CRO Spotlight

The Strategies You Need to Scale, With Nancy Maluso

September 6, 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.

The more your company scales in size, the more it needs to scale in every other way too–especially stability.

In this episode, Warren and Lupe are joined by Nancy Maluso who is VP, Principal Analyst at Forrester. Join them as they consider why alignment needs to be the first thing you get right, tips to structure your week for success, the other 'S word' to think about as you grow, and why delegation and data are the ex-sales CRO's best friends.


Connect with Nancy on LinkedIn.

You'll find Warren and Lupe on LinkedIn too.

Want to be a CRO? Join Warren's CRO Accelerator course here.

Warren Zenna
Co-Host @ CRO Spotlight Podcast + CEO @ CRO Collective
Lupe Feld
Co-Host, CRO Spotlight Podcast
Nancy Maluso
VP, Principal Analyst @ Forrester

[[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, welcome to this episode of the CRO spotlight podcast. Hi, Lupe. How you doing? 

[00:01:03] Lupe Feld: Hi Warren. Doing really well. Thanks. 

[00:01:05] Warren Zenna: So it's it's 94 here. You're in Arizona. Are we having the same weather as you there now? Finally, are we on par? 

[00:01:12] Lupe Feld: We, we are and we almost are having the same amount of humidity. That's crazy.

Yeah, we've had a lot of monsoons here, so it's, it's been a bit damp. 

[00:01:21] Warren Zenna: Monsoon. Do we get monsoons in the us? Is that how that works? If you're out west, is it a monsoon, but here it's what a rainstorm how's that? How's that work exactly?

[00:01:30] Lupe Feld: Yeah. It's it, they come in like flashes and then disappear and then they, I mean, they dump an incredible amount of water. So very similar to Florida, I would say.

[00:01:39] Warren Zenna: Yeah. I mean, monsoon, just a exotic name for a storm. I want a monsoon, so I appreciate. That's interesting. Well, you can come visit. 

[00:01:47] Lupe Feld: All right. Come visit in the summertime. If you can stand it. 

[00:01:50] Warren Zenna: Well, I'm excited about our guest today. So today we have Nancy Maluso from Forester and I've had the opportunity to have some really nice conversations with Nancy.

So we'll do a little brief intro and then Nancy, you can. Kind of, you know, elaborate a bit. Alright. So Nancy currently, right, is the she's a principal analyst over at Forester, right. And she focuses specifically on building revenue engines for businesses in the kind of a, you know, call it the startup phase, like the a hundred million or so range.

Mo most importantly, she wanted me to make sure I made this distinction is that she's not just an academic as maybe people perceive most Forester people. She's actually someone who's done the work and executed the work. And I'm gonna allow Nancy to elaborate a bit on that. So Nancy, welcome. And thanks so much for being here.

Thank you so much. Great. So if you could elaborate, I'd love to hear a little bit more about that. 

[00:02:32] Nancy Maluso: Yeah. So what's, you know, I have an somewhat of an unusual career in that I crossed a lot of the functions that traditionally exist in companies, you know, carried a bag, went up into sales management, but I also.

Ran customer success in, in a managed services business, which is what we used to call software as a service before it was software as a service. And you know, I, I did product marketing and, and even on one stand and product management a little bit far away from the customer for my liking, but in all of those cases, what's Dr.

What drove me across to different functions was my understanding of where the work I was doing at the moment was butting up against something. And having this innate curiosity about, well, how do we make that work better? And so you know, I've taken that curiosity across pretty much everything I've done.

I've been in two startups two companies in the mid side range both of which we're trying to do a turnaround or a transformation. and two very large global multinationals. So I have a flavor for all of that. And I, I don't like to get bored as you can tell. Yeah. So I like to do lots of different things.

[00:03:40] Warren Zenna: I love it. Why Forrester? What happened? Like how'd that transition come? 

[00:03:43] Nancy Maluso: Well, I actually started out at serious decisions and I was providing advice to sales enablement professionals originally. And eventually started working with senior sales leaders. And started working with my partner in crime, in, in serious decisions on the marketing side.

