Do Customer-Centric RevOps Leaders Make Better CROs?

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Warren Zena: The CRO Spotlight
Podcast, pro Farm Production.

Hi, I'm Warren Zena, founder and
CEO of the CRO Collective, and

welcome to the CRO Spotlight Podcast.

This podcast is for Chief Revenue
Officers, aspiring CROs and

CEOs who are looking to hire
or support a CRO to succeed.

To join me and my expert guests as we
debate, discuss, and tackle today's

complex revenue growth challenges,
and provide practical insights

to help CROs succeed in the role.

We're really excited to
have you with us now.

Let's get to it.

Okay, and welcome to this episode
of the CRO Spotlight podcast.

This is Warren Zena, the
founder and CEO of the CRO.

And, um, you know, it's been a while.

I know that I just released
a couple of episodes.

Uh, you'll see uh, one from Steve
Schmidt that just came out today.

And then, uh, Rosalyn Santa Elena
should be releasing next week.

That's a great conversation.

And, uh, I just wanna like, say a couple
things cuz it's been a while since I've

had, uh, an episode, but, One of the
things that I'm seeing now that I find

it really interesting is how many chief
revenue officers don't own marketing.

It's really interesting What
happens is, I'm speaking to a lot of

chief revenue officers, and as you
probably all from hearing this, a

lot, a lot of 'em own sales, right?

Only maybe they're given
customer success to some degree.

Some own it, but very few own marketing
and I it's, it's like the last.

Frontier, you know, they
can't seem to grab, and I have

a lot of thoughts on this.

Um, I'll probably get into this a lot
with my great guest today, but it's

a really interesting topic and it has
to do a lot to do with, I would call

it like a traffic jam that's happening
at the C-suite that is, companies

aren't really thinking this through.

And also it's also because,
um, there's not a lot of.

Strategic thinking related to
C-Suite leadership and how it

implicates itself when companies
grow and you end up in a situation

where you have a CMO and then a c.

And you sort of let them duke
it out, and that never ends

up winning good for anybody.

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I'm really excited today to have
our guest, Jackie Russo Anderson.

So Jackie is the CRO of Blue Con.

It's a data company.

We'll talk a bit about about that
business, but, um, the reason I wanted

to talk to Jackie, she has such a great
background and she's a chief revenue

officer and it is a really great story.

So, so she was a partner, a
company called Scale House.


She helped data analytics companies
scale there, and before that she was a

Chief Client Officer at Simmons, right?

Where, where she's kind of
spearheaded its client first strategy.

And she directed all the sales
and client services and then led

the custom research business.

And she helped transition Simmons from
like an experienced, experienced sub-brand

to a standalone private equity company.

That's, that's a, that's a big thing.

I wanna talk about that.

Uh, she was at Forrester Research for
a while and JD Power and Associates.

Uh, so she's done a lot of really
great roles at some really big brands.

Uh, she speaks.

Uh, she, her expertise has been
cited in the Times in the journal.

Uh, she's also a member of Chief and,
uh, she does a lot of, uh, work in the

relation to National Association of
Women and Sales Professionals, et cetera.

So, without further ado, I
just wanna introduce Jackie.

Jackie, welcome to the show.

Thanks for having me, Warren.

Excited to be here.


So, um, I'd love you to, uh, expound a
little bit on your background cuz I, you

know, peppered with some things, but, you
know, one of the things that the audience

really likes to hear about, How somebody
becomes a Chief Revenue Officer and even

what that role has manifested for you,
specifically what Chief Revenue Officer.

Looks like in your world.

So I'd love to hear

Jacqueline Rousseau- Anderson:
more about that.

Yeah, that's a great question.

Um, what Chief Revenue Officer
has manifested for me some days

is kind of an identity crisis
if we're, if we're being honest.

So, uh, we'll get into that.

But before I took this role back in
January, Um, I was a chief customer

officer here, atonic, so I was
overseeing everything that happened

post-sale with our customers.

So from onboarding and implementation
into, you know, our ongoing engagements

with them, partnerships, training,
enablement, uh, all touch touchpoints

across the customer journey.

And my background before this has
been really at the intersection

of data analytics products,
uh, with a commercial bent.

So if we're being honest, I never
expected to get to a CRO path.

That was never something I set out to do.

I didn't go to.

You know, business, school or anything.

My degrees are actually in research
analytics methods, so I pictured being

in the back of the house someday.

And then as I got into scenarios and got
exposed to different roles, I realized

that I had a passion for just the business
strategy of what we do, how we do, and.

Doing it in a scalable way.

Um, so that kind of has led me to the
CRO role and I say an identity crisis

because it's interesting, uh, when you're
a chief customer officer, a lot of people

wanna talk to you because they wanna
know what are other customers doing?

You know, how can we help them, which
are the conversations I love to have.

And then you flip over to the
CRO title and suddenly everyone

assumes that you're in the room.

You wanna find more money or, you
know, you're having a, a tough

conversation and you're gonna try
to, you know, add another line item

into their contract or something.

