CRO Spotlight

Scaling to $100m+ from a CRO's Perspective, With Zorian Rotenberg

May 31, 2022

CRO Spotlight

A B2B podcast for current and aspiring CROs, CEOs and other leaders. In each episode revenue experts Warren Zenna and Lupe Feld are joined by a guest as they set out to explore every last area of a business that you can leverage to generate revenue and drive meaningful change. Warren and Lupe speak your language - join their revenue crew.

Being CRO of a company scaling to $100m is no mean feat. This episode's guest has made a career of it.

In this episode Warren is joined by Zorian Rotenberg, Sales & GTM Advisor at Charlesbank Capital Partners, and the two seasoned revenue professionals dive  deep into the anatomy of the Chief Revenue Officer role. They consider the key components you need to crack $100m, traits essential to being hired AND succeeding as a CRO, how and when to bring on a CRO, and a whole lot about getting leadership right.


Connect with Zorian and Warren on LinkedIn.  

Help your sales team succeed by helping them become the best professional salespeople they can be. Find out more about the Create Pipeline course from Sales IQ here.

Warren Zenna
Co-Host @ CRO Spotlight Podcast + CEO @ CRO Collective
Zorian Rotenberg
Sales & GTM Advisor @ Charlesbank Capital Partners

[00:00:00] Warren Zenna: Hi and welcome to the CRO Spotlight podcast. I'm Warren Zenna from the CRO collective and I'm here with my co-host Lupe Feld. Hey Lupe.

[00:00:15] Lupe Feld: Hey Warren. This is Lupe Feld, and I'm glad to be here with you.

[00:00:19] Warren Zenna: So this podcast is really for aspiring CROs and CEOs and current CROs whom are interested in learning from not only us, but the great guests that we're going to have.

[00:00:28] Lupe Feld: We're here to tell you that there is other areas of the business that can drive revenue and we're going to look and inspect and come up with some great ideas for us to bring in as much revenue as we can, and drive some meaningful change for the business.

[00:00:41] Warren Zenna: So tune in, we have some exciting opportunities coming up for a really amazing conversations and any B2B leaders I think you're really going to enjoy it. So thanks for tuning in and we look forward to seeing you.

Okay. And welcome to the CRO Spotlight podcast. This week I'm alone Lupe is not feeling well. So I rode solo today. But I'm really happy to have its guests with me. Zorian Rotenberg, whom I've been speaking with. Zorian now for a couple of years via LinkedIn because of, you know, my blabbering on, on LinkedIn has caught his attention.

Cause you'll find out soon why. And you know, Zorian and I have had many different chats and conversations about the CRO role and his own perspective on it, which is fascinating and really very in depth. And he has a real. Understanding of the, a lot of the nuts and bolts and operational aspects of the role, which I think is really important.

I wanted to talk to them about the, so that end I'm gonna introduce Zorian. Hi Zorian. And thanks for being here.

[00:01:45] Zorian Rotenberg: Warren, thank you for having me.

[00:01:47] Warren Zenna: You got it. So I'm gonna introduce you, like I'm gonna like tell everybody a little about you. All right. And you can do the same, but I just want to formally like, tell everybody who you are and why you're so important to me.

Okay. So Zorian is a sales and marketing executive focused mainly on scaling revenue and leading sales. He's really done a great job of scaling businesses up to like, you know, a hundred million plus, and, you know, that's a skill. That is really valuable. And frankly, it's a skill that most CEOs hire CROs for.

Right. So, you know, he's a, he's a Harvard business grad he's really smart. He has a really, as I said, really great perspective on a lot of the nuts and bolts and the operational aspects of how to grow a business. And he's also very focused on leadership and the type of leaders that you need to be in the CRO role.

So to that end. Hi, Zorian. And thanks for being here today.

[00:02:32] Zorian Rotenberg: Thank you very much again, for having me. I'm excited to talk to you about this.

[00:02:36] Warren Zenna: So, you know, why don't you give us all a little bit of a flavor of your history a bit, like in terms of your work history, like, how did you just start out? What, what got you from where you started to where you are today?

You know, everyone has an interesting story of how they end up in the place to run. I'm sure. I'd love to hear a bit more about that.