And we started building this emerging growth company workflow on how based on what stage they were in, how they should build the revenue engine. And we started working with all these companies of under 100 million on really how to do that. And that spun a lot of research and a lot of interest. Work. And most of the research I've done since then has been in pursuit of supporting that endeavor. 

[00:04:23] Warren Zenna: Okay. Well guess we'll start this way. So, you know, the conversation we're having here with the CRO spotlight and the work that we do is very aligned with what you're talking about, which is we're, we're looking to support companies that are in that growth stage, right?

Between the 15 to 20 million and a hundred million in revenues. They're developing mature complexity around their revenue operations. And they're sort of, you know, groping around in the dark and making a lot of decisions that they seem in our, what we see mostly is they're making decisions that just seem borrowed from other companies.

They're sort of repeating things that they think work, but they're, they're not doing. A lot of the work that they can do to analyze their situations effectively, to know what's endemic to their organizations, because they're under such crunchy timelines to be able to get results produced, but be curious to know what your thoughts are on this sort of thing and the kind of things you're seeing right now, when you deal at companies like this, it's fascinating to me, the kind of stuff that you're uncovering as you work companies like this.

[00:05:23] Nancy Maluso: Yeah. It's it's, it is fascinating because at every stage of a company's growth. Skills and, and focus. You need to bring to the table as a CRO or in any of the functional roles. If you're not already integrated changes, you know, in that very early stage, when you're trying to prove the product, it's like all hanging it's on deck.

Everybody talks to everything and does everything and, and then you grow enough and you start to get a couple million in revenue and you start to define jobs. Okay, your job's gonna be this and your job's gonna be that. Then you hit the next stage of growth and you get your series B because you've proven, you know how to do that.

Right? And so you feel like I'm the best sales guy or I'm the best marketer. I'm, you know what, we've got the best product in our customer, but once you get that series B, now you've gotta grow in a lot of other ways. And so what, what I often see happen is product says, well, we're gonna grow by adding a whole new product line or marketing says, oh, we're gonna grow.

We're gonna go inter. And sales says, we're gonna grow. We're gonna go upstream from SMB to enterprise. And they all are trying to grow. So the CEO said, we're all gonna, we're gonna grow by 30%. And they all think they've got the answer for how they're going to grow, but they're not aligned because their purview of the marketplace that is, is no longer of the marketplace it's of their internal organization.

And sales says, well, I know how to go in enterprise. That's why it's the best way to go. And marketing says, but I know. You know, go expand international. So our, our own, the, the people who work in the company have their own histories and experiences, and we have our own history and experiences the company on what's worked to date, and we wanna just keep doing that, but on a bigger scale, and it's a precisely this time we're trying to do all this stuff.

We've just got all this money and we're gonna go invest it, that we, the, the wheels start to fall off a little bit because of this lack of alignment. So the first thing we tend to do. when we work with clients is just check in to see, are you aligned across all these things? Do you know how you're gonna grow?

And , I often get CEOs calling saying, look, we have a strategy. We know what we're doing. What are you asking? All these questions for my guys are getting very uncomfortable. And I said, well that's because they all interpret your growth differe. . And when I talk to the CEO, then he goes, oh my God, they are interpreting the growth differently because the CEO's gone off to now manage the money and manage the investors and manage finance and other things.

CEOs not paying as much attention to gluing. And that disconnect happens in my mind between that, that corporate strategy and the go to market execution. So first you gotta make sure you're aligned. Really truly aligned. And that means, do we know how we're gonna grow first and foremost? You know, what is our primary growth mechanism or mechanisms?

Do we have enough resources to grow in all those ways? And then based on where we're gonna grow, how do we go to market? What is our segmentation? What is our focus within that growth strategy? If we can't get alignment across the key core, you know, customer success, marketing, sales, and product, then we're gonna invest.

In a suboptimal way, we're gonna build our organizations, our processes, and our technologies in the wrong way. So that's first and foremost, you know, you've gotta, you've gotta work that alignment. 