So, I'm not gonna lie, I still think
about things the same way and wanna

help our customers, you know, be
transformational in what they're

trying to do in their businesses.

But, uh, there are some days where
I'm like, oh, wait, you don't, you

know, I'm like, oh, I'll have that
con conversation with the customer.

I'll come in and do that presentation.

And somebody's like, well, they
kind of wanna talk to somebody

who, you know, fill in the blank.

I'm like, well, I am that person.

I just have this revenue that has somehow
become a dirty word in a lot of instances.

Warren Zena: So, so much I wanna unpack.

It's so great.

I love it.

A couple things.

One I wanted to point out, maybe we can
get into a bit, is the fact that, you

know, one of the reasons, aside from
some of the obvious ones, but one of

the other important reasons I wanted
to do this with you is because you got

to the path of Chief Revenue Officer,
but you didn't get there through sales.


And that's unusual.

So that's, that's interesting
to me because I think there's

a trending on that right now.

We can get into that a bit because.

Sort of like, we can talk about
this idea of the sort of sales led

CRO and the data or operations led
CRO and they're both like different

sort of, you know, creatures.


But it, it, it, it's an interesting thing.


And the second thing was that you said
some of that really I want to get into

right now and I didn't think about
it as much until you said it, which.

It's not just the way your company
perceives the word revenue,

but it's the way customers
and clients perceive revenue.

And now what's happened as a result
of this confusion around the role,

you're having an identity crisis
where people think you're looking for

money because the entire industry has
been trained to think Chief Revenue

Officer is someone who just does sales.

So how do you manage that?

So you're in a room and you know,
or maybe a better question would

be, not only how do you manage
it, but what would your advice.

To help someone else manage it when
they see that possibly happening

down the road, that can help maybe
mitigate some of that perception.

Jacqueline Rousseau- Anderson: Yeah,
so I think about it in the same

way that I think about sales, which
is another seemingly dirty road,

especially in the SAS business.

Um, you know, everybody just assumes
a, that you're trying to, and this

is a broad generalization, right,
but that salespeople are trying

to wheel and deal and, you know,
especially in the SaaS world, right?

I'm putting a contract in front of you.

There must be some hidden Gotcha.

Either, you know, you're gonna.

Corner me into an agreement that actually
ends up overcharging me a whole bunch.

And you can't wait to hit send
on that invoice for overages or

it's not gonna perform the way
that you're describing it to me.

So from a sales perspective, I think
that that's kind of the cornerstone

that, you know, at least, I'm trying
to really unpack and bring back.

So we talk a lot about EPE and BCAN.

So it's uh, expertise, partnership, and.

And that's how we show up to
our customers, but it's also

how we show up to our prospects.

So I think it really is just showing up
every day and proving and building that

trust with our customers and prospects
that says, this isn't, you know, a shtick.

I'm not trying to be, you know, the
friendly person who gained some trust

and then you know, you know, pardon the
language but screws you on the back end.


Really how we operate here.

And so it is just showing up in a
very authentic way and not letting

customers know this is how we operate.

And holding the teams to the same
accountability because whatever experience

somebody's gonna have with a sales rep
is how they're going to categorize you,

or a customer success manager or whoever.

They're gonna remember that experience
and the adage of, you know, you, you

remember more how somebody makes you feel.

That's what your reps are doing.

So it's not a magic wand approach,
but I think it has to start with how

you structure and the expectations
you set for your team when it

comes to commercial interactions.

And then doing the same
as a revenue leader.

So when I come into a room,
you know, I need to show up.

I need to be on top of my game.

I need to prove that
I'm there to truly help.

Prospects and customers be successful.

And that means being able to talk to them
about the use cases that are working or

not working within our tool, being honest
about what we can or can't help them with.

Um, and just being that leader
who shows up with EPE every

day and every interaction.

And that begins to really kind of change
the sentiment, um, and also recognizing

that no matter how many times I show
up, that way the team shows up the way.

Unfortunately there are people have, that
have had such bad experiences or have

such a stigma associated with sales and
revenue that they're gonna assume things

and then I can't change their framework.

So all I can do is help 'em be
successful in their role and hopefully

eventually we kind of turn that so,
I think it, I, I, I truly think it's

a fundamental challenge and what I've
noticed, especially, you know, a lot

of Euro guests are in the same, uh,
mindset when it comes to revenue that.

Revenue is the byproduct of
making your customer successful.

So we talk about in customer
success, the job was to make

customer successful every day.

Full stop.

That's what your job is.

And so if we are committed to that vision
from day one in the sales journey of

understanding first, what is it that my
customers need in order to be successful?

Does our tool help them do that?

How do we do that?

Structuring an agreement that's
mutually beneficial to get them

there, and then making sure
that we help them execute on it.

Then that should speak for itself, and
then the revenue will come naturally

because you're helping them be successful.

And that just kind of works itself out.


