How To Hire The Right CRO (and why its crucial for the GTM engine)
Hiring the wrong CRO can be catastrophic.
You see this in the investor update:
Promised 40% growth, but they've had a tough year because;
- The CRO didn't work out.
- The CRO cost us above $300k.
- The CRO hired the wrong people.
- The CRO didn't improve deal velocity at all.
The problem? Most companies don't know what they want from the CRO, the org design is wrong, and you don't do enough due diligence (i.e. potential psychometrics). It's risky.
When you consider the CRO to be a crucial cog in building your marketing and GTM engine, it's critical to get it right. The interface between sales, marketing, customer success and rev ops is fundamental to the orchestration of the machine.
Here are some tips on what type of profile you need:
< $𝟭𝗠 𝗔𝗥𝗥: Look for people who are passionate about what you are doing. Don't look for a sales leader who is TOO strategic. You are looking more for a focused executor who wants to learn. In this phase, most sales (in general) will be founder-led. Think about someone that complements you, the CEO/founder, someone you can trust, train, and help get deals done. This person will need to think more day-to-day (but wants to go on a journey with the business). They'll be ambitious and hungry and look for those good at 'prospecting' - essentially a trait lacking in many account executives and sales leaders. I'd suggest looking for someone insatiable about learning new tactics for improving outbound sales/ marketing who can help educate you in getting better outcomes quicker. They'll more likely be a Head of Sales than a CRO.
$𝟮𝗠-$𝟭𝟬𝗠 𝗔𝗥𝗥: In this revenue bucket, you need a sales leader who balances execution and strategy in parallel. It would help if you found someone with the right balance. They'll love the growth phase and demonstrate capabilities of building structures, playbooks, governance, motivation, strategy, execution and more. However, they can get involved in tactics and hands-on execution in the short term. They don't get too bogged down with complexity but build agile processes that adapt. They should be obsessed with helping the customer achieve the impact they bought the product for and learning from them to scale marketing's impact. They'll want to work closely with customers. Two critical things they'll need is the ability to help CEOs move away from Founder-led and not be too siloed tactically with a strong appreciation of marketing. If they don't, you want to achieve sales and marketing alignment, let alone repeatable growth.
>$𝟭𝟬𝗠 𝗔𝗥𝗥: Look for a CRO (and at this stage will be a proper CRO) who can execute proven processes. Look for a leader to orchestrate and take teams to the next level. We don't want every sale to be like magical art. Sales are repetitive, especially when you are over 10 million AEE. The CRO will love building new segments, categories, revenue streams, positioning pivots and complex growth plans. They'll know that creating a flywheel GTM engine with a "one commercial engine" mantra is the basis for success and scalability. They'll be great with customers. They'll be great at building teams and fostering 'high performance'. They'll also have a degree of gravitas that sets them apart as the CRO to take you to $50m+.
• Below 1M ARR, look for sales leaders who can execute and complement founder-led.
• 2M-10M: look for business-oriented CROs who balance strategy, execution and GTM alignment.
• Above 10M: look for a CRO that can execute, scale teams, build new segments, make new sales motions, create alternate sales routes to market (direct/indirect) and build on processes for the next level.