[00:08:54] Lupe Feld: You know, you see that. So often Nancy, where everybody kind of progresses within the organization and the alignment really comes from looking through your own.

as opposed to a company lens. And so I think you highlight some, some really valid disconnects that occur in business. And you, you are kind of the result of all of your experiences. So you really can't filter that out. And as you kind of grow the business and change the direction, a, a lot of the wheels fall off between strategy and execut.

So that's that's a really good point. 

[00:09:35] Nancy Maluso: And you're, you've just been rewarded through all this funding for everything you've done well, and now the next thing you have to do is be vulnerable in question and be curious about what you need to do next. Or maybe how you need to do what you're going to do next.

[00:09:49] Lupe Feld: You know, and typically when you go to round, you, you've kind of put a plan forward of what you plan to do. And so the reward kind of reinforces, we told you what we were gonna do with this money. So now we have to do what we told you we were gonna do. And, and so it, it be, it can be a vicious cycle. It can be a vicious cycle. 

[00:10:09] Nancy Maluso: So I hope that when they put the plan together, it's in a aligned. and if it's too high level and most, most investors will dig into, you know, how are you gonna get the work done?

And they'll dig into that. But too often, they skip from strategy down to sort of, what's the org structure you need. What's the processes you have to have. They kind of skip the middle connecting layers of what I call go to market and routes to market and being clear on those a lot of times. 

[00:10:35] Warren Zenna: And why do you think that is? Like what what's. what, why do you see that? What dynamics or forces have that be over? 

[00:10:45] Nancy Maluso: I think because we assume we know what that is, we've been doing it right. And we don't realize that when we decide to grow the business and we have a growth strategy, we have to reassess our, go to market architecture and how we're going to invest our money.

And so we, you know, we really let's take this example. We get series B, cuz we wanna qu let's say we wanna build a platform and we've got two pieces of the platform and we get series B to bring in these other companies. And that becomes the focus. Let me bring in these other companies. Well, that's gonna change potentially how we go to market, how our buyers wanna buy, might change who our buyers are.

It might change, you know, what we can do with our buyers. And so we really have to revisit. and, and what it means from our architecture, maybe one of those products requires partner partnerships to really come to fruition. You know, we really just have to re-look at that. 

[00:11:44] Warren Zenna: Yes, I get it. I agree. I'm I'm trying to articulate it. It sounds, what you're saying is it's like a failure to connect future plans with current situations and how they effect affect each other.

[00:11:57] Nancy Maluso: And that yeah. And, and whether we're strategically ready, whether we have to fit yet. If we're gonna go after a new buyer, right. Do we truly understand how the new buyer wants to buy?

If we're gonna go after a new market, have we really assessed what it's gonna take to meet buyers in that new market? Hmm. And of course, this is all complicated because now our buyer behavior is changing. right. So at the same time we're doing all this and we think, well, I know how to do it. And I know what I wanna do.

The buyers are changing and the pandemic accelerated that change pretty substantially. 

[00:12:29] Warren Zenna: And what are those changes in your view? 

[00:12:31] Nancy Maluso: So what, like, what do I mean? Yeah, so our data showed that buyer interactions almost doubled the number of buyer interactions almost doubled. From before and, you know, during a purchase, how many interactions they have and by interaction, I mean, a digital touch go to a website, talk to somebody, go to an event, et cetera.

And over 55% of those are digital. Consumers are used to buying a buying through the product itself. Let me get a freemium. I learn about it. And then I purchase the product. So this product led growth. That's what we call product led revenue. If you. Product led sale is, is I touch it. I play with it. Well now B2B companies are starting to do that.

It's a great tactic for some and buyers are increasingly wanting to do that. But maybe when you started out your company, you couldn't do that because buyers weren't aware of your kind of offering, or it was really complicated at the time, but now you can maybe start to introduce a freemium offer. But often we don't think about that.

Cuz we made a decision a couple years ago that it wouldn't work. But now we have to revisit cuz maybe we're going downstream or maybe we're going upstream, but they're more sophisticated. They understand how to do that. So that's one example. Another might be that, you know, we started out by going to our friends and families.