Warren Zena: certainly
music to my ears, you know?

I mean, I love that, that philosophy, and
it's one that I'm kind of pushing more.

I put the customer at the center
of the revenue engine, not dollars.

Yeah, exactly.

It's very difficult.

PE and VC organizations to
get their arms around that.

Cuz that's what they're looking at.

They're looking at dollars, you know?

But, you know, you and I, I obviously
are like-minded here and I think

a lot of people understand that
a happy customer equals dollars.


So that's the goal.

I, I, I think it seems to make sense.

The problem I think is chief
revenue officers are usually

led by pipeline growth.

New client acquisition growth, right?

Deal closes, which I, those are obviously
critically important components of,

of a revenue, uh, engine operation.

Healthy one, but no one, I dunno,
maybe they can, I don't know, maybe not

successfully, but they can maybe argue the
wisdom of making the customer experience

the first thing you think about.

As a matter of fact, I think customer
experience should be a place where

sales and marketing get most of
their insights in terms of how they

should speak to new prospects, right?

Because an existing customer is gonna
gimme all the information I need to

make sure that I can replicate that
experience through the sales process,

because when someone comes into the
funnel, they're a customer, essentially.




So, yep.

A couple things I wanna
ask you about this.

Because it's great that you have this
thought and that you also come from

a non-sales background, and here you
are, you're Chief Revenue Officer.

So walk me through what the process was
like at your company that the decision was

made to make you a Chief Revenue Officer.

Like how did that, what was
the nexus of that decision?

What was the thinking behind it?

Like why did we decide to make Jackie have
this title and what was the, what were the

objectives associated with that change?

And why?

Like what were the, what were, what
were the business decisions around that?

I'm curious.

Yeah, so

Jacqueline Rousseau- Anderson: what
you were saying at the beginning and

the kind of the opening, um, of the
podcast is spot on to what I've seen

in a lot of trends, which is companies
not being strategic in how they're

thinking about the C-suite structure.

And so you have this mix, especially
in scaling companies of legacy sea

titles that maybe were there because.

Somebody fell, we reached a certain
level of growth and we needed to

put in ACMO or we needed a chief uh,
operating officer, or whatever it is.

And so you have these C-suite
titles that don't necessarily

align to the actual strategy and
future strategy of the business.

So that's one piece.

And I would say importantly, our
business and our leaders at the

time, Were on the opposite side of
that scale, and they were being very

strategic about what the company needed.

So before this move, we had
a new business sales team.

Um, and BDRs, you know, at one
point reported a new business team.

Then they kind of moved over to marketing.

Um, and then under customer
success, I own the number, uh,

relative to account management.

So renewals and upsell,
cross sell that motion.

As well as, uh, all the engagements
we were doing with partners and

what the leaders at the time.

Um, so our CEO is Corey Munch back and,
um, our outgoing CEO and Co-Founder was

Bart Halk and they said, You know, a lot
of the same things that you were just

talking about where customers aren't
customers after they sign the contract.

Customers are everybody that we touch
in the initial conversation on, so we

need to really be thinking about how
we engage and serve them from day one,

but also how we structure agreements.

Are healthy for the business, both
from an initial perspective and

also from an expansion perspective,
and roll out the products and

services that actually meet needs.

You made a great point, right?

If you don't, if you don't have any
idea what your customers are doing

with your platform, your tool, your
service, whatever it is, or what they

need from changing market trends,
actual usage, whatever, how are you

gonna introduce new products and
services that help drive revenue?

If you have a disconnect right, then
I can throw out all the products.

I can, you know, slice and dice
my platform and put a whole

bunch of like tack on options.

But if they don't actually address
anybody's challenges or needs,

That's such a clueless approach to,
to trying to scale the business.

So luckily Corey and Bart said, no,
you know, we kind of recognize that

from both a CX perspective and also a
business health and growth perspective,

we need one person that kind of.

Is under the spotlight and you know,
we have your, their, our thumb on

that part of the business and they're
responsible for making sure that thing.

Now it's a very cross-functional role.


I'm collaborating super closely with the
marketing team, with the CS team partner.

I mean everybody.

Um, But at the end of the day, right,
when somebody's looking at, okay,

where are we against revenue goals?

I have to be able to speak to
why things are the way they are

and what we're doing about it.

That's great.

Warren Zena: So you, you had the benefit,
by the way, if I don't mind asking you,

what, at what stage were you at Yeah.

When that decision was made, if you
don't mind, like from a revenue a r

r, like what, what was your revenue
level at the, at the point that you.

Very wise CEOs decided to make this

Jacqueline Rousseau- Anderson: decision.

Um, I dunno if I'm allowed
to say exactly, but under 50.

Yeah, roughly.

We were under 50.


Warren Zena: Fine.

That's, that's great.

That's, that's very common.

I'm, I'm thinking that was probably the
case and I asked that question and I,

I appreciate, you know, you can't be
specific, but it, your answer is exactly

what I wanted to hear is that, you know,
what we're seeing, and I suspect you

agree with this, is what happens with, uh,
companies is I look at it like they, okay.

