In a fluctuating economy, more companies are looking to expand their market reach, and they’re turning to Chief Growth Officers (CGOs) for guidance.
According to a recent analysis from LinkedIn, CGOs are ranked fifth among the fastest-growing marketing and sales roles in the U.K. Similar studies from LinkedIn indicate that hiring for CGOs increased by nearly 50% over the past few years.
Why are companies looking for CGOs, and how can they help your organization? In this guide, we’ll uncover what a CGO is and the benefits they provide.
In the simplest terms, a CGO oversees future company growth. Their position typically overlaps those of a Chief Marketing Officer (CMO), Chief Revenue Officer (CRO), and VP of Sales.
However, while CROs and a VP of Sales focus on short-term strategies to increase revenue, a CGO can:
CGOs don’t view advertising and marketing as the primary methods for attracting new customers. While they may assist a CMO with marketing plans, they’ll look beyond simple advertising to reach new clients. Similarly, they leave sales strategies to the VP of Sales or Chief Sales Officer.
Since CGOs have long-term objectives, their responsibilities can resemble those of a CEO. They’ll establish a vision the company will rely on as a blueprint for future growth.
A CGO’s responsibilities typically vary from one organization to another. One company may charge a CGO with expanding operations in Europe, while another business may ask their CGO to create a sales blueprint for their newest product line. That said, there are several tasks that CGOs typically share, no matter what company they work for.
CGOs must create strategies that align with an organization’s overall business goals. Your CGO’s ideas shouldn’t change the company’s mission or vision for the future. In fact, their growth marketing strategy and campaign techniques shouldn’t override a CEO’s objectives.
Some CGOs lead various functions across the organization. For example, rather than having a separate CMO and a Chief Sales Officer (CSO), your CGO may oversee both teams. Reporting to the CGO will be a VP of Marketing, Sales, or similar higher-level professionals.
A CGO must partner with other departments in the organization to optimize the results from their strategies.
Collaborations with the IT and Product Development team are critical since both departments facilitate company growth in various ways. High levels of partnership between multiple divisions will improve workflows and ensure that everyone works toward the same objectives.
Knowing when to hire a CGO isn’t always straightforward. You’ll need to determine your:
For example, companies that see significant growth opportunities across different verticals or regions will benefit from a CGO. Similarly, a CGO helps tap into a new customer market with considerable potential.
CGOs are helpful for companies seeking growth over the long term, such as five or 10-year time spans. Keep in mind that you may need to hire additional resources to support their objectives.
If you’re losing market share in a product or service group, a CGO can help you evaluate the reasons behind your losses. They can implement new methods to reclaim customers and expand your future presence among competitors.
Another sign you need a CGO is a lack of collaboration between sales and customer-oriented departments. If teams are working toward individualized goals rather than supporting company-wide initiatives, a CGO can help realign everyone toward future objectives.
If your growth concerns are short-term or don’t require a complete revamp of your existing sales and marketing strategies, you probably don’t need a new CGO. Instead, turn to your current executives for help. You might consider realigning their responsibilities to better fit your company’s goals.
Hiring a CGO will look similar to hiring a CEO. Since CGOs are long-term visionaries, they must have the aptitude for strategic thinking. That means looking past opportunities for simple process improvements and developing a roadmap to achieve future objectives.
Since parts of a CGOs responsibilities can overlap those of marketing and sales, experience in both areas at the highest level of an organization can be beneficial.
Consequently, chief growth officers should typically be deeply familiar with:
A CGO must also have strong leadership capabilities. Setting new growth objectives can be a tremendous change from the status quo, so they’ll need to be able to prove that their goals are achievable. Otherwise, team members may not have the motivation or inspiration to work toward them.
Look for someone with a high aptitude for communication. Your CGO will likely work across departments. Some leaders may not provide the buy-in needed to realize a CGO’s vision. CGOs can overcome any division roadblocks through solid communication that illustrates the benefits of growth.
Not every company will benefit from a CGO. If you’re happy with your current sales and aren’t looking to expand your organization to new markets, you likely won’t need one of these professionals. However, organizations that see many untapped opportunities will probably find that a CGO adds value.
Before deciding whether a CGO is suitable for your organization, consider your existing team members. Sometimes, your CMO or VP of Sales will possess the capabilities to reach a new market segment or recover lost market share for a specific product line.
If you decide to hire a CGO, make sure they clearly understand what you expect to achieve. That way, they can establish the necessary goals to enhance company success, both in terms of growth marketing and in the bigger picture.
Our hands-on sales executive recruiters have experience working with private, public, pre-IPO, and non-profit organizations. Clients are typically $50 million in revenue to Fortune 1000’s or have assets between $500 million to $15 billion. Successful placements span the entire C-Suite – CEO, Chief Operating Officer, Chief Financial Officer, and include vice president, general counsel, and other director-level leadership roles.
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