We're growing the business. We built up a sales team who knew how to get to certain kinds of buyers. And now we're gonna expand. So we've gotta really get our digital chops in order. and if we don't have our digital chops in order and what I, what I mean by that is just not just our website presence.

Mm-hmm and our search engine marketing and all that kind of stuff, but it's are we in all the places that buyers want to be and are we giving them all the information they want to get? And they want a lot more information digitally, details like even pricing transparency. 

[00:14:20] Lupe Feld: Yeah. You know, and you see, so often the behaviors that exist and dominate in B2 C spill over time into B2B, you know, so the, the, the same people that are accustomed to going on their Amazon app, ordering something and having be delivered between five and 10 are going to eventually have.

that expectation in B2B. And so often that infrastructure is not there to support it, not even the, the opportunity to communicate now. And, and a lot of times they're willing to pay a premium. So that's a missed revenue opportunity as well. 

[00:15:00] Nancy Maluso: Yeah. We're seeing more and more interest on the part of B2B buyers with purchasing through marketplaces and purchasing, you know, in a self-service.

And that doesn't mean that sales assistance doesn't happen. I'm not talking about the death of a salesperson. There's definitely a role there, but it's changing and we have to continually assess have our buyers changed. Are they changing? 

[00:15:23] Lupe Feld: So, you know, if you, as you mentioned, the number of interactions are increasing per, per, you know, by the purchasers and you would have to digitize those in order for there to be capacity. So the salesperson is really going to be somewhere in that process of interactions, but they really won't have the capacity to serve as all of those interactions. So those interactions have to be digital. So I, I, I get what you mean.

[00:15:50] Nancy Maluso: Well, they don't, they don't have to be digital. They may be, they may be digital. A lot of them will be digital and the digital interactions will happen across the whole sales cycle. This is not tossing the Baton, right. It doesn't go marketing than sales anymore. It goes marketing and sales sort of, you know, if you think of marketing as the digital sort of face of the company, so it could be that it's digital and we have to test that.

Is it going to be a digital, you know, maybe I insert a salesperson in the middle of it to help do configuration and solutioning, but then they still buy digitally at the end. You know, they wanna process digitally, you know, the contract and the purchase. So we really have to reexamine it. And it's really hard to do to, to Warren's point earlier, Hey, you're trying to grow the business and you're, and you're just tactically looking at everything all the time and taking a moment to step back and like reexamine this and look at it is hard to do, but, but you miss you miss the market if you and, and so it's, it's really tough. 

[00:16:52] Warren Zenna: So I'm curious cuz you bring up a lot of points about sales and marketing, which is a conversation every day. And the big topics we're having now is whether or not the SDR, you know, kind of model has sort of supplanted the marketing channel. And only, almost too much.

Right. And the SDR model is doing what marketing should be doing. And in, in the, in the scenario you're presenting, which I, you know, I align with is there needs to be different ways in which customers are being touched in the marketplace that are different. Now, and I agree completely. I, I, I'm very much against a lot of this sort of I would call it like you know, lead generation type stuff, which customers don't really like as much anymore.

But to that point, right? If I'm, if I'm deploying a group of people that are going out there just specifically to get appointments for a sales people is that marketing's job. How do you see it happening at the stages at which companies at the point that you're talking to smaller companies that are sort.

I guess toying with the idea of whether or not they just need to play a different sales methodology or a different marketing methodology, which are you seeing is more effective at the stage that you we're discussing here? 

[00:18:01] Nancy Maluso: It depends on, on what factors mm-hmm so well, you know, if, if the company has functions of marketing and sales and the question is where should my BDRs.

I would say, where does alignment need to happen the most? Is it tight integration with campaigns and, and awareness that we're driving? So for example, inbound, traffic's coming in based on things we've put in the market. We need people to be aware of that and respond to that. Or is it based on sales going out and doing something.

And we need to make sure we're tightly coupled with sales teams. So where demand gets generated by a person. Okay, where you put that really depends on what makes the most sense. Now, ideally sales and marketing are so align. Maybe they're part of the same organization. Maybe they're not, but they're so align that sales knows the campaigns it have has had input on the campaigns cause we're going after the same buyers.