[00:02:51] Zorian Rotenberg: Yeah. I'm going to have a challenge figuring out how to summarize it all, but long story short actually started career. In investment banking at Merrill Lynch in New York.

So I'm worth about 80 to a hundred hours a week for two years. As an analyst doing a lot of PowerPoint, PitchBook presentations and Excel spreadsheet heavy duty financial modeling. My, my college education was a major factor. Actually with two minors, one in applied mathematics and another in computer science.

There's a reason I'm sharing this because ultimately you have to wonder how the world did. I end up in sales, running sales and being a CRO. And ultimately I went from investment banking to investing in growth private equity slash growth venture capital. And I went to business school where I met with a lot of CEOs.

And I asked them what's was the best path to ultimately becoming a CEO in a, in a, in a leader of an organization. And they all said that you either build something or sell something and they thought everything else is overhead, which is obviously facetious. And it's not true. In that full context, but I was not an engineer, although I got a computer science minor, but I wasn't a coder.

But my other path there for was to go sell something in that sort of interest of, of being a corporate leader, maybe CEO, and I wanted to sales and one of the key. People that I ended up working for, was this a CEO named Walter Scott, who was a sales leader? Prior to becoming a CEO, he was a fantastic sales leader.

He actually obviously ran sales and marketing and, and account management. So what we today called CRO and Walter was amazing under his leadership as the CEO, we took a Cronin's from about 19 million to a hundred million in three years, and it was with 40% EBITDA margins profitable. And that kind of growth, which is almost unheard of.

And I would, I would argue that everything I learned about running sales and being a CRO was from Walter. He was phenomenal and still, I'm very fortunate to have him as a mentor. He's not on the boards. He doesn't, you know he's not running a company at this time, but long story short, I I realized that my passion was for.

Growing revenue at companies. And even when I was in venture capital growth, PE before business school, I realized that I really enjoyed deals and doing diligence and understanding how to analyze companies and investing the one black box. The thing that I didn't understand is how did they actually grow the business?

What is it that they actually do? Like when the rubber meets the road, what actually needs to happen for revenue to grow and then never understood it. So ultimately to summarize, and I said, I would be challenged to make it concise, but Hey, this is good insight for finance in wall street. To rotting, sales and revenue through my, my areas of interest, through investing in companies, through working for some amazing people like Walter Scott, and ultimately throughout that time, I've always kind of realized that if you're doing something you really love you can become one of the top, you know, 5% to 10%.

Of the best people out there, which is all you really should want. You should want to be in a career where you have a shot at becoming top 10, top 5%. So if you really love it you can do it if you have that passion and certainly the background. And I think that the math, the number crunching background really did help out because, you know, rotting revenues pretty quantitative.

Especially if you do it right. And if you want to scale companies to 100 million in sales at that scale, you have to really have a very analytical approach. So, anyway, that's the story.

[00:06:48] Warren Zenna: I want to talk about something, is that thanks. That's great. What is it that grows companies? What did you discover? I talk about how does a company grow to a hundred million dollars? What's the rubber hits the road thing that you figured out and expound on your understanding. Not only what that is, but what the role of a CRO is in implementing and making that happen.

[00:07:12] Zorian Rotenberg: Yeah. So the first one is a hard question because it's it's very, it's both complicated and complex without going into details and the fine nuances of the definitions of complicated versus complex, but it's it's both complicated and it is complex to.

Build a business to that level. We don't think about it enough, but it's a, there's so many things that have to go, right. And I would say at a high level, kind of in a concise way, I would say that you have to have number one, great people, right. You have to have really great people. You have to have Product, because if you want to get to that level a hundred million, you cannot do it without a great product.

It's very hard to do. And a lot of people may not realize it. And they think that sales teams can just kind of sprinkle their magic dust on on a product and sell however much is necessarily to board targets. It's not really the case, but you know, great people, great product, and very, very, very. Exceptional sales and marketing.

But under, you know, those are the key big sort of I would say three legged stool and people product, and to go to market team now under, when you double click on that, there is so much more to it. And that's, that brings me to your second question about how does CRO play a role in that look you know, we talked, I think about it before to CRO.