So I can, I can make it
like personal on this.

We, we just bought a.

And you know, when you buy a
house, particularly like an old

house, you know, you sort of have
to make it your own house, right?

And so there's things you have to
do and invest in, in stages, right?

There's the things you need
when you first move in.


And then there's the things
you're gonna want to have later.

And there's also other conditions.

It's, you know, things we can do quicker
and things that we can afford now.

And then things that we can do later.


And then there's also the time that
is required to do these things.


There's a lot of factors that go into it.

And building a home or renovating a home
is very much like a company in that you

have to do things at the right time.

Right in the stage.

And I think that similarly to kind
of keep the analogy is if I know that

there's like a longer stage, bigger
renovation that I need to do that's

gonna have impact on a lot of other
things, then it, it should have an

impact on the decisions I make today.


So I'm thinking ahead and I'm planning
it out, but when does it happening?


A lot.

I could see how this can happen in
my situation is you sort of end up

with the kitchen that you built as
opposed to the kitchen that you want

because now you're sort of stuck with
the kitchen that you built, right?

You know, you, you sort of mm-hmm.

Get comfortable with it.

Like, all right, you know, it
doesn't have the island in the

middle and the refrigerator could
be bigger and I don't like whatever.

But you know what the cost and time
associated with and disruption associated

with making the kitchen that we want,
we're just gonna have to live with one.

We have, and companies chug
along with the kitchen that

they have, and Eve eventually.

That kitchen, it doesn't work anymore.

It can't produce enough food for the noun
of, you know, mouths it needs to feed.

And then they come into
a really bad problem.

And so the companies that I see succeed
really well understand that those things

are sort of an inevitability in the way
companies grow, but they're smart at being

able to make decisions to pivot out of
those things and make the right decisions.

And they, most of 'em don't.

And what ends up happening is
things like we talked about in the

beginning of this, which is, you
know, it does make sense at this.

To have somebody oversee
the entire revenue function,

cuz that just makes sense.

The level of complexity that we've
reached at the company right now

requires more integration and alignment
and it needs somebody to oversee it.

But Steve and Bob, or you know, Jackie
and Mary are gonna fight because one owns

sales and one owns marketing, and I just
don't know who's gonna win that battle

and I'm not getting in the middle of it.

Someone gonna let them figure it
out and they don't figure it out.

What they do is they come
up with some sort of.

Or structure that accommodates both of
their respective survival requirements.

And you end up with half
a kitchen, you know?

And I think great leaders just say,
look, I don't care about those things.

I need my customers happy, and this
particular structure or arrangement

is going to get the best outcome, and
I'm just gonna have to make some big,

bold decisions to make that happen.

And the ones that do
and know what they're.


It's painful, it's not easy, but you
get there and your company seems to

have figured out a way to advance you.

They found the right person who knows how
to do this had the right skillsets, and

they put you in a position to do this.

So what were some of the disruptions
and things that had to be managed?

To move you from that position
into the, from the position you

had to the position that you're in.

Like, I love my, my, my audience loves
to hear these transition stories because

they're going through this stuff.

They're trying to figure out
like, how do I move into the role?


With all the disruptions that occur.

Kind of almost related to that renovation
analogy that I gave you before.

Love to hear about that.


Jacqueline Rousseau- Anderson:
First of all, great analogy.

I think that's spot on.

Um, and second.

I mean, disruptions are core and never
ending in, in a scale up or a startup or

any part of the business in these days.

Uh, so I think before even addressing the
specifics of this situation, it's making

sure that as a leader, you know, as a
C E O, you've put together your C team.

Smart, flexible people who are
skilled, but also are there to

make the business successful.

And I think that's where a lot
of those trade offs can happen.

So, I mean, to be completely transparent,
when, uh, Corey and Bart first approached

me about moving into the CRO position,
I was a little hesitant, right?

Like I said, I'd never had a
career path set on being a CRO.

And I'd been in the CCO role
for about a year, and we had

made a ton of great progress.

I loved my team.

I was super proud of the
work that we were doing.

I loved being in the
trenches with customers and.

I also felt that we still had
quite a bit of work to do, right?

To kind of get to the vision of
where I had seen us going in when

I agreed to take the CCO role.

And so there's a reflection
point that comes as like, oh.

Like, I see why the business needs
this, but also it's hard, right?

It's Molly Graham's letting go of your
Legos, uh, across the scaling, and

you're like, all right, I gosh, yep.

I gotta give, I gotta give away this Lego.

But it, it was hard.

And so I did soul searching.

I had lots of conversations
and I guess, I don't know if.

You know, a personality flaw or
strength, I guess depending on the day.

I'm committed to making the company
and everybody in the organization, we

call ourselves the blue crew, and I
adore every person in our blue crew.

So I knew that this was the right move to
make, to set the company up for success.

So I moved over and.