And so there's no disconnect having to have different people in different orgs. that doesn't always work that way. 

[00:19:09] Warren Zenna: Yeah. Lupe, any thoughts on that? 

[00:19:10] Lupe Feld: Well, it's ideally, they're going after the same. Program. However, I, I think, you know, historically sales and marketing have not been that aligned. So what are some best practices to align?

Whether they're under the same leadership or not? What do you suggest? What have you seen as good best practices? 

[00:19:32] Nancy Maluso: Yeah, the very first thing is, are, do we agree who our prioritized buyers are and where we're gonna invest our money. And when I say investment sales and marketing needs to make their investment in people.

Campaigns technology, whatever you want to call it in an aligned way, marketing shouldn't go off and purchase something to drive, you know, marketing alignment without input or knowledge of sales, because there's an integration that needs to happen. Every member, everybody who touches a customer in any way needs to be able to see the same insights that come out of those Interac.

And, and we've got this great opportunity because of artificial intelligence ability to look at and process all the signals interactions that happen digitally. I mean, that's one of the great things about digital interactions. And in this case, I'm including sales interactions that happen over a digital medium, right.

Other than face to face, everything else can be digitized. so we can use these AI engines to give us insight about what's really going on. And we want that to be ubiquitous. That's that insight pool to be available to everybody so we can make decisions based on that. So we've gotta have an aligned process.

We have to have aligned underlying data architecture so that we can capture, and we have to call things the same thing in our underlying data arch. and, and we need to make sure that we know how we're calculating metrics. We shouldn't have marketing calculated one way and sales calculated another way.

So we don't like to use leads. We like to use opportunities cuz that's common language. And in fact that's what we actually close are opportunities not leads. So getting the conversation and the language to be similar is really important. You know, your investments have to be aligned. Your underlying architecture has to be aligned and maybe most important.

We should have one customer aligned life cycle from before awareness, all the way through renewal and, and upsell. Right. We should have one aligned process, not a marketing process and a sales process and a customer success process. One underlying process. So when I work with companies who get to this stage, the first thing we do is try to drive the alignment.

And the second thing we do is say, let's look at a customer aligned process. Now that's painful because now we've gotta use similar terminology and we've gotta agree on the data sets and we've gotta, and it causes changes to underlying stuff. Right. We now use the opportunity object in Salesforce instead of the, the contact object.

And it changes stuff. It's, it's hard, but if you do it early enough, it's less painful. And then you set the foundation for you to grow in a very aligned way.

[00:22:31] Warren Zenna: I address something cuz you're saying something really important here and it's the. That it's hard and that it's difficult. And it's, and I know why, because change is difficult and people having to reevaluate things that they've invested in is difficult.

It's all emotional stuff. Honestly, it really it's people holding out to old ideas and not wanting, right? Yes. So, you know, here's the conundrum that we're dealing with a lot. And I like to know your thoughts on this. So the stage of the companies that we're talking about are in. Predominantly term emotional mode, right.

They're trying to accomplish short term goals to survive. And so they make short term decisions, right? Mostly it's usually quarterly, maybe monthly, right? Everything. They do the technologies, they buy the people they hire, the everything they're doing is designed to see things that they actually see on the horizon in front of them.

They're they're in front. That's a very difficult environment to start to have conversations about decisions that have long term implications. Like you're talking about, you're talking about that are planning things that are imply implications two years from now, whatever mm-hmm . How do you get a CEO or a leadership organization to think and make long term based decisions when they're faced with short term situation.

[00:23:49] Nancy Maluso: Yeah. Oh, it's such a, you bring up such a great point and it is probably the critical one really. When you think about it, because our, our, our switch, after we get a B series level investment, we have to switch from tactical to a more strategic mindset because we have to stabilize and scale that engine at the same time.