I like to think of it of a, several is that hedge fund portfolio manager. That's kind of a throw back to my wall street years and invest in et cetera. And is generating the return on investment for your company, the board of directors, investors, right? You're private equity or VC. It's consistent risk adjusted returns across, you know, the business which is what a CFO does.

It's capital allocation, right? You there are three types of resources. There's Time there's there's money, there's people and you have to allocate all the resources, but across all those it's capital, you know, you, you recruit people that's capital you allocate their time. That's capital, you know, hours, weeks, months.

And and that's a very important component of being several and ultimately hitting aggressive results. The other role of the CRO is. His leadership. We talk about leadership. It's, it's about getting people to perform and hit results. So it's all about people. I I think I talk a lot about leadership because that's kind of one of the primary focus areas in the first year at Harvard business school, the focus on leadership.

And it's exactly where I realized that leadership is not a squish. Concept, like you read these books on leadership or block posts. They're very, I would say 80% of them are just very fluffy and squishy and it's kind of like a lot of like vacuous statements, you know, you gotta be great and you to, you know, take care of people like sure.

But, but it's much more tangible and objective, like leadership means you're leading people. And that's the most important thing in an organization you cannot achieve, you know, resolves, whether it's 20 million or 50 or a hundred million in sales, you cannot do it without people that sales team go to market revenue teams, et cetera.

And it's a, it's a rock solid skillset of producing results. Positioning your team to win building up new leaders in the organization you know, organizational structure. And how do you align people? How do you recruit. Or even, you know, let's start with recruiting, which is like the most important thing you should do really, really well is building championship teams.

And you know, of course I can use sports analogies a lot, and it'll probably annoy some folks, but but sports are about performance and achieving results that are measurable. That's why we use those parallels in sales and revenue. But long story short, you have to recruit amazing people, eight players and eight players.

Are hard to find talent, really top 10% of that cellphone is very hard to find, but that is your job to find screen and recruit and attract that kind of tell them. And what is H you know, what does an A-player, what is a plus talent? It's people who have a high probability, you know, 90% plus of hitting the results.

Did you need their quota targets, for example, in the sales team. But they also necessarily part of my definition of neighbors, they make everyone else around them better. Right? So they're not like this kind of like, you know, star player that, that this wraps the culture and the behavior of the team they made the rest of the team better.

The CEO's job is exactly to build that kind of team bring in these great people to work together. Put the right people in the right seats on the right bus. Right. And lead them towards those results. And that's what I mean by leadership, but it's hard.

[00:11:52] Warren Zenna: So yeah, I could see why the way you just described that, why you make leaderships? I should important emphasis because the, I mean, I, I agree with you the way you articulated it just now. It makes so much sense that even if you have all these things in place without proper leadership, none of it's going to get done. It sort of needs that, like someone who's in charge of things, it has a certain skillset.

So to that end, like when you look at the competencies of a CRO, if you look at like, maybe. If you were to take like a really good CRO, maybe a whole slew of them, and you were just sort of evaluate or analyze, let's say their DNA, their competency, DNA. What do you think are the commonalities be each ween, chief revenue officers who are successful.

So, and I'm looking at it from two perspectives. Your answer one is just so that people understand like how to profile one, but also. If you want to become one, like if I'm looking to be a CRO, what are the things I need to be thinking about? That'll help me succeed and areas of development I can start thinking about that'll help me get a better chance of not only getting the role, but also being successful at it.

[00:12:56] Zorian Rotenberg: Yeah. So what are kind of the, you know, the skills And I would say also like competencies, bus experiences, plus personal traits, characteristics you need. So all the above, you know, there's a lot of it. I think, look, I think at a high level you are, again like a hedge fund portfolio manager. You, you need to produce results, get a return on investment.

And would that, would, that means is that you have to have some experience. Like to be a, several you're the chief revenue officer means that you could have gotten to that by having been a non chief, like a lower wrong, you know, on the, on the hierarchal corporate letter revenue officers. So revenue likely means sales, right?

