Decoding the V.P. of Sales and C.R.O. Dynamic
Pete Crosby, Founder at Pete Crosby Revenue
Many ask the valid question: what is the big difference between a VP of Sales and a CRO? For Pete Crosby, the answer is simple, but something the roles share is the need for the ability to oscillate between responsibilities.
A recent episode of Tech Salescraft, hosted by James, features a conversation he had with Pete, the Founder of Pete Crosby Revenue, a business which provides consulting, advice and coaching to SaaS start-ups and scale-ups from Seed Stage to Series C funding.
This blog summarises the key points of their discussion, shedding light on what founders should be considering when making new hires, especially for VP of Sales roles, and what qualities to look for in such potential leaders.
What the VP of Sales and CROs should have in common, according to Pete, is the ability to oscillate in their role on a daily basis. By this, he means that they have the canny ability to move seamlessly from high-level discussions with board members or investors in meeting to getting to work alongside their employees, including SDRs, to better-understand how the business functions on a daily basis.
Pete recalls how CROs might be competent at some skills, but not all can bounce between different contexts. While teaching a definitive guide to revenue leadership at the Sales Imapct Academy, Pete invited Greg Holmes, former CRO at Zoom, to do a guest session for him. Holmes famously worked as CRO at the tech company during its great scale-up in 2013-20.
“One of the things [Greg Holmes] said was, ‘Even when we were prepping for the IPO, I would spent one day on the floor with the SDRs every single week…exactly where the business was, helping those individuals.’ Even in an organisation of 800 people, he was spending time close to the floor, so you’ve got to have that ability to oscillate.”
No Place for Novices
When making hires for VP of Sales, Pete admits some exceptions might be able to take a business through the experience of Series A to B funding without prior experience. However, by and large, Pete would prefer a candidate for such a role who demonstrates prior experience of such things.
All too often, businesses face the pressure to hire a new VP of Sales and go down the easy route of picking a candidate without consideration for whether they have delivered on growth in past experiences. In that sense, it would be better to check for potential sales leaders within the company rather than hire someone new externally who lacks that necessary experience.
Three Golden Objectives
In Pete’s view, there are three essential objectives a business should use to inform their whole approach to hiring, especially for a VP of Sales.
- Can this person deliver sustainable ARR with the right organisations?
- Can they also construct a machine to generate leads and opportunities to capture demand being generated?
- People – can this person deliver and enable an effective team?
Speaking to the third objective in particular, Pete refers to conversations with CROs from giants such as AWS and Cisco to name a few. In these interviews, Pete learnt that there are differences in how they approached their work, but they all shared something in common. They shared a value of eudaimonia, a sense of purpose which they specifically wanted to accomplish with their teams.
In Pete’s view, the best teams tend to deliver average products better than weak teams with great products.
Want to learn more about James and Pete’s conversation in-depth?