And you can only do that if you put in underlying infrastructure, not just people, but processes and technology. And you need to put those in mm-hmm in an aligned way. Now I talked to a CEO recently and he said that in, you know, he was at this stage and he said, you know, one of the things I'm considering is bringing customer success and the BDR team into sales and having them that be a C CR role and have them own the customer life cycle mm-hmm

And then I'll have an operating officer who does the whatever, and I'll have marketing do the digital piece. he said, but my marketing person's really pissed. I'm taking the BDRs away and the customer and the customer operations person is really pissed. I'm taking the CSMs away. And I, I said, well, they, they have a lot to do.

If they're gonna scale their engine don't they have enough to work on without having to worry about all that. He said, oh, right. Like, I guess I should have them focus on those things that they have to be working on that are going to be big enough jobs. You know, and he called me later and he said, I had the conversation with the head of marketing and her comment was, oh, thank God.

I don't have to do that CRO thing and get all those processes and stuff in place. Oh, wow. You know, it was just flipping and understanding how big of a challenge this is. I also recommend some really simple things. Our best work happens in the morning. And we never wanna do planning on Monday cuz we're in tactical mindset, getting back in, checking our email, you know, whatever.

So typically Mondays are reserved for let's find out what's going on with our pipeline. Let's find out what our forecast is. What's the most important deals we gotta work on. That's the sales leader's mindset, right? That, so let's do that Monday. Okay. Tuesday morning should be maybe process work and Wednesday morning should be maybe.

Investment decision work, and then Thursday's deal work and Fridays, you know, closing up the week and coaching our teams and doing whatever. And then, so in the, in the mornings, we need to carve out time to do this work with our peers. Now we do this, you know, when I, I, I have tactical things that happen every day.

I'm coaching, I'm advising clients and we're talking about their world. And that takes up about a third of my. and then a third of my time is doing what, you know, my own work like heads down. I got stuff I gotta do on my own. And the third of the time is research. That is cross-functional that I'm working with other people in the organization on, and we have to plan those meetings out way in advance and kind of hold them, you know, carefully.

We have to protect them and guard them if we're gonna ever make progress in some of these bigger sort of research things that we have to do. And it's the same. And those leads, but the CEO has to drive that the CEO has to say, guys, we need time to do this. And then there's the monthly and quarterly opportunities to get together, making sure we're executing in alignment.

And then the annual planning piece, which everybody hates because we don't tie it to execution too often becomes too theoretical. 

[00:27:18] Warren Zenna: Yeah, it's great. It it's like you're proposing a more of a, a long term behavioral mindset in the way that the company operates, as opposed to that reactive model that, you know, that sort of fierce battle every day.

That's most think when they come in the office every day, it's like another thing they have to react to as opposed. Planning out strategically when they're gonna think about certain things and plan certain things that are in many ways, feel counterintuitive to the what's going on right now. Right?

That's the strain is how do I get my people to keep their heads down and avoid all the bullets coming at them when those bullets are distraction, they're really actually not reality. They're we we've created them in to a lot of respect. and I, I asked, asked this question mainly because I wanna address the audiences that are listening to this, right?

So we've got aspiring chief revenue officers. These are people who want to become a CRO one day. And they're thinking about stepping into a role that has to manage all the complexities that you're talking about. And then there's the CRO who right now you and I know and loop, I know knows is going my God, how do I deal with this situation?

I don't know what I got myself into, or just didn't work out the way I thought, or I'm not getting the kind of autonomy I need or whatever. And I'm. Actually create a role from whole cloth that was handed to me and not really doing a good job of it. And what do I do? And then last is the CEO who is at the point where they might get that B round.

And they're thinking about hiring, achieve new officer. And they're probably gonna start making a lot of the common mistakes that you and myself and Lupe know so well that they may listen to this and figure out ways to start thinking differently. 

[00:28:56] Nancy Maluso: Yeah. I mean, as we prepare to go to our next series of and get our next round of investment. We need to think about whether we've got the second in command who could do the tactical stuff. And if we don't, we better groom them. You know, we have to offload and stop doing some of that more tactical stuff to give us space, to start laying the foundation for stability and scale.