You should have been a sales VP. And prior to that, a sales maybe regional director, right. Or prior to that sales manager. So you ultimately are responsible for, for bringing in revenue, you know, initially bookings and ultimately recurring revenue, yada yada, yada, you know, without sort of going into gap accounting and the fine differences.

But you need to have experience managing sales and ideally progression towards that level, but it's more than just sales because the chief revenue officer. Ideally should not be just another title for a VP of sales. You are running all over revenue, which is the entire revenue funnel, the entire life cycle of revenue.

So from the time a suspect, a cold suspect becomes a. For your company to the time that lead becomes a meeting and goes to sales and they qualified, whether it becomes an opportunity in the pipeline and from there on when you win a deal, closed one, they become a customer paid customer. You have to have account managers.

Experience on how to manage that customer or the relationship with that customer and how to renew that customer plus customer success. Plus all the other supporting functions from revenue ops and sales enablement, et cetera. So you see there's a little. And from the time you generate a lead, you need to understand, you mentioned iteration, how that happens, but not only how it happens, but how to hire a great VP of marketing or VP of dimension and what are the key processes and, and, and campaigns that will ultimately drive the right results.

That produce meetings and ultimately opportunities in the sales pipeline. At that point, you have to really deeply understand how to win deals and run sales cycles, running account execs global, right. And then after that account management, et cetera, but within all of that, you have to understand how to do that.

It depends what is the size of the company, but certainly if you're asking for like a hundred million dollar company, that's typically global larger organization, so you have to have experience. With different geographies, you know, meet, you know, managing different teams creating alignment across the getting results of those teams.

So as you can see to answer your question, you should have those experiences or, you know, majority of those experiences you should ultimately have, you know, managerial management experience. Your people internally and not just managing people, not just managing sales, but also managing customer relationships and managing internal colleague alignment.

Like if you're an executive you shouldn't be able to manage your alignment as a sales leader, for example, with, with the marketing leadership, with the product leadership, with the CEO, with the board. So these are all the experiences you should have. Well, we didn't manage it as your personal trace characteristics.

And that's different from experiences. And I think to simplify that, I would say somebody who has a personal trait of relating well to people having apathy because I think without that focus on people you are not going to be an effective leader. And not being an effective leader necessarily means you're not going to produce exceptional results that are sort of, if you think of a hedge fund portfolio manager who needs to produce results that, that be the benchmark.

You need to be a CRO that produces results better than. Are there competitors in your space, otherwise your board should seek out another CRO from a competitor to produce better results. Right. And you know, on that note, I would say that, you know, people trade that leadership trait is critical because unfortunately there are a, quite a few.

Executives out there, including CROs as of course, for the opposite of what the board seek out. And you know, Eisenhower had this great book that leadership is the art of getting someone else to do something you want done because they want to do it. And he said you don't lead by hitting people over the head.

That's called. Not leadership now, funny enough. And it's a funny point, but that Eisenhower is a great leader. He obviously was not only the Aus president, but also was the Supreme commander of allied forces during world war two and D day. Right. So we can all agree. He really knew what he was doing. And there were, you know, hundreds of thousands of people who followed him effectively and produce exceptional results.

There are enough for people who operate by, you know, virtually hitting people over their head, which is not an effective return on investment. And I would bet that if measured effectively, that kind of leader does not perform very well for the stakeholders, for the investors. And there there's a need for better approach to producing results that that delivers better than a benchmark in ROI.

[00:18:50] Warren Zenna: That's great. Really great answer. Thank you. I'm curious. So, you know, when you think about a CEO, that's looking for that kind of person or evaluating the marketplace. You know, I have a philosophy or a point of view on this. I'm curious to know what yours is, is how first before the CEO that hasn't hired a CRO before.

Like they're looking for one for the first time. Does I guess the first question is, does a CEO first need to set up his company in a specific way? To ensure that a CRO succeeds or do they just bring one in and let the CRO figure that out. In other words, is there a way that a CEO sort of needs to have an environment that is, will bring forth a better potential outcome for a CRO success or not?

And if so, how, what do you do that?

