Cowen Partners has assembled a list of the top Chief Revenue Officer interview questions for CEOs and Founders to hire a qualified sales leader.
While CROs may need special credentials or skills in specific industries, here are the general requirements included in chief revenue officer job descriptions.
The chief sales officer and chief revenue officer roles are similar in that they both typically lead sales operations. Both roles can provide a competitive sales strategy and establish a top-level sales team, however, each role brings something different to the business.
CSO vs. CRO
A chief sales officer mainly focuses on hitting sales targets. A CSO knows how to close deals and keep VIP customers coming back to your business again and again. The CSO also closely oversees the sales team by managing the hiring and training of all members. Working closely with this team, the CSO analyzes sales data and improves the sales strategies to further company goals and achieve or surpass sales targets.
A chief revenue officer, on the other hand, plays a broader role. A CRO is responsible for an organization’s overall revenue, which ultimately involves much more than just the sales department. The CRO role interacts with sales, marketing, and even operations to ensure departments are working together to achieve company goals. The CRO works in conjunction with the sales and marketing teams to create a strategy that will attract customers and ultimately increase sales, thus boosting revenue.
Both a CSO and CRO will benefit your business, but which one to hire ultimately depends on what your company needs to improve. For instance, if you need to close more client deals, then a CSO can fill the role. However, if you need to improve sales and marketing collaboration then a CRO would be a better fit. Once you determine the sales areas that need the most improvement you can find the right person for your company.
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Hiring salespeople is a serious investment for your business. According to the Harvard Business Review, U.S. businesses spend $15 billion annually on sales training and $800 billion on sales force compensation. Salespeople are the driving force behind customer acquisition and revenue generation so it’s not surprising companies invest so heavily into these employees. If you want to grow your business and increase sales, you should also be investing in your sales team. However, offering more money and perks won’t guarantee you land a top performing salesperson. You have to look for the right characteristics and search in the right places to find the high achieving salespeople perfect for your business.
Not every salesperson you interview will be a top seller. You need a way to separate high achievers from the rest of the average candidate pool. One way to do this is by looking for certain character traits that make a top performer stand out. Below is a list of traits you want in a sales hire.
Underperforming salespeople usually don’t communicate at the right level to connect with customers. High performing sellers, on the other hand, have the ability to speak with meaning and clarity at the same communication level as potential customers. The ability to clearly communicate the benefits of a product while sounding competent and confident is an essential trait of any top sales performer.
Research has shown that 84 percent of top performing salespeople have a high achievement-oriented personality score. People who are good at sales love to gauge their progress and set new challenges for themselves. Hitting goals and reaching work milestones is satisfying for top sales performers, so look for candidates with clearly defined goals.
A strong sales candidate will have a dominant personality, but not in an overbearing sense. A dominant personality in a salesperson is exhibited in their ability to effortlessly control the flow of the conversation. They speak with confidence and conviction and are comfortable arguing their case for a product or service. Submissive salespeople, on the other hand, are more reactive during conversations and have a harder time instilling confidence in potential customers.
Relationships sell products. Of course, the product or service has to be good, but a large part of sales is building a solid relationship with your customers. High performing salespeople know how to connect with clients and build rapport. Empathy helps high achievers connect more deeply with their clients and remember the important details that form a lasting relationship.
You have a multitude of outlets to choose from when it comes to hiring salespeople for your team. Not every option is the right fit for your company, though. You need to start looking for the best places to find high achieving salespeople who will make a difference to your company. Below are the three top resources you should be using to find great sales hires.
Your clients have worked with a lot of different salespeople over the years which makes them the perfect resource for hunting down top performing sales talent. Ask clients about salespeople who have stood out to them in the past then get the contact information for that seller. Reach out to these salespeople to form a connection and determine whether they’re looking for other opportunities. You may even be able to poach sales talent from a competitor this way.
Keep a roster of potential salespeople on file for when your company has an opening. You can build up your list of promising sellers in a couple of ways. First, any time you meet a salesperson at a networking event who impresses you get their contact information and stay in touch. Second, if you’re hiring for one sales position and have several top-tier candidates, keep the contact information for all of them in your database. This way when you have more openings, you know who to go to first.
Locating high-achieving salespeople is difficult, which is why a lot of companies turn to an experienced sales recruiting firm. A sales recruiting firm has extensive experiencing reviewing sales candidates and sifting through the applications to find the best performers for your company. Recruiters understand it’s not just about finding someone with the characteristics of a top performer, it’s also about identifying the right background and culture fit for your business. Hiring talent is also a time-intensive process, but with a recruiting firm you can spend less time sifting through applications and instead focus on the few top candidates for your company.
Remember, hiring top performing salespeople is an investment, and you always want to invest wisely. If you need helping acquiring more high achieving salespeople for your team, then contact Cowen Partners, a premier sales leadership recruitment firm.