And if we don't and if we don't take the time to do that, we're gonna be out of a job. chaos will ensu as we grow. Ah, I just talked to somebody who just a leader today. They have so much demand. They can't keep up with it. They have so many bottlenecks. What do I do? It's a great problem to have, we wanna have it, but you need to have people who are. Tactically running after that stuff. And somebody who's thinking about how do I scale and stabilize this thing? 

[00:29:52] Lupe Feld: Yeah. So often the focus is on growth and that becomes kind of the point of arrival as opposed to sustaining and catapulting that growth by building that infrastructure. It's not the sexy work.

[00:30:09] Nancy Maluso: I mean, that's why so many founders don't end up running their companies once they get to a point because they have that they myopic tactical view of how to bring something to market and get it out there. And laying all this foundational stuff is not what they wanna do. You know, they find it boring or not in exciting or anything like that.

And it's hard for them. So look, it's, it's true of all of us, we're all good at, at certain things. And so I, I hope as people are thinking about whether they wanna be a CRO or whether they are a CRO, are you spending the right balance of your time on developing your people? Building your infrastructure, you know, both process and technology and are you doing, you know, the tactical stuff you have to do? 

[00:30:55] Warren Zenna: So that's great. You know, it's interesting you say this because we're actually talking to somebody about jumping into the CRO accelerator course to talk exactly about that point, Nancy, which is how leaders need to take better care of their mental health.

And I couldn't, I couldn't agree more. I, I feel this more now than I ever have, especially now running my own business. How. Disjointed. It is trying to manage multiple different things that require multiple different types of competencies and talents and focuses and how it. Make leaders defensive or they don't listen as well or not as effective.

And I could see, it's not just, you know, someone becoming difficult to work with. It's also, you know, I miss things like I'm not seeing the bigger picture because I'm trying to consume ideas too quickly without thinking about the implications of them. And I think I wanna emphasize this point because.

I'm speaking to a lot of people right now who are looking to move out of an already complicated sales leadership role into a CRO role, which brings in other functions and other disciplines, right. And financial implications. So I'm curious, like if you could just elaborate a bit on what you see as that transition to be made aside from the disciplinary knowledge, what's the right way for a person to prepare themselves for the.

Complexities that come with the role from a leadership perspective, aside from what you already said, I think is great by the way, it's really inspiring to hear. Thanks. 

[00:32:17] Nancy Maluso: So I think the biggest thing is that when we're a functional leader, it's about what that function does. And the minute we move up to a CRO leader, it's about what we collectively Lee.

So the number one skill you have to be really good at is comfort and delegation. You're gonna be delegating down, but you're gonna be delegating across like you're, you have to understand the role and the contribution that everybody plays and you have to let them play it, which means you're spending more of your time, coaching them and supporting them and encouraging them and less of your time doing the work for them.

And, and so we have to have a sh a shift in mindset. That is much more generous about holding people accountable for doing their. And, and I say generous in holding them accountable because it means we have to spend time coaching them and, and working through them. And it's so much faster and easier to do it ourselves.

Usually mm-hmm but we, we have to start that's, that's something in here. Think about it with, if you have kids and you're raising kids and they kind of go from this. No, they can't get any food without asking mom or dad to get it for them too. Oh, they can make their own breakfast. Right. We have to. We have to make sure that they have the skill and the capability to do.

And then we have to let, 'em go. Even if they're gonna make a mask, cuz otherwise we're gonna be making breakfast for the rest of our life. Right. So we have to think about it the same way and we have to let go of quite a lot so that we can step in in. And by the way, if, if you're a CSO and you haven't taken a vacation and let your second in command run the thing without checking in and micromanaging, then you're not.

For a CRO role, because you have to count on your second hand in sales, you can't do that job for them. So you know, you need to test that. Yeah. And there's all kinds of maturity models out there that can look at the maturity of your organization and assess, you know, where the weak spot is. You can prioritize, do I need to work on process or technology or, I mean, we work with customers all the time in assessing sort of where's the first place to attack the CRO job from.

But what we're talking about here, Warren is really the mindset we have to have when we go into that role. 

[00:34:36] Warren Zenna: And, you know, it's funny because most CROs come out of sales leadership. Those are people that are doers. That's how they succeeded and all of a sudden they gotta give up all the glory that comes with closing big numbers and managing things that sometimes don't touch those outcomes.