[00:19:43] Zorian Rotenberg: There are several things, first of all, to answer your question, the CEO, if they can set up a. You know, the company for the CRO to come in and be more successful. Of course they should. Like, if you can make things even better than they would be otherwise do it. So yeah, I would say if you can do it, but

[00:20:02] Warren Zenna: I understand, I guess the, yeah, the reason for my question is more, I guess it's it's look you and I agree you just said it. It's already hard enough to find somebody that's good as first of all, but then it's also expensive, right? This is not a small investment. And you know, once you hire a CRO, even if you're not sure it's still going to take a year or two to find out if it worked and that's a big investment of time.

So. Again, my philosophy stems from the idea that being more preparatory and risk averse by making sure you're doing certain things ahead of time is only going to help to ensure that that hire is going to be more successful. That's all, I'm looking at it more from a risk management perspective. And I guess given that, what might some of the things a CEO think about internally and externally as they start thinking about bringing a chief revenue officer on.

[00:20:48] Zorian Rotenberg: It's a good question. I haven't been asked that before. I would say this, that you are, you want to start with, what is the objective? What are the goals? We talked about this before, right? So, you know, what are you trying to achieve? And we kind of talk about this in the context of at which four, and the company needs to Sarah, or does the company need a CRO?

I don't think every company needs a CRO and a lot of companies that are smaller. I don't think they need to see a CRO because

[00:21:10] Warren Zenna: There's like more like a timing thing. In your view, you did CRO at a specific point in the company size and stuff like that, correct.

[00:21:17] Zorian Rotenberg: Or more importantly, what is the goal? Right.

So if your goal is to grow sales, you probably need a VP of sales or a better view of sales, right? If your goal is to you know, align different revenue functions and have somebody who's a completely responsible. And accountable for all of revenue, like a one-stop shop. Like that person gets the entire revenue from.

And manages it and creates a lot of you know, a lot better outcomes to doing so that's a great goal. And if your company has those functions in place means that it's not a small company it's at that point, like we, you know, 20 million in sales probably. Right. So if that's your goal and you want to create that alignment and you want to find somebody who can make the entire revenue function much more successful and effective.

Right. Much better growth. And by better, I mean that you have faster growth, but better means that it's highly cost effective. That doesn't break your unit economics. You're not just throwing money at the problem or, or, or headcount of the problem. They're actually growing faster, but very cost-effectively prophet.

Well, of course that's a great goal and bring a CRO. So then once you've sort of identified that objective and you realize that the, that the answer to that is a CRO. Great. So what can you do to make things better? Well, I would say. A bringing in a good CRO, I think produces better results. If you already have like some stability from product being pretty, you know, pretty effective in the market, good NPS from customers having a, a decent not perfectly optimized, but, but sort of well thought out consistent sales process, a fairly good team on top of which several can build, right?

Because otherwise, Bring someone in to start from scratch. There are plenty of Ceros that don't want to do that. They've been there down that you don't want to go back and doing that. Do that again. Another thing is it's just going to slow them down and it's going to create more room for misalignment where you're expecting a much sort of higher level of performance, but they can because they're, they're still building the foundation and you could have done a prior to that.

So I think those are some of the things to think about. In terms of having a CRO, being more, be more successful when you bring them in.

[00:23:42] Warren Zenna: Okay. That's helpful. When you think about. Marketing and customer success. Cause you mentioned before, and I'm in agreement with you that those are obviously important areas for a CRO to be familiar with how familiar, I mean, does, if a CRO comes out of sales, which I think you and I agree is likely the place they're going to come from.

What's the way in which the CRO gets familiar with or comfortable with. Customer success and account management and marketing to the degree that they're able to lead it effectively without actually being a CMO or a customer success leader first, like what's the right way to inject that into intelligence or knowledge or competency into your system without having to traverse often like moving your career around all these different roles.

[00:24:23] Zorian Rotenberg: Yeah. Great question. I think that, you know, a very successful sales leader will likely work or the results. There is other getting the successful outcomes they're producing their current company. Their current role is highly probable to be a function of their ability to work really well with the rest of the revenue function.

Meaning for example, with marketing teams that are very focused on demand generation and therefore they have great exposure to that because they're constantly working on having a exceptional. And working closely with that team, by understanding what they're doing, providing them the necessary feedback to constantly optimize the processes, right?