It was a little bit, you know, it wasn't
like great everything on day one and

when I move into the revenue organization
is, you know, I cut cords, everything

that was on my brain and I was doing
moved off to somebody else's plate.

We kind of defined a transition period and
we said, okay, for the first three months,

Here's what I'm gonna begin to transition
off to other people in the organization.

Maybe here's some of the priorities
that we're just gonna have to let go of.

And then here's the way I'm gonna
start to get ramped up and figure

out what's going on over here.

And I was.

You know, clear, and we were clear
with our board too, that, you know,

we really needed the first half of the
year to fully kind of reset and, and

understand what we were doing as part
of the organization, but especially

during the first 90 days, right?

I needed to get into the weeds of
how things were operating, what

was going on, all of the pieces
of the puzzle to understand what

was there and what wasn't There.

And doing that, and also trying
to, again, let go of the Legos that

I had on the customer org side.

But also support the team, right?

Cuz I didn't wanna walk away from
my leaders on that side of the

organization and kind of leave them
to feel like they were hanging.

So it, it wasn't clean, but
it was a lot of communication.

And then to circle back to my initial
point, that's when having those.

Leaders and hiring fantastic people
from the director level on up is so

critical because if you have the right
people in all of those roles, they're

gonna jump in, they're gonna help out,
they're gonna flag things that might

fall through the cracks, and then you
just kind of triage them as as you go.

That's great.


Warren Zena: like what, what you're
saying it's really helpful is a.

Populating your leadership team
with people whom have a flexible

relationship to leadership, right.

They're just willing to do
what it takes to mm-hmm.

Make the business work and as opposed
to being territorial, like holding their

piece of the pie or whatever it is.

And that's hard.

It's really hard.



That's competency.

That's like finding people whom from
day one know that I may call upon you.

You know, it's like the Godfather.

I may call upon you one day to, you
know, do something, but you know, it's

in the best interest of the business.

And you know, of course I'll, I
want your feedback and your input

to check if I'm right or not.

But if it's required, everybody needs
to sort of figure out that their places

might switch around here, but it's in
the best interest of the business, right?


And the second thing you said too is,
you know, kind of preparing for, and

this is somewhat self-serving here,
but you're speaking to, what I refer

to and you maybe know from listening
to me, is the c r o readiness part of

the whole thing, which is making your
company ready for achieve revenue.


That's really what we're
talking about right now.


We're, we're creating a new
position that's gonna have a,

like cross-functional oversight.

It's very disruptive.

So you mentioned something that
I think is really important.

I'd love to find out out more about
this cuz this is the area that

we're looking to help people is.

Getting ready for the chief revenue
officer and like we put this

person, we put Jackie in this job
and you said it very articulately.

Now you gotta like, like learn things.

You gotta learn like what's going on.

You gotta have access to stuff and
you have to be able to assess it and,

you know, know what it is and then be
able to optimize it or figure out how

much of it is not good or what's bad.

And it's mostly data and right.

You know, how did you do that?


Like what was the methodology and
the process that you took to become

smarter about what was really
going on that allowed you to then

be able to be ready to start?

Implementing whatever you wanted.

How did you do that?


Jacqueline Rousseau- Anderson: so,
um, luckily we had a ton of reporting

and data in the organization already.

Um, and as you know from my
background, uh, data and analytics

is, you know, my happy place.

So, What I did was kind of, you know,
do a debrief with the kind of team

on, okay, where, where are things?

What are we doing?

And then I basically created a
research plan and I said, okay, here's

all the things that I would wanna
be able to look at, you know, from.

You know, new business rates,
conversions, what's our mql, ql, S A

l, conversion rates, what's the timing?

What does it look like across reps,
verticals, industries, every single thing.

Um, and basically created a laundry
list of reports that I would need to

see worked with the business ops team.

Um, and also had to work with them because
the way that I wanted to look at data and

some of the reports that I wanted to look.

Weren't necessarily how management
had been looking at them before.

So we had a ton of reports, which
were really helpful, but they

weren't all through the lens of how
I would wanna look at the business.

So I kind of had to, you know, take a
step back and I was like, I know we have

a lot of historical data, but I wanna
look at it in this way because I need

to answer these business questions.

So, It literally created a sheet of
here's what I'm trying to sell for and

here are the ways that I need to look
at the data in order to get to that.

And then I spent weeks in, um,
spreadsheets and analytics just going

through it and then work to create,
you know, a bottoms up plan for the

business for our 2023 budget that I felt
was actually reliable and that I could

stand behind and that whole process.

Helped me figure out like, okay,
here's the gaps that we have.

Here's where we have, you know, um,
maybe a bunch of renewals coming up.

So we have an opportunity over
here in this particular part of the

business, but you know, maybe we
aren't running as many events this

year because of marketing spend.

So how does that impact that
whole conversion cycle and

play all the way through?

So it really was a data and analytics led.

Initiative and then conversations
across marketing with the c e o,

with everybody to say, okay, here's
how I'm thinking about things.