And yeah, that's a tough shift for a lot of people that are really good sales leaders. That's why, you know, even though I know C CEOs typically look to sales leaders to find new chief revenue officers. They're in for a rude awakening when they need that person to shift more over to manage multiple functions and not do all that sales leadership stuff, which if they bias themselves in that favor, they're actually not gonna do their job well.

And that's something that I'm, I'm also trying to help CEOs understand is that the type of personality that they need or the shift they need to make is very difficult for them. Particularly when, again, where they're in that short term mindset. 

[00:35:26] Nancy Maluso: I'm gonna oversimplify this, something in the next statements that I make.

And it's my personal opinion. I haven't done research and validated this, but I think you need to be a science oriented sales leader versus a relationship oriented sales leader in order to make that transition. 

[00:35:43] Warren Zenna: Can you elaborate on that? That's really interesting. 

[00:35:45] Nancy Maluso: Yeah. So relationship oriented person is going to scale through people.

They're going to do deals through people. and to scale and to take advantage of the capabilities that are now available in market through AI, they really, you really need your CRO to be science oriented, meaning, you know, what do we have to do and how often do we have to do it? And what does excellence look like in doing a very process and sort of operationally focused that's one and two really focused on the competencies and development of the organization.

So it's people. And it's this sort of operational mindset, and there are sales leaders who get this right. And, and they, they tend to be the science of selling, organized, oriented people. I need to make a hundred phone calls to get three blah, blah, blah, to get, you know, and they know that that, that there's a, a sci a math to this.

Right. So they have to have that sort of mentality to understand. Now that doesn't mean relationships. Aren't important. They are critically important. many of them have to now switch from building relationships with key customers to now building relationships internally and making sure that those relationships are as full of trust as the relationships we have with our biggest customers.

And we have to put the same kind of attention to them. So. That's my thought process on that. 

[00:37:15] Warren Zenna: No, that's great. I never heard it before, but it makes complete sense almost like saying like more process oriented thinkers will be probably more easier acclimated to the role than relationship and I, I can get it because I'm a relationship person and it's hard to scale that.

Yeah, it's valuable. And you know, you win a lot of hearts and I can, I can motivate things and get things done, but systems work harder than relationships do for larger complex organizations. There's no doubt about that. Yeah, that's great. 

[00:37:42] Nancy Maluso: And so if you're a science oriented person and you're gonna fit the CRO role great. Well, do you need then a relationship oriented person to kind of balance you out? No doubt you do 

[00:37:51] Warren Zenna: in the sales leader. That's right. That's what you need. I would, I would say if you're a CRO, you need to have. The greatest, most magnanimous sales leader you could possibly find, and you need to manage that person to succeed and you need to run a system.

And, you know, I talk about this quite a bit and it's a very, very jarring thing for my clients to hear. They want that person that has the Rolodex, you know? 

[00:38:13] Nancy Maluso: Right. The other thing is if they are science oriented, I mean, if they're not science oriented, it doesn't mean they can't make it as the CRO, but they better have a really strong rev op.

Who really understands how to build all this and they need to invest in rev ops that's right, right. 

[00:38:28] Warren Zenna: Which that's a key. Yeah. It's so, so key. So key. Yep. Totally. I've said that the rev op person is the chief of staff of the ch of the CRO.

[00:38:39] Nancy Maluso: A hundred percent. 

[00:38:39] Lupe Feld: Yep. Well said. 

[00:38:41] Warren Zenna: Yeah, well, we're getting close to out of time here.

So I learned a lot personally, I made a couple of like actual, really good realizations, or I, I guess I could say I ized some kind of more foggy thoughts here today that really helped me articulate certain things that I've been thinking about. So thank you for that. Welcome. And it was really great having you and I'm sure we'll talk again.

Absolutely. Yeah. And we'll we'll see you next time and thanks everybody for tuning in. Thanks everybody. Once again, this is the CRO Spotlight. Bye bye.

This episode was digitally transcribed.

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