So they, by design and by definition will, you know, eight times out of 10 have a much deeper exposure to those other roles, including demand generation marketing, and account management, et cetera. And a lot of VPs of sales will actually run account management and customer service. And sales or revenue ops anyway.

So I would think that coming into a CFO role, you're probably already successful and have that experience. Now you don't need to be that involved in marketing as long as you're good at either bringing in a marketing leader under you like a director. For example, if you're a VP of sales or if they're not working under you, they're like a separate team.

That's fine. But then you're working exceptionally. Well with them and have a forceful alignment with that. So I think that exposure is sufficient that you don't need to have Ron actually or very closely on marketing or other functions to be able to be a great leader for those one other thing, I'll say a great leader is not someone who necessarily, well, let me simplify it.

They're not going to micromanage you. Great leader creates the environment for great people to succeed in. Right? So for example, You know, going back to leadership you you're developed you, you know, you're bringing in the best possible people, the A-players that you need on the team as a leader, you create a culture and that culture drives behavior, right?

So if you create a culture where successful demand gen marketing teams can be successful, that's all you need to do, right? The behavior and performance of your people, your sales and revenue teams is a reflection of the. That you've created. Therefore a great CRO will create an environment within which a player marketing teams or marketing executives will be highly successful without any kind of micromanagement, which necessarily means you don't have to too much deep hands on knowledge and market to successfully be a leader for that marketing team.

[00:27:11] Warren Zenna: Yeah. So the word you're, you're taking on the mantle of being responsible for something, but you hold somebody else accountable for it based on their specific subject matter expertise and you lead them and give them an opportunity to, to accomplish the goals required

[00:27:25] Zorian Rotenberg: In a simpler Sort of analogy, I would say, you know, again, sports. So you know, any great coach, you know, I'm in new England, so I'll use bill Belichick. I know some people will hate me for that, but it's, it's a great analogy, nevertheless, that, you know, he's not necessarily an expert quarterback, right? Like he's never played that position before. But he's very good at bringing in great quarterbacks and putting in the right coaches who are coordinators and coaches for that quarterback, as well as any other position.

He knows exactly the kind of person to bring in. He knows the kind of processes approaches and, and coaching and development frameworks to use. But he doesn't have to be a former quarterback himself or any position. Right. It's really the same thing.

[00:28:04] Warren Zenna: Yeah. I agree. And I've made this point many times that, you know, the best sports coaches of all time. Weren't great players. It's just, it's a different competency, you know? And, and some of them were right, but I think the difference is that they, what they all possess is an incredible understanding of the game. And they know how to construct the game. You know, you'll watch a baseball manager in particular.

You know, I look at a baseball manager extreme because you have to look at a baseball game and you look at the positions on the baseball diamond. Each position has a very specific mechanical skill set that all together work towards a winning team and a manager doesn't really. Play, but he certainly knows what kind of pitcher he needs against this particular batter.

He knows whether or not we need to bow right now, or whether we need to shift the players this way. And they're constructing the game live while it's playing, because the game changes throughout each inning and really great managers are always looking at the whole bigger strategic picture and system that the game represents.

And they're putting the players into. And they know how to find the right people to be put in those positions. That's why, you know, the Steinbrenner spend all this money because they're smart. They're like we need the best people. We have the best people in the bullpen and in the back then we'll, we'll put them in the game at the positions we need.

We'll more likely when you know, but you know, I think about this a lot because I, I agree with you. I see. Things, right. I think I'm taking out of this conversation aside from a lot is you're either a hedge fund manager, which is you're managing a portfolio that's very financially driven or you're baseball leader or a football coach.

And you're looking at the system systemic way in which the game is played and the players and, and, you know, I think that's actually probably a really good summation here. Right. CRO is sort of like a combination of like a financial portfolio manager and a sports coach leader who knows how to engineer leader and people to win games.

Yeah. Exactly. And you know, I, I played to ask you one final question. Cause there's something that comes up blood, you probably would be uniquely qualified to answer it. What should the relationship of a CRO be to the CFO?

