5 Best Practices of a Fractional Chief Revenue Officer

Quina Turner

08 June 2021

The Chief Revenue Officer — everyone wants one but no one knows where to find these elusive unicorns and how to keep them once they’re finally discovered. Businesses are searching high and low for the superhuman leader who is perfectly balanced in strategic sales leadership and technical marketing prowess. 

The CRO title is powerfully enigmatic yet the search for one is trending. Companies are hanging wanted posters on every corner because the title comes with a promise to finally solve the age-old battle between marketing and sales. 

The vision? This Herculean person will come in with the much-needed zest and fervor to sweep the company’s archaic sales processes off its feet, while simultaneously fusing the teams, and magically flipping on the surging flow of inbound leads. The CRO symbolizes radical synergy and record-breaking revenue numbers; the answer to all a company’s prayers. 

Does this person really exist? Yes! But they are not in the center of the spotlight, as you may assume. They are vigorously strategizing behind the scenes as a humble servant to one world. They are not a glorified VP of Sales or a former CMO who now just manages two separate funnels — sales and marketing. They are an unbiased warrior who serves one funnel — the revenue funnel. 

The dichotomy sounds complicated, but rest assured, the ideal CRO does exist. Here are the five best practices of a fractional CRO. Use this guide in your quest to find your revenue-driving marketing wizard who will elevate your organization to unfathomable new heights.

CROs create streamlined processes that are scalable and unbreakable but relevant to the ever-changing marketplace.

The Five Best Practices of a Fractional CRO

‘CRO’ has been a trending buzzword, which may interfere with who you’re selecting to move through your candidate funnel. Push beyond the buzzwords; instead of searching for 'data-driven,' 'experience with omnichannel,' or anything with the word 'optimize,' search for a professional with these five foundational practices.

1. A CRO is a Big Picture Strategist, not a Firefighter

The CRO is no longer a tactical player-coach, assisting deals over the finish line or single-handedly driving lead nurture campaigns. They are definitely not the sales team’s desk jockey and CRM punisher, or the marketing practitioner putting out fires all day. That’s just not how companies scale.

A CRO is the optimizer, the strategist, and the premium-grade rocket fuel to the holistic revenue engine that a company needs in order to grow.

As a big picture strategist, the CRO is focused on redeveloping the company’s organizational chart so sales and marketing are less stratified. The changes they institute should bring clarity around interdepartmental handoffs and individual roles, while breaking down silos, slashing bottlenecked processes, and eliminating redundancies.

CROs create streamlined processes that are scalable and unbreakable but relevant to the ever-changing marketplace.

2. Great CROs Balance Both Sales Expertise and Marketing Mastery

Conventional companies operate in sales and marketing silos, sometimes causing friction among teams. Marketing and sales should integrate and harmonize to drive more revenue. A CRO is fluent in both and can effectively speak the language so that both departments are synergistically achieving results.

You can’t have a healthy inbound sales funnel without marketing, and marketing shouldn't stop its efforts the moment a visitor converts to a lead. Your next CRO should prioritize both sectors and create workflows to enhance long-term customer loyalty and revenue growth.

A pillar page shouldn't just encourage visitors to fill in a contact form and then drop that information into a salesperson's lap without context. Likewise,salespeople shouldn't just write off non-responsive leads without drip campaigns and marketing outreach.

When CROs don't equally leverage both sales and marketing, morale and productivity suffer, the cost per lead will increase, and profitability will shatter.

3. An Effective CRO Is Not Driven by Ego

C-level executives have a reputation for inflated egos (no offense, CEO). You know you’ve found the right CRO when they don’t lead with their ego but instead with humility.

A CRO is relentless in keeping its emotional intelligence sharp. From empathizing with employees at all levels of the organization to recognizing departmental or team-based conflicts at a glance, your CRO must be a humble yet confident leader.

If your new potential C-level is too busy playing hero or making themselves loudly indispensable, that's not what you need.

4. The Best CROs are NOT the Smartest in the Room

To the dismay of many, a CRO usually doesn’t have an IQ score 3 standard deviations from the norm. It's not your CRO's job to be the smartest person in the room. The growing trend of not hiring the smartest person in the room fairs well with this CRO selection criteria.

The best CROs don’t always have soaring IQ scores, but they do have sky-high strength-finding skills.

CROs know how to build a winning culture through attracting, hiring, and retaining talent. They focus on finding the smartest person for each role. They do this by efficiently recognizing strengths, leveraging their team members’ inner brilliance so their employees shine in their own geniuses.

Intelligence isn't a requirement. It might not even be preferred — when someone thinks they're the reigning expert, they may not be open to recommendations or alternate points of view. Total top-down decision-making that verges on tyranny is not only bad for business, but stunts developing superstars and multiplying leaders.

5. A CRO Is Not There to Be Liked

Fractional CROs are in the business of making people uncomfortable by shaking up old processes and scrapping tired routines.

CROs make the tough decisions, swim against the current, push for reform, and revolutionize company processes. Most people resist change; the CRO relishes in it.

These changes mean discarding someone's pet project and even eliminating certain roles or employees. Instead of worrying about individuals' opinions and being liked, they'll introduce changes that are superlative for the team as a whole. Choose a CRO who sees the value in being respected and getting honest feedback but who won't roll over due to popular opinion.

Stop Searching and Get Started With a Fractional CRO from House of Revenue
When you search “CRO” in Google, it still pops up as “Conversion Rate Optimization.”. The CRO role is new but trending exorbitantly. It’s all the rage right now because the CRO is what every growing and scaling company needs to ramp up revenue and profitability.

Forward-focused companies are actively hunting for these elusive unicorns as we speak. Many are electing fractional CROs to fill the gaps and are seeing the results. It’s an arduous path to hiring the right talent for a rare role that requires a rare set of skills. The fractional model supports the revenue engine and at a fraction of the cost.

Don't settle in your search — look for a CRO who embodies these best practices and is prioritizing revenue growth above any other metric.

Your teams need a good CRO, but a CRO needs a good team. Don't waste time in your search for either. That's where House of Revenue comes in. Let's explore this further and see if our fractional model is a good fit for you.