How does this jive with what you're doing?

Um, and back to the CMO
perspective, I mean, we very

much had to be in sync, right?

Because their goals about creating
the pipeline that is gonna

feed this plan, we had to be.

Thinking about the
numbers in the same way.

We had to be speaking the same language.

And I work with a fantastic cmo.

I don't even wanna say his name
because then somebody might

try to reach out and grab him.

But he, he's done this a couple times.

He's phenomenal to work with.

And you know, we came to an agreement
of what we were looking at and

dealing with, and we just stay
in lockstep on making sure that.

Both the assumptions that we built into
that initial plan are holding, and then

if something changes, then we need to
make adjustments and understand like,

is that a me adjustment because now
I need to condense my, uh, conversion

rates on the back end of the deal?

Or is that a you assumption
and impact because.

Actually, it's taking things longer to
get through from stage one to stage two.

How are we gonna impact that?

And it's a constant trade off and
back and forth to make sure that we're

still narrowing in on the same end

Warren Zena: targets.

That's great.

Really great.

So you didn't need any third party help.

Uh, you did this all yourselves.

It was all your own internal
methodologies and stuff.

You utilized your.

Internal resources to do this analysis,

Jacqueline Rousseau- Anderson: right?


And we have, um, so we started
a partnership with Vista Equity

Partners back in January of last year.

So luckily we have them as a
partner too, to kind of check it on.

And they have some great benchmarks
that we can use around, you know, how

do our conversion rates look compared
to others in the business, or, you know,

what are the profiles of successful
reps that they're seeing across other.

Um, they have kind of frameworks and
screenings that we can use, but if you

don't have those skill sets in house
right then, You absolutely should look

for partners that you trust, and I think
also be realistic about the CRO that

you are thinking about bringing in,
which is relative to your CEO and the

other parts of your leadership team.

So if you have a CEO who's
super commercially focused

and maybe has a pension for.

Sales, then you might need a
different profile of a CRO.

If you don't have somebody
who is as commercially strong,

maybe your CRO needs to be, you
know, more commercially focused.

So I think that's important
too, is just to be.

Brutally honest, which not
everybody is good at, right?

Of understanding what your own strengths
are and weaknesses as a leader,

but also within the organization.

If you don't have a great biz ops
team or you know, you don't have

the in-house data, then you need
somebody else to kind of help you

figure that out and and be a resource.

And I think sometimes people shy away
from that because they don't want to.

Maybe admit the parts of their
business that aren't as far along

structurally as they should be.

Uh, and so they shy away from so much
easier to work with consultants or

anybody if you're true about what you
have to work with and what you do.

Warren Zena: Yeah, that's so true.

That's so true.

So I like what you said before, it's
really important is there's a, like,

almost like a leadership profile.

The people who are in place and
they have strengths that need to be

reflective of the type of c o that you
bring on that has to be the right fit.

You know, because I think
the initial feeling is in a

blank slate is that mm-hmm.

You're gonna hire some really
commercially brilliant c o which obviously

makes sense cuz that's their role.

But you're right.

If, if you have a CEO who's really strong,
You probably need someone who's a little

bit more analytical to fill that slot up.

I mean, I'm not like you,
you and I are opposites.

I, I'm less the analytics and data person.

I'm more the, you know, business
leader, you know, vision person.

Um, and so, you know, I know
like I think the key is here.

And we're sort of, right now, you
and I are speaking to like, let's

say, two different people in this
one part of this conversation.

That is CEOs looking for chief Revenue
officers and people who wanna become Chief

Revenue Officers are two key constituents
that are following this podcast.

On the CEO's side, it's know thy self,
what type of CRO is gonna compliment

your leadership style best, and to your.

Be honest about that.

Like what really is it?

Like what are you not good
at, and what are you good at?

And be willing to be really succinct
about that because if your ego takes

over and you're not willing to be
succinct, you're probably gonna bring

in somebody that isn't a fit and.

That's not good.

And then the second thing is, if you
are a CRO, and I, I tell this, you, you

wanna become, and I tell this to my,
my clients all the time, is understand

the profile of the leadership team that
you're gonna be plugged into, and make

sure that your skillset stack is a fit
for the company that you're going into.

And there's no duplication or
redundancy or conflict, right?

Because if you're a superpower, Is
gonna be in any way impeded by somebody

else's desire to want to use that thing.

You're not gonna be
useful there, you know?

So I guess that's sort of, I want to go
with the next part of this conversation

is what would your, and we kind of did
it already, but maybe expound on it.

What's your advice to.

Two people that the CEO looking to hire
a chief revenue officer, let's just

say for the scenario's sake, they're
at the same kind of, well, you know,

20, 30 million in revenues and they're
ready to make that sort of jump to that

more scalable and aligned organization.

What are the, what key ways, key
criteria or uh, methodologies or ways

you should be thinking about how to bring
on a Chief Revenue Officer first ceo?


