An interesting article by Denitsa Schmidt on LinkedIn described RevOps as “the Chuck Norris of business strategies,” using roundhouse kicks on silos, the Chuck Norris stare on data, and power blows to knock efficiency out of the park. Personally, I love how the analogy makes RevOps sound really cool (because it is), but I couldn’t help but pick up a masculine undertone in this new realm of the business world.
So, I got to tracking down some women who work in Revenue Operations and asking them what it takes to be a highly successful CRO. Because according to a report by Harvard on gender diversity in the C-Suite, there are 69% fewer women executives in leadership teams than there are in the US workforce, and only about 8% of Chief Revenue Officers appointed in 2020 were women. It just goes to show, if anyone knows exactly what it takes to beat the odds and make it, it’s going to be them.
Featuring insights from six women in RevOps—Miranda Furtado, Mary Grothe, Shareen Minor, Alicia Tillman, Maureen Rhodes, and Allison Khurana—read on to reveal the top nine traits it takes to find success in the world of Revenue Operations.
1. A Clear Vision
It comes as no surprise that a strong vision is an integral part of a Chief Revenue Officer’s success. This acts not only as a beacon to guide strategy, but also as a tool to align multifunctional teams under a singular growth directive. Without this unified vision, departments risk operating in silos, leading to disjointed customer experiences and inefficiencies that can erode profitability. Essentially, all the things that a CRO is typically brought in to fix. Thus, a robust, well-thought-out vision acts as a compass, helping businesses navigate challenges, capitalize on opportunities, and achieve sustainable revenue growth.
2. Leadership Skills
In the intricate web of revenue operations, the CRO stands at the confluence of sales, marketing, and customer success, tasked with ensuring that each of the departments mesh seamlessly to drive profitable business growth. Leadership skills are paramount for a CRO not only to command authority but to inspire collaboration, trust, and synergy among diverse teams. But what does that really look like? It means strategies are communicated clearly, targets are set realistically, and every member feels valued and supported in their pursuit. All in all, it’s not just about steering the ship but ensuring that everyone rows in harmony.
3. Knowledge of Data
In the modern business landscape, data stands as the lifeblood of revenue operations. For a CRO, an astute understanding of data provides a transparent, unvarnished snapshot of customer behaviors, market trends, and operational efficiencies so they can make more strategic decisions. By harnessing the insights data offers, a CRO can pinpoint opportunities, identify bottlenecks, forecast trends, and optimize strategies with a level of accuracy that was once unimaginable. And given the power of personalization in recent times, data can also help you to stand out amongst your competitors.
4. Financial Acumen
Here's the thing: at the core of revenue is, well, money. A CRO without a solid financial acumen is like a sports coach that doesn’t know the rules of the game their team is playing. Grasping the financial intricacies allows a CRO to make informed decisions, evaluate the profitability of strategies, and ensure that the revenue-generation machine is not only humming along but doing so efficiently. But make no mistake, it's not just about bringing in the bucks—it's about understanding the cost of those bucks, the return on investments, and where to allocate resources to get the maximum bang for the buck.
5. A Customer-Centric Approach
These days, the mantra for success is unmistakably shifting towards putting the customer at the heart of all operations. And for a CRO, this isn't just a trendy catchphrase—it's foundational. A customer-centric approach ensures that strategies and actions are aligned with what the market truly desires, reducing the guesswork in revenue operations. By understanding and anticipating customer needs, pain points, and preferences, a CRO can craft initiatives that resonate, leading to higher conversions, loyalty, and ultimately, sustained revenue streams.
6. Synchronicity with the C-Suite
Despite their best efforts, a CRO’s hard work and planning can fail to receive buy-in from key stakeholders if they aren’t in sync with the rest of the C-Suite. This group, composed of the company’s top leadership, orchestrates everything that the broader organization implements, and therefore the CRO needs to be attuned to the collective vision and strategy. Whether it's aligning with the CMO on branding efforts, collaborating with the CFO on budgetary constraints, or strategizing with the CEO on company direction, a CRO in lockstep with fellow executives ensures cohesive, efficient, and effective decisions.
7. Ownership over Execution
Crafting a strategic plan will give you a solid start, but it remains a theoretical exercise until it’s put into action. Execution translates vision into reality, prospects into customers, and plans into real, tangible profits. Where a lapse in execution can squander resources, dilute brand reputation, and provide openings for competitors to gain an edge, adept execution can ensure that sales, marketing, and customer service synergize seamlessly, driving tangible growth and bolstering the company's market position.
8. A Willingness to Pivot and Adjust
Markets evolve, consumer behaviors shift, and technological innovations constantly redefine the playing field—such is the reality of business and revenue operations. A strategy that's golden today might be obsolete tomorrow, and in such a landscape, rigid adherence to a set path can result in stagnation or even decline. A CRO's agility in recognizing when a tactic isn't working, coupled with the decisiveness to make necessary changes, ensures that the company remains ahead of the curve. Pivoting isn't about admitting failure—it's about embracing the dynamism of the business world.
9. An Open Mind and Curiosity
On the note of being flexible to change, our final point is to always keep an open mind to different ways that tasks can be done. A CRO with a fixed mindset risks being ensnared in yesterday's best practices, leaving vast opportunities unexplored. An open mind, conversely, fosters innovation, encourages the exploration of uncharted territories, and cultivates a culture of continuous learning. It's about seeing potential where others see problems, embracing unconventional solutions, and challenging the status quo.
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