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Understanding the Fractional CRO Part 1: CRO vs. CMO

Brad Hendrickson February 25 2022
Understanding the Fractional CRO Part 1: CRO vs. CMO

It is no secret, having holistic alignment between your sales, marketing & success team will yield a positive outcome. SmartKarrot even notes that "As per the Revenue Marketing Report 2021, nearly 80 percent of companies say that their executive team encourages alignment of sales and marketing teams." But simply encouraging alignment isn't enough. Using more transparent and cross-departmental CRM platforms, making authentic communication easier, and even aligning KPIs and team goals can only push two departments with different areas of focus and different leaders together.

That's why more businesses are considering adding a Chief Revenue Officer (CRO) to the C-suite team.

While a CEO handles product-related concerns, a CRO is the top reporting authority for marketing, sales, customer service, and, in many aspects, revenue operations.

This can be an abrupt shift in how many people and many organizations see their org chart; in fact, your organization may be on the fence about adding a CRO at all. Rather than diving in headfirst or avoiding the issue altogether, try a Fractional CRO. A Fractional CRO is a cross between a consultant and an interim executive who can help you reorganize your teams, show the benefits of adding a CRO role to your company, and let you test drive the concept with a bit more day-to-day experimentation. 

Learn more about why starting with a Fractional CRO is a great compromise that doesn't leave anyone settling for the middle ground and the key differences between a CMO and a CRO.

 

Why It Makes Sense to Hire a Fractional Executive or Team

Companies are trending towards having a full-time Chief Revenue Officer who can bridge the gap between sales and marketing and manage the entire customer experience. In fact, 'CRO' isn't the only buzzword to think about here; 'customer experience' is quickly becoming one of the most important considerations for B2C and B2B organizations. According to recent research gathered by HubSpot, "Customer-centric companies are 60% more profitable than companies that aren't."

Since creating a seamless customer experience that's enjoyable every step of the way is becoming an essential part of business success, reorganizing roles in your org chart makes sense.

Here's why a Fractional CRO — or a consultative, third-party CRO who can help build out the role and responsibilities — should be your first step:

 

Mitigate the Risk

Introducing a CRO into your org chart is probably a good idea, but introducing the wrong person to that role could ruin the smooth transition and positive employee adoption of the new framework. But when you hire a Fractional CRO who's there on a part-time or temporary basis, breaking the ice is easier, and personality-based friction is less impactful. 

 

Save Money

Executives are expensive. The reason why you might hire a Fractional CRO is the same reason why you might hire contractors or freelancers: you need results without all the administrative costs of a full-time employee, and you're not sure you need a long-term, permanent fit just yet. When you hire a CRO from a service, you just pay the rate, rather than benefits, salary, and all the background taxes and fees of increasing your number of employees.

 

Experiment

Hiring a Fractional CRO also means you'll have a much better idea of what to look for when you're ready to hire your next full-time executive. You and the rest of the executive team know what a good fit looks for, you know what skills the CRO will need to take on the tasks you've assigned to the role, and you can find someone who excels at being a true champion for revenue department alignment, instead of building a CRO role around the wrong person. That makes all the difference in ensuring your company sees success faster. Also, once you have a Fractional CRO fill out the role, you can better determine if you want your current CMO or a VP of Sales to step up or if you want to hire from outside of the organization.

 

Buy in Bulk

If you're growing your business and don't have the whole C-suite filled out yet, don't stop hiring a Fractional CRO. There are firms that can bring a Fractional but power-packed stack to your entire revenue department, allowing you to bring on a CRO, sales leader, marketing leader, content team, and even graphic design for the price you’d pay for a single executive. 

 

So, What Does Each Role Do for the Company?

Because CROs are still relatively new, their role in the traditional executive team can be hard to pin down; many organizations conflate CMOs and CROs because they have a lot of similarities. But here are some quick and important differences:

 

CMO

CMOs are all about marketing. While sales results may play a role in their incentives, they take charge of the marketing engine to ensure all aspects & metrics of the TOFU are growing. CMOs handle demand generation, pushing marketing-qualified leads into the funnel for their sales team to qualify, nurture & close. Marketing campaigns, website traffic, and promotional strategies are all under their purview, but they hand off the leads to sales and go back to finding new ones.

 

CRO

When you have a CRO, the buck stops there. They are in charge of making sure your organization hits MQL and SQL goals. They care equally about demand gen and conversion rates. Their primary function is to ensure your entire revenue engine, sales, marketing & customer success are aligned on a single, revenue-driving plan. This ensures that the client experience doesn’t just stop at sales; their purview is over all client experience success… all the way through advocacy in the back end of The Bowtie Funnel. Second-stage startups may replace their CMO entirely with a CRO because of the areas they can impact; large organizations may add in a CRO that the CMO reports to.

 

Which Role Is Right for You?

You have to analyze your infrastructure and determine the needs of your organization. If you lack demand gen but have a structured sales department waiting for leads, try a Fractional CMO to improve your demand generation. If marketing is weak, your close rates are suffering, and your churn rates are increasing, a CRO can ensure a cross-departmental strategy that addresses all of these pain points. Ultimately, a CRO’s oversight can impact all revenue-facing departments, ultimately leading to longer-term success & not just a bump in leads.  

 

Fractional CRO Services From House of Revenue

Don't let your growth slow down. A Fractional CRO can help you keep the momentum going, even as you build a strong foundation for your company. Contact our team at House of Revenue™ to learn more about finding a Fractional CRO or even a Fractional CRO Team to align and motivate your revenue teams.