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CRO Survival Guide: Why a Fractional Chief Marketing Officer is a Sales Leader's Secret Weapon

Something different is happening at emerging tech companies as a result of the recent downturn. It has to do with Chief Revenue Officers (CROs).

If you’re not familiar with the role of a CRO, it’s a newer position within the executive ranks of B2B technology companies.

But it’s not actually so new.

The individual in charge of sales or sales and marketing has often been referred to as a VP of Sales or VP of Sales and Marketing for a long time. But the challenge was that members of the executive team were filled with a bunch of Chiefs.

Meanwhile, a VP had a ton of authority, but not the title. Go to any business and you’ll notice a bunch of VPs, especially at banks, where better yet, look at who isn’t one.

What is a Chief Revenue Officer?

The CRO is a different position depending on the company and the capability of the person in the role.

Sometimes, it’s the VP of Sales with a more official and credible title. Other times, it is the merger of Sales and Marketing. The person will focus 80% to 90% of their time on sales and the rest is dedicated to managing people and marketing. On some occasions, it is the combination of three disciplines: Sales, Marketing, and Customer Service or Experience.

As the world continues to head towards this tech downturn, you could call it a recession or series of layoffs, more companies are eliminating positions. Some of the first to go is marketing and customer service leadership. Their solution is to centralize them under a single individual, which is the Chief Revenue Officer.

The Rise of the CRO

So what is happening differently based on what we’re seeing?

In most cases, we interact with VC and PE partners of portfolio companies. We also sit down with CEOs, COOs, and CFOs. It’s rare we’ve had discussions with a Chief Revenue Officer…

Until now.

Today, the CRO has more responsibilities while the company has fewer resources. More is expected from the people in these positions, which means they’re empowered to think smarter about pipeline growth and customer retention or expansion.

The CRO is expected to do more with less. They need a secret weapon.

The Secret Weapon

Now is the perfect time for the CRO to leverage a fractional or interim Chief Marketing Officer to help round out their growth machine.

You will be supported by a genuine leader that can support your vision without the politics that often plagues sales and marketing relationships. You will still be able to claim credit for initiatives that work because a fractional or interim CMO doesn’t require recognition.

As you have more responsibilities and expectations, you don’t have time to mess around with random acts of marketing. You need proven programs that can drive awareness, increase demand, or speed up the sales pipeline. Relying on a proven and battle-tested fractional CMO as a trusted advisor is a winning strategy for any Chief Revenue Officer.

Now Is the Time

As a CRO, you can finally stop wasting your time butting heads and getting involved in mind-numbing ego-pissing matches that take up most your day.

When you implement a fractional or interim CMO, you can direct marketing with a proven leader who is there to support your pipeline, time, customers, and success.

There’s never been a more critical time to have a secret weapon in the war against not getting things sold.

Everything is taking longer. Customers are ghosting sales members like never before. Quotas aren’t getting any easier. Plus, the pressure to grow is increasing, no matter how small your team is.

It’s insane.

The weight of the world that was already on a CRO or VP of Sales’s shoulders is getting heavier. You were pulling the company along before. But now, you’re fighting upstream in a river to get to that destination.

You don’t need internal fighting or finger-pointing. You don’t need brand marketing strategies full of pretty colors and magical words. You don’t need to be slowed down.

What a CRO Needs

What you need is a marketing leader under your direction that can come and help bring your vision to life. You need someone who can lead the marketing resources into a single, aligned growth program. You need a fractional CMO that is battle-tested, proven, and knows what you need.

When things are not getting easier, a fractional CMO can be the way to success.

Want to learn more from GROW Powerful? Visit our website and check out our Grow Up With GROW podcast. You can find it wherever you listen to your podcasts. You can also subscribe to our LinkedIn newsletter.


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