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  • Writer's pictureBrian Shea

CEO's Should Not Hire A Chief Revenue Officer (until.........)

In emerging growth B2B firms, CEOs, and often the other senior leadership team members, wear multiple hats including "sales leader". In the early building stages of revenue development, its an all hands on deck culture that drives sales.

There comes an inflection point when the senior leadership team decides its time to hire a Chief Revenue Officer (CRO). This is usually triggered by a noisy sales pipeline, or inconsistent forecasting results, or there's an urgent need to grow the sales team.

In the construction trade, the foundation of any new building is essential. Why? The foundation supports the load of the entire building, and needs to stand up to nature, aging, and normal wear and tear. Really well built foundations can be the difference in life or death during an earthquake, flood, or when weathering severe winds experienced during a hurricane. The foundation is the load bearer. It must be poured, cured, and inspected before any vertical structure is added.

The load bearing foundation of a B2B sales organization is the talent strategy and the sales process.

A mature talent strategy includes documented sales skills and competencies that are required to be successful. These requirements ensure that the recruiters and interviewing teams only identify sales candidates that can generate opportunities, develop relationships, develop credibility, deliver value messaging, drive opportunities, overcome objections, and close the deal. In Jim Collins, "Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap...And Others Don't", the research revealed the highest performing organizations ensured the right people were in the right seats on the bus.

Once the seller is on board, there must be documented "rules of the road" for each of the CRM stages, and these stages must be defined by confirmed buyer actions in the sales process.

If you are a CEO with a pending approval for hiring a Chief Revenue Officer, stop. Get your talent strategy and sales process in place first.

Why? Because a newly hired CRO only has 90 days to show impact. And with CRO's life expectancy now hovering at 18 months, they need to hit the ground running. I provided an expanded perspective here:

Brian Shea



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