[00:30:00] Zorian Rotenberg: That's a great question. And I apologize before I answer that, I do want to say one thing though, is that while we talked about coaches in sports and football, the coach may not have been a a, a quarterback, but necessarily has played football before.

Is there is a master of the game and understanding it. I would say that. Most likely and more, you know, a lot more than not we'll have come from sales. And I know we talked about it before you ultimately the difference here, though, from a regular coach who hasn't necessarily been the best player is that you do have to generate revenue or sales.

So you as a CRO will most likely need that direct experience. It's very important. You will have to understand how to do pipeline management and forecasting and coach the teams on more effectively when when deals and close deals and generate new customers and revenue. So that is that kind of find important, Points.

[00:31:04] Warren Zenna: Right. Very good point. And I agree with you. I think that, you know, I don't see how a CRO could be successful if they. Really been a really top salesperson and a really top sales leader is such a critical angle of the role that without that acumen having really expertise in the area, you probably will fall short I'm in agreement with you there.

I've had a lot of people argue with me about this. I could tell you've had fights with people who say that really great chief marketing officers could make. And I don't want to knock chief marketing officers. I think they're notably talented people, especially now, but it's just, it's a different, it's a different skill.

It's perspective when you're growing revenue and you have to know how to be in the market and close deals. And like you said, build a pipeline and know how to get customers on board and grow from a sales perspective. And em, I have no doubt that I'm going to have people writing me after this is over and telling me that I'm completely,

[00:31:53] Zorian Rotenberg: Let's make it clear. And you, and I agree with that. I think I also want to be clear. Look, you, you can't be a sales leader in a CRO or a CRO, my opinion without understanding how. Manage the pipeline, how to forecast sales effective. And that requires experience in the field, like actually having done it and having managed sales teams.

And if somebody disagrees with that, look, I mean, I'm a data guy, five math minor, right? Like, so I, I have a passion for data, for numbers, for quantitative or measurable, even qualitative, but as long as it's measurable information, let's look at historic. Data points. If there were a CMOs that have never actually done the rules of sales management and selling and pipeline management and forecasting, let's discuss that.

Maybe we're missing something I don't know of many. And I'm not saying that in a playful way, I genuinely mean that. But I also want to be clear that I'm not saying that that someone who's in a different role can, cannot have a vision of becoming a CRO. That's what they want, but then you should, in my opinion, go get that expense. I'm not saying, can I use Europe?

[00:33:03] Warren Zenna: I agree. You and I are completely aligned. I, first of all, I'm going to go even further with this. Cause I've had this conversation before and before we move on to that last question is my opinion is in a competitive and organization, that's really hard charging in a, in a, in a competitive marketplace.

If they bring on a chief revenue officer that came out of marketing. I just think that that seat, that person would be eaten alive. I just don't see how a sales team. It's going to be, it's very difficult, you know? Cause cause sales organizations of all the revenue functions are the most difficult to manage.

They're very different. It's such a unique aspect of the business, the types of people that are in that organization, the personalities, what goes on there, the pressure, if you haven't been in that, you know, you gotta have four stripes on your sh on your shoulder, you know, I mean, you kind of have to have them there and you know, it's, it's just. I think we agree.

[00:33:57] Zorian Rotenberg: It's a slightly different role. And it was definitely not saying let's agree. We're not saying that that somebody's

[00:34:03] Warren Zenna: It's not better. It's not a, it's not a condemnation of the CMO role.

[00:34:06] Zorian Rotenberg: No, not at all. It's different, but go get that experience and that's perfectly fine. Nobody's saying you cannot be one, one thing I will say on that notice.

I always, when people come to me and an asset, I always wanna understand why is it that you want to be. W what is, why are you, let's say I've, I've heard you know, folks in different roles. They want to become a CRO. And I always wonder why, what is so attractive in a several role for you? I don't get it because it's, it's just for soundness passion for rotting revenue and closing sales.

I get it. A lot of times, they don't quite understand what is actually driving them towards that.

[00:34:43] Warren Zenna: I asked this question a lot. I asked this question a lot. It's one of the first things I asked my clients is why do you want this job? And, you know, you'd all usually find out it's not easy because they're, well, you know, it's monitored it's because they don't really understand what the role is.

They think. Understandably too, because the marketplace has told them this, that it's going to be the same job as a head of sales, just with a C-suite title and that's not true. And so I'm sort of trying to educate the market a bit to say, that's not, what's going to happen. And

[00:35:11] Zorian Rotenberg: as glamorous as it sounds, it's like the CEO, if people want to become CEOs and then it's very lonely at the top.

[00:35:18] Warren Zenna: It is, it's a very lonely job.

[00:35:21] Zorian Rotenberg: And you shouldn't want to take a role just because it's glamorous or as entitled. I've always told people that, you know, for a long time, you know in my career at least after I saw that I matured up after business school. I couldn't care less. If you call me a chief janitorial officer, the title doesn't matter to me.

They're just letters. It's an acronym. What's important is, is the role, you know, ultimately what am I doing? Am I enjoying it? Am I adding value? Do I feel like I'm constantly. And of course the compensation part too, you know, to bring you know, to put food on the table for my family. Right. But other than that, the glamor of some letters.

From an alphabet that fall into some title. I don't think that's the most important thing.

[00:36:02] Warren Zenna: I agree. It's so true. And it's hard for younger you know, people who are earlier in their career to kind of get that, because look it's understand. People have a understandable desire to want to feel like they've accomplished something and they've achieved growth.

And you know, when you get to a point, you realize I just want to do good work and I want the opportunity to just have the job, to make the results, produce the results on capable of. There's a lot more freedom with that. And I think that I'd like to see more people get. So anyway, I want to move on to this last question.

So, because this was a big one that came up a lot of times. W what, what is the CFO role? Cause I think you're right in that the CRO is very involved financially with the organization. So what should that relationship look like between CRO and the CFO?

[00:36:43] Zorian Rotenberg: Well, I think you should have a very effective working relationship with all the executor.

Right. As a CRO, whether it's a CFO or a chief marketing officer on the CMO, or we give a marketing report to you. Well, if, as a CRO, that typically would be, but with the CEO with with chief product officer, chief technology officer, et cetera, et cetera, with the entire executive team, but the CFO is to your question.

Is responsible for ensuring that, you know, the money is correctly managed by the company. The CFO supports the CRO in ensuring that there is a budget to bring in to recruit the team, but also to ensure that the CRO provides forecasting to the CFO, it's very important for cash management, right?

What are we going to hit, you know, providing guidance on the forecast. Thinking about a public company they're providing forecasts to the market. And there's sort of, there are analysts that estimate where the earnings per share will be for the company and the stock price is a function of them, right.

And in a private company is a CFO. You need to manage that effectively in a relationship with the CFO where you're going to end up you know, how much money you need for the. You know, even the, the operational, the sales, operations, and production model, they should be built out an Excel that shows exactly, you know, what the plan is for the entire year.

We, our citations, our capacity analysis you know, head count, ramp, everything you typically work with a CFO to build out a more accurate and more aligned and integrated model. Like. And then executed and worked with the CFO and the money and the forecast part of it.

[00:38:25] Warren Zenna: Okay, great. I agree. I think that some of the people I've been speaking to some of my clients, in fact, they find that there's so much crossover between those two roles at some point that it becomes of strange to manage them.

But I appreciate your perspective on it, but we're getting close to time here. I wanted to thank you. This is such a great conversation. I can tell you. And I could probably go on here for another hour or so, but you know, other lives we have to live. So, so thank you for being a guest and thanks for your expertise.

Again, this podcast will be on Spotify. It'll be on, you know, iTunes and all the other channels that the. Podcast are found. It also is hosted with the sales IQ people online there. And I'll also post a link to this online for everybody to listen to once it's done. So again, Zorian Rotenberg thank you so much.

Your expertise is really helpful and you've got a great perspective and I learned a lot here today, so I appreciate your time.

[00:39:18] Zorian Rotenberg: Thank you for having me always enjoyed talking to you.

[00:39:20] Warren Zenna: Likewise, sir. Bye-bye

[00:39:22] Zorian Rotenberg: Thank you, see you.

This episode was digitally transcribed.

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