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The Battle of the Sales Chiefs: Chief Revenue Officer vs VP of Sales

July 31, 2022

When it comes to the battle of the chief revenue officer vs VP of sales, there is no clear winner. Both the Chief Revenue Officer and Vice President of Sales have their strengths and weaknesses. However, one thing is for sure: both positions are essential in any company that wants to succeed in sales. So, what’s the difference between these two important roles? Let’s take a closer look at chief revenue officer vs VP of sales.

Chief Revenue Officer vs VP of Sales: What’s The Difference?

A CRO is someone with an investing mentality, while a VP of sales is focused on bookings, revenue, and customer retention.

The VP of Sales is a high-ranking executive, and for a good reason.

As a business executive, you need to make decisions from an investor’s perspective. This means taking into account your partners and the infrastructure of your organization. However, mid-level managers should focus on their leadership responsibilities instead of dividing their attention to other aspects of the business.

Your VP of sales are on the fast track to becoming an executive, but they must keep their focus on leading sales teams rather than getting distracted by other responsibilities.

chief revenue officer vs vp of sales (Source)

With business growth being a top priority for so many businesses, many job titles pop up in search results on LinkedIn that we may not recognize.

Technology is transforming the world as we know it.

From tech giants focused on consumers to behemoths in the business-to-business space, tech companies are popping up everywhere and racing towards billion-dollar valuation at breakneck speeds.

The Vice President of Sales

A great VP of sales will possess great leadership skills, be assertive, and know how to negotiate. He or she will know how to lead the sales team and bring in new reps, managers, and BD people in the first 90 days of being hired.

They will rip apart your CRM, replace your opportunity fields using their proven-and-trusted sales strategies, and scoff if they try to rehearse Sandler or Challenger selling to them. This is the reason you hired them!

The VP of Sales is often a title that sales reps aim for, which means a higher base salary and a greater chance for equity and bonuses.

There are many options when it comes to potential candidates for VP. I urge founders to be careful about who and what they hire. Sales reps interested in the VP-of-sales career path should know what they are working towards and how they can work on their professional and personal development to take on this role.

Sales focus

The VP of Sales is responsible for maximizing the company’s revenues by managing and optimizing all sales process stages. The VP of Sale oversees key functions such as customer retention, renewal, and customer success.

The VP of Sales should have a better commercial understanding of the business. Their incentive is usually based on margins, costs per acquisition, and other metrics that impact the company’s bottom line.

This is how the day-to-day life of a VP for sales looks in high-growth companies:

  • Working with the marketing team, account managers, and customers to ensure that the pipeline is filled with qualified sales opportunities, that the customer is onboarded correctly, and that customers receive the correct products and services.
  • Interviewing strategic candidates and attending case-study interviews with individual contributors.
  • To ensure and maintain pipeline velocity and accuracy, we will work with mid-level leaders.
  • The above-mentioned sales forecasting tools allow you to predict future drivers of revenue. Segmenting by product lines, customer segments, etc., allows you to report to your executive management and board of directors.
  • Coaching of sales leaders and individual contributors.
  • Participating in whitespace exercises, account strategy, and executive alignments.
  • Collaboration with sales enablement and operations teams to develop onboarding, training, and up-skilling programs.

The CRO

The Chief Revenue Officer is a position that typically rises to the CEO or COO depending upon the organization’s structure. This role is becoming increasingly popular with SaaS but was before the bubble.

The CRO, formerly known as President, Executive VP, or Senior VP, is responsible for creating and executing a strategic plan to increase revenue generation. This entails all customer and revenue growth aspects, from lead generation to customer retention.

The CRO also has P&L responsibilities. He or she must create the comp plan structure for revenue roles.

Retention and revenue growth in the big picture

The primary metrics of the CRO are YoY revenue growth and net revenue retention. They also measure the average lifetime value of customers. They must think beyond the VP of Sales to maximize these metrics.

They need to be informed about new go-to-market strategies, timing the market, and have an acute sense (or mild paranoia) of the competition and economic factors that could potentially hinder the company’s ability to achieve these goals. The chief revenue officers are responsible for developing the go-to-market strategy and keeping everyone informed about its roles.

The CRO must know the top deals to close. Not only for accurate forecasting, which is certainly important, but also to learn about the customer journey and how our product will impact them. They should also collect as much information as possible to help synthesize the customer’s LTV (lifetime value).

Their job is to combine all that information with your deals and create a roadmap for filling the pipeline with more customers like them. This will ensure that they not only renew but also grow in LTV with the company.

Ownership of the entire revenue cycle

The chief revenue officers are responsible for all aspects of revenue management, including demand generation, strategic alliances and sales, marketing, account management, customer satisfaction, and solution engineering.

The CRO’s day-to-day responsibilities are primarily focused around

  • To synthesize long-term income growth, retention, and growth, collecting and analyzing all forecast and pipeline data from VPs sales, marketing, and customer success is necessary.
  • Working with the CEO to determine the company’s primary goals and strategies. Then, reporting on the company’s progress towards those targets.
  • Analyzing and researching new opportunities to go-to-market through organic business efforts and strategic acquisitions, partnerships channels, and other methods.
  • Working with the CFO to ensure that the budget for the company’s cost-of-sale and EBITDA margin impact is met.
  • Recruiting and retaining senior-level leadership as well as individual strategic contributors.
  • Coaching and supporting the VP of Sales, Marketing, and Success to improve company metrics from their respective business units.
  • The organization must improve its revenue operations and technology to ensure long-term growth and retention. This will include instituting company-wide support for processes, systems, and methodologies related to sales, marketing, customer success, and solution engineering.

Conclusion

So, Chief Revenue Officer vs VP of sales, what’s the difference between these two important roles? The Chief Revenue Officer is responsible for overall revenue generation for the company, while the VP of Sales leads and manages the sales team. Which position is more important depends on your perspective, but there’s no denying that both are crucial to a company’s success.

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