Jacqueline Rousseau- Anderson: For a
ceo, I would say what we were talking

about being, you know, brutally honest
about yourself as a CEO and the rest of

your leadership team in what's truly.


So why is it that you need a CRO and
what do you hope to get out of that role?

Um, I think that one that is crystal clear
and then from there you can kind of create

a profile of what you think that person
should bring to the table and be like.

Um, the second thing I would recommend
is, you know, ensuring that you are really

thinking about a cro r and not an SVP of
sales because, You know, back to your,

like one of your first comments, right?

There's a lot of mix up and
what is a cro r o really?

And you don't need a CRO if
you need an SVP of sales.

This is two different things.

So you could be transparent with somebody
coming in and say, listen, I'm trying

to fill this SVP of sales right now.

Oh, I need you to get
this sales house in order.

And then, you know, I want
to pass this to a CRO.

Or you need to make sure
that you've structured for.

You know, that VP level of leadership
across your teams and allow the

CRO to really focus on the business
of driving and owning the, the

revenue strategy for the company.

Um, and then also I think for a
lot of, you know, maybe founder led

or earlier stage companies being
realistic on the readiness to.

Take feedback from the CRO, right?

Like do you want the CRO just to say you
have the c r o, or are you open to them

telling you that you need to change the
go-to-market strategy, or that you need

to make changes to whatever you know,
software service product you're selling?

Are you ready to give up?

The pricing method that you, you
know, cried in a back room building,

you know, some late night when
you were building up the business.

All of those, like more, uh, intangible
readiness factors that as a CEO,

especially if you're a founder, CEO,
you need to like, get real honest

with yourself how many of those
legos you're, you're willing to let.

Warren Zena: Really great.

Thank you.

So now I'm a CRO, or I'm aspiring one.

Let's say I'm having SVP of
sales and I'm tired of it.

I'm ready to get take on your role.

I wanna own the whole thing.

In your view, what's the way that
someone should approach that role?

What's the right.

A someone who's running a sales
organization, which frankly, and

I know you and I probably would
agree, this is not necessarily a

good thing, but 90% of the people
that become CROs are from sales.


Um, and I think we agree that's
probably not the best thing.


Cause you, you're proving clearly
that it might not be, but.

What would a, uh, head of marketing
or head of sales who wants to

be a CRO be thinking about as
they approach the marketplace to

become a Chief Revenue officer?

I think

Jacqueline Rousseau- Anderson: doing
the same kind of self-assessment on

what are your strengths and weaknesses,
so what is it about this mythical CRO

role that you think is gonna fulfill
you in a way that your job isn't?

And then, You set up best, right?

Making sure that you vet the opportunities
that you're going after, that they align

with that because you know, especially
if you're somebody who's coming up in

your ranks and trying to make it into
the C-suite, if you take, if you move

from, you know, some other role into
the CRO role, and let's say you were an

SVP of sales and the particular CEO that
you're going to work with wants a more

analytical and maybe operational CRO

if your superpower and your magical
ability is to be phenomenal in closing

deals and structuring a new business
team or doing whatever, and that's not

fulfilling what the CEO know wants, you're
gonna feel like you're failing as a CRO.

But what is actually going on is you're
failing in that particular expectation of

the CRO profile for that particular c e o.

And you know, especially for women, you.

I've coached so many women who are
trying to kind of make their way up in

different organizations, and I have to
constantly remind them that it's, it's not

that you failed being the thing, right?

Whatever it is, it's that that wasn't
the role for you in that context.

That doesn't mean you can't be a
great SVP of sales somewhere else,

a CRO, like whatever you're trying
to be, but you kind of have to be

realistic about how much of that was
your skillset for the role versus.

Your skillset compared to the expectations
of that particular role profile.

And that's a big, big difference.

That can sometimes send people
spinning, quite honestly, for a while.


Warren Zena: so, so astute,
and you're so right and you

have to find the right partner.


I mean, it's like any long-term
committed relationship, right?

I mean, yeah.

You know, some people.

Have two marriages, one ended horribly,
the other one is ma massively successful.

So obviously it was, you know,
you need to find the right partner

to, to, to fulfill on the way in
which you were able to participate

in that particular relationship.

And you're right, uh, you know, the,
the main thing I see happen with Chief

Revenue Officers who don't make it is they
come out thinking like, you know, well,

Natalie only, they think it was their
fault, but the CEO always blamed them too.

Oh, it was the wrong person.

God, I can't believe I hired this idiot.

It was like, no, we.

The person was actually incredibly
qualified, just wasn't right for

your company, and you didn't know
that you, you did a bad job of

assessing the person properly
because you took a great candidate.

And put them into a non-winning
situation and then you kick

them out and blame them for it.

And you know, this is a very common thing.

And so what happens is people come
out of these CRO jobs, like they're

all beaten up and they don't want to
take the next one because they look

back at, at the experience, they're
like, why would I wanna do that again?

It's like, well, look, you
just picked the wrong partner.

What did you learn?

What did you learn from that engagement?

That you could bring to
the next opportunity.

There's probably 10 additional questions
that you have now that you should

ask that you could take from that
experience, and you'll probably get

a lot better opportunities, right?

There's no like, like dating, you
know, I mean, you just, you figure

out how to like vet things better.

And I think that, you know, what I try
to tell my CEO clients is it's not about

finding the perfect candidate, it's about
being the company that's ready for one.

And the reality is, if you're not,
no one's coming in here to fix you.

It doesn't work that.

You've gotta be ready.

You gotta know what you're looking for.

You gotta have the right understanding
of your environment and you gotta

know how to find a person that's a
good fit and make that person win.

And I, I'll repeat some things I say.

You have to have, you have to be
able to willing to give the c r o

the autonomy, the authority, and the
runway and the resources to succeed.


And if they have those four things, Those
things don't just come because it's magic.

They come because they're a fit and that
those things can, you can afford to give

them to that person without concern that
it'll knock the ship over, you know?


And when you put a stressor on a
CEO that says you have to give the

person these things, they're gonna vet
them a lot differently than if they

don't have to give them those things.

So it's almost like you up the
level of commitment level that

they have to take, and it forces
them to be a lot more scrutinizing

of the kind of person they hire.

A lot of times, unfortunately, these.

They, they're trying to fill 'em as
quickly as possible, you know, and they

make some very superficial decisions.

Oh, he had a job at the other
company that I liked so much,

or our competitor liked him.

You know, it's not the right
reason to hire somebody.

I mean, it might be, but you know, no.

How about just doing a
competency assessment of your

organization and match it up?

That's a tough thing.

So I think CROs.

Need to be a lot more battle worthy
than CEOs do because they're the

ones going into the buzz saw.

So anyway.


I love, love this topic.

So anyway, I wanna kind of float here.

So what I want to before we close up
is, I know when you and I spoke pre, the

pre-conversation is I know there are a
couple of things that you're particularly

passionate about in the role that you
have, and I wanna make sure that I

have an opportunity to address those
so you can get a chance to talk about.

Um, you know, what, what would be like
a topic that hasn't been touched on

on this conversation yet that you just
would love to expound on a little bit

that you feel is important to you?

Uh, I

Jacqueline Rousseau- Anderson: think
one, you know what we were talking

about with e p E, so the expertise,
partnership and empathy that we

bring to all of our interactions
as a way to really reframe sales.

Um, you.

I mean, CROs are kind of like CMOs, right?

I think the last Sta I heard
was, you know, the average CRO

is in seat for about 18 months.

So yeah, it's about that.

Yeah, I, uh, I just hope that, you
know, if I'm granted 18 months, if I'm

granted more than that, that when I
leave, you know, At least sales won't

have, you know, maybe such the, um,
stigma as it does sometimes today.

Like, I want to leave the industry a
better place where customers feel like

they can truly be honest about what
they need and feel like the providers

that they're collaborating with are
there to help them get that done.

And you.

That goes back to not just
having a different profile.

I will never be, you know, the
maybe typical salesperson who

walks in and is, you know, chatting
up the whole room and, you know,

trying to cut deals here and there.

But what I will do is listen and ask
really maybe qu more qualitatively

research driven questions to a customer.

What is it that they're trying to achieve?

Um, because especially so our space
and customer data platforms, it's

a transformational technology.

So, you know, you're going through
a major SaaS implementation and the

more honest, open, and transparent
our customers are with us.

During the sales process, the
better we can devise solutions

for them on the backend.

But if there's no trust upfront, then
you get through the sales process and

a customer's like, oh, but I forgot to
tell you that we actually need to connect

these three other marketing systems.

And I also forgot that one
of those contracts is going

to expire in three months.

And so everything has to be connected,
you know, before that happens.

And so then our teams have to
react and they're super frustrated

because you've gotta condense like
a four month project into six weeks.

And the customer is super
frustrated cuz they're like,

why can't you do what I asked?

And it's like the whole
myth is perpetuated again.

It's like, well, cuz you as.

Salespeople were saying, well,
you weren't transparent with us.

And they're saying, you know, that's
because you sold me something.

That wasn't what I expected.

And so again, if it's, if it's six
months, 18 months, if it's five years,

I just, I want people to say that.

Sales chief revenue officer, whatever,
could be a career for me because I'm

passionate about helping customers.

So that's one of the, one of the
things that I'm super passionate about.

And also making sure that, you know,
access to revenue roles and you know,

especially new business sales roles
where there's a lot of upside if you do.

That shouldn't be limited to a
certain type of typical profile.

Um, and like I said, I certainly
never imagined myself in any kind

of sales role growing, growing up.

And I feel like there are a lot of people.

Um, there's one woman that
I mentored who was similar.

She's like, I don't have a sales profile.

And I was like, well, can
you do these five things?

And she's like, yeah, I love those.

I'm like, great.

You are gonna be a phenomenal salesperson.

I'm like, