (CRO) to lead the way. Yet many CROs fail without a properly defined role and an adequate onboarding process. It is vital to ensure CRO success.

A Chief Revenue Officer (CRO) is responsible for a company’s revenue streams. He/she has the ultimate accountability for driving revenue growth. The role is clearly cross functional. The CRO oversees and aligns revenue-generating departments: Marketing, Sales and Customer Success. It is a challenging role. The average tenure of a Chief Revenue officer working at the same company is incredibly brief – only about 18 months, according to an annual survey from CSO Insights.

The first 90 days are critical – Whether a company makes money rests with the CRO. Expectations are that the CRO will have about one quarter or 90 days to prove they can meet management’s expectations. As Michael Watkins points out in his top selling book The First 90 Days.

 

What are the attributes of a successful Chief Revenue Officer?

Market Maker: A CRO works closely with the executive team and others to craft and communicate the company’s vision and then transform that vision into a long-term strategy for pioneering new markets and opportunities.

Leading From the Front: A CRO must be able to see and clearly communicate the company vision and the revenue strategy across all relevant functions and ensure the right goals are defined and met.

Business Acumen: As a business leader first, a CRO must regularly measure and analyze productivity and effectiveness, form strategic product road maps, create market positioning and competitive advantages, and determine budget trade-offs with a goal of continually improving and developing predictable and sustainable results.

Informed Arbiter: The best CROs understand and embrace the differences between marketing and sales, while at the same time establishing processes to ensure their coordination across the full revenue cycle to ensure the greatest possible revenue growth.

Data and Metrics-driven: The right CRO creates a culture of accountability by setting the right metrics and tying company performance, compensation and promotions to tangible results.

Results-oriented Accountability: A CRO assumes a long-term, integrated perspective while also striving to drive quarterly revenue results – he or she commits to short-term results, forecasts future revenue, and takes accountability for both short-term success and longer-term strategy.

 

How do you measure Chief Revenue Officer success?

The Chief Revenue Officer is responsible for all aspects of the Revenue Architecture. So what does success look like? Here are success outcomes for each of the 9 revenue architecture dimensions.

Markets and buyers are clearly identified and segmented and buyers and influencers are fully understood.

Valued product and service offerings are created, defined, priced and articulated for maximum ROI in each market.

Go-to-market strategy is continuously evaluated and selected to provide the most effective and profitable channels for distribution and buyer engagement in each market segment.

The Brand presence effectively delivers on the brand promise and is clearly and consistently expressed across all brand touchpoints.

The revenue technology stack enables marketing, sales and customer success and fully supports a seamless end-to-end buyer experience.

The revenue operating model is designed, sized and managed based on business requirements. The right organization structure and closed-loop process enables revenue performance at the right cost of sales.

Marketing execution generates buyer awareness and engagement and is analyzed and refined to isolate the activities that generate the greatest ROI

Sales execution predictably and actively engages qualified buyers with the right activities and opportunities are orchestrated for maximum close rates and revenue.

Customer execution delivers a complete feedback loop and ensures customer success, satisfaction, retention and expansion.

At Revenue Architects, we specialize in helping growth companies with CRO success. We help companies envision, enable and execute their revenue architecture for accelerated, predictable and sustainable revenue growth. Our fractional CRO services and 90-day success plan helps companies build the foundations they need while accelerating marketing impact, sales volumes and velocity. Contact us for a tailored briefing.

Financial Advisors (2 OF 9): Craft Market-Ready Service Offerings and Segment Messaging

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This post is updated. The original post was published in 2017.

Personas represent the needs and behaviors of your ideal clients and are helpful in shaping your positioning and messaging.

We recently published the 2020 Edition of the Financial Advisor SMART BOOK™.  This resource is a comprehensive guide to help independent financial advisors build an ‘independent difference,’ that is, a strategy-led, systematic growth program with 9 proven strategies. The goal is to help advisors:

  • Increase Volume: Generate More Visits & Inquiries
  • Increase Client Value: Get Better Qualified Inquiries
  • Increase Velocity: Increase Conversion Rates
  • Increase AUM and Revenue: Optimize Engagement for AUM growth and Revenue Impact.

[Strategy 2 of 9] Valued Offering ~ Craft Market-Ready Service Offerings and Segment Messaging

You will be surprised how effective it is when you communicate offerings based on specific personas that represent the needs (or pain points) and behaviors of your best clients.

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Pivot to the NEW NORMAL – Accelerate Revenue with Tech-savvy Sales Talent and Tools

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Do you have a focused SALES business recovery plan?  Does it allow for current year goal achievement post-crisis? 

Most businesses have a business continuity and resiliency plan that allows for continued operation in the event of an unforeseen circumstance, but most businesses do not have a revenue recovery plan!  The pandemic crisis has forced new ways of working and impaired business performance, but companies must anticipate coming out of the crisis and being  prepared for the new environment. This is the time to take advantage of the crisis by examining and addressing ineffective and unproductive elements of your revenue architecture including systems and talent.

An informal survey of CXO’s conducted by Revenue Architects over the last 6 weeks indicates that sales and marketing organizations are functioning differently through the uncharted waters of the COVID-19 pandemic.  The results confirmed that 90% have been materially impacted. 

  • 60% of participants stated that they have or plan to layoff/furlough part or all of their sales and marketing teams
  • 50% stated they do not have a formal recovery plan to return to Pre Covid-19 performance.
  • 100% stated that working remotely had a positive impact on their productivity while also representing new management challenges
  • 80% indicated that it was harder to bring some staff given the reverse incentives of government programs.

Conducting business under current constraints with social distancing, remote working and the reduction of capital expenditures is a new challenge. It can be harder to sell if you are not in front of the client. Yet even before the pandemic the skills and profile of sales superstars were changing. And the B2B buyer, already digital savvy, was becoming more educated and self-sufficient using online resources to self-sell. 

“If you give me a techno-savvy, Internet-friendly, google ranked, instant responding, collaborating, differentiated, social media savvy, value-driven, a value-based messaging, salesperson who uses the voice of the customer testimonials and is interested in how the customer profits…then, I will give you sales results”.  

 

But how do we infuse these talents and skills along with sales best practices into our selling team and drive sales, take market share, and position for the upcoming market expansion?

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Financial Advisors: Define Ideal Clients and Market Segments

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Market Success

This post is updated. It was originally published in 2017.

 

Independent Advisors need a strategy-led, systematic growth program.

We recently published the Financial Advisor SMART BOOK™, 2020 Edition.  This latest edition has been updated and outlines the Revenue Architecture Methodology that financial advisors can use to add greater structure and predictability in their revenue engine. We introduce nine steps and advisor-specific marketing and sales strategies that are helping advisors capture client value.

The comprehensive guide helps independent financial advisors build a strategy-led, systematic growth program with 9 proven strategies. The goal is to help advisors:

  • Increase Volume: Generate More Visits & Inquiries
  • Increase Client Value: Get Better Qualified Inquiries
  • Increase Velocity: Increase your Conversion Rate
  • Increase AUM and Revenue: Optimize Engagement for AUM growth and Revenue Impact.

Having a vision and game plan for growth is important for financial advisors to thrive in a challenging marketplace. The Smart Book™ outlines how you can achieve more predictable and sustainable revenue growth by establishing a Revenue Architecture that fits your firm. The key is to commit to a systematic sales and marketing process by following the 9 proven strategies to guide your approach.

[Strategy 1 of 9] Markets & Buyers – Define Ideal Clients and Market Segments 

This may seem obvious, but we are surprised how many advisors we work with have not done a marketplace assessment, defined segments, and personas.

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Chief Revenue Officer Role Description

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Chief Revenue Officer

The CRO is Responsible for Predictable and Sustainable Revenue Growth

This post is updated. It was originally published in July 2016

Today, companies recognize the need for a company-wide revenue focus and a more integrated approach across marketing and sales. The CRO oversees the traditional responsibilities of the VP of Sales and the Chief Marketing Officer and is a member of the senior team overseeing go-to-market strategy and execution. The CRO is  responsible for aligning company resources, defining differentiated go-to-market strategies and delivering on the company’s revenue performance goals.

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Professional Selling with LinkedIn

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Professional selling is senior selling. It may be a seller-doer model, as in consulting, or an expert-driven sales model for high value products and services. Professional selling is not about directing a junior team of salespeople, it is about senior people doing the selling – establishing their personal brand, actively building a network and engaging both existing relationships and new prospects with thought leadership and insights.

Clearly, LinkedIn is an established resource for professional sales. It helps senior professionals find and engage with specific prospective clients or buyers with personal 1:1 interaction, establish professional credibility and share content and resources to nurture and develop prospects. It also offers paid options to build awareness and encourage lead conversions.

So how can senior professionals take advantage of LinkedIn? You can simplify it with three steps (and a few sub-steps). 1. Develop a strategy, 2. Establish the systems you need, 3. Execute your program(s).

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Have Something to Say, and Say it Well

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Persuasive Communications

Persuasive Communications Enhances Sales and Marketing 

Persuasive Communications helps you deliver your message and deliver it in a logical and persuasive way. It is a buyer-centric approach to communicating. I use what I believe is a very useful framework  for communicating and persuasive arguments.

At Revenue Architects, we often ask each other, “What is your S-C-Q-A? ”.

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10-Stage Integrated Marketing and Sales Process

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Structured or Unstructured Process?

Some businesses need a highly structured sales process that dictates specific activities sales reps need to execute.  These might include things like a discover call, a demo, a pricing meeting, proposal, signature meeting, etc. Often a structured process is needed for more junior sales reps and where the volume of sales activity is high and the dollar value of the sale is low.

For complex sales cycles and when selling professional services, sales teams do not need a highly structured process. For these teams, a stage-based marketing and sales process works better.  In each stage, there are a range of activities, strategies and tactics teams will use to engage the buyer and DMU (decision making unit) across the buyer’s lifecycle.

Buyers Don’t Care if it is Marketing or Sales

The buyer wants a simple and clean buying process. They don’t care if they are engaging with your marketing a sales team. They are simply following their buying process – often in an unstructured and unpredictable way.  The typical stages of the buyer process are:

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Revenue Growth Architecture

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Accelerated, predictable and sustainable revenue growth requires alignment around an architecture for marketing and sales and a commitment from the senior team.

Coordination for buyer engagement across the full-funnel is vital.  A realistic evaluation of capabilities and alignment on revenue strategies is the first step in building a revenue organization to capture customer value and for rationalizing equity and debt investments.

We are working with a $10M B2B tech company that is looking to get to the next level of accelerated, predictable and sustainable revenue growth.  The company has been in business for over 10 years, offering a variety of managed services, support services and applications to support IT Infrastructure requirements.  They have about 350 active clients that contribute to the companies ARR revenue base. The customer base is loyal with low attrition and there remains good demand for additional services resulting in a continuous pipeline for “up-sell”.

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