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Hire the right Chief Revenue Officer (CRO) in 3 steps

With experienced Chief Revenue Officers (CROs) in high demand, but low supply, hiring CROs presents a unique challenge for scale-ups even before you consider your current needs, resources and goals.

As every company is different, there’s no way of copying and pasting a CRO job description or candidate brief like you can for an Account Executive at Series B stage.

To get the right fit CRO and ensure a seamless hiring process, here’s what you need to do.

1. Decide on a permanent or fractional CRO hire

Do you need a full-time CRO on a large yearly salary? With the recent explosion in interim and fractional go-to-market leadership, many scale-ups are opting for a ‘try before you buy’ approach to CROs – taking on a fractional CRO for 1-3 days per week on a rolling basis. Fractional CROs can perform all the same tasks as full-time hires, but focus on pre-defined goals instead of the wider full-time brief (i.e. they’re less likely to be public-facing evangelists in the market).

While many organisations prefer the stability of a permanent hire, it may be better to try a fractional CRO first if:

  • You’re not 100% clear on what you need. A fractional CRO can steady the ship, execute specific growth initiatives, evaluate your requirements and help create a detailed role brief for their full-time replacement. They can also support the full-time hiring and onboarding process.
  • You think your needs might change soon. If you have a new fundraise looming, a fractional CRO can plug the gap until you know the level of investment and post-raise growth goals which will determine what to look for in a full-time CRO.
  • Hiring a full-time CRO will cause drawbacks elsewhere. A fractional CRO usually charges £1250-1500 per day for Series A to Series B instead of a basic salary of £180-360k + benefits for a full-time CRO.

2. Align on requirements

As the CRO role cuts across your organisation, you need senior management alignment on the priority objectives before you can define what type of CRO is required (if at all).

First, check you have the resources, capacity and need to hire a CRO – and not just a VP of Sales or other commercial leader. Second, work with your executive team to define the CRO job description, package, ideal candidate profile and interview process. At this stage, you will also need alignment on the candidate brief – i.e. the CRO’s responsibilities and objectives for addressing your current commercial challenges – as well as the locations, industries and companies to focus your search on.

3. Search strategically

As CROs are a) a highly-specialised role and b) in very high demand (2000+ open roles on LinkedIn in the US and 300+ in the UK), trawling your network to find the right candidates for you requires more than luck to bear fruit. Instead, you need to search strategically.

Start by speaking to current CROs (that aren’t trying to join your company) about their role to find out what good looks like, the key CRO attributes to look for and any potential CRO red flags. In addition, seek out CEOs, board chairs and specialist executive search companies that have successfully hired CROs for your stage of business for their input.

Based on your list of desired attributes, devise an interview scorecard to test candidates’ suitability, including competency-based questions around their specific financial, data, strategy, culture and collaboration-related experience. For example, ask how they built and executed a GTM strategy in their last role or how they handled C-level disagreements in the past (check out Pavilion CEO Sam Jacobs’ 13 CRO questions for more examples). When you’re ready to make an offer, leverage specialist advice on the right compensation packages.

Onboard the right way

The hiring process doesn’t stop after making an offer. To ensure your ideal candidate converts and has an immediate impact on the business, leverage outside support to ‘sell’ your opportunity to the CRO and devise an onboarding process that supports the revenue leader.

At ScaleWise, we not only leverage existing CROs to lead your recruitment process – ensuring the candidate brief accurately reflects what you need in the role – but we also guide you through every stage of the hiring process and use our pre-vetted network of CROs to complete the hiring process in weeks, not months – for both fractional and full-time CRO hires.

For more information, check out our Ultimate Guide to Hiring a CRO or get in touch for free advice on the type of CRO you need.

Patrick Coleman

Patrick Coleman

Co-founder & CEO, QStory

“ScaleWise has transformed our go-to-market approach enabling us to implement best in class Account Based Sales Marketing strategies that deliver high-quality pipeline consistency”

Matt Jones

Matt Jones

Head of Go-To-Market, EvaluAgent

“Having valuable expertise ‘on tap’ from ScaleWise has been pivotal in accelerating the growth of Evaluagent”

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Tatjana Hayward

Communications & Business Operations Lead Senseforce

“ScaleWise coaching had a big impact right from the start, helping us to execute a much more effective marketing strategy whilst implementing best practices throughout our sales & marketing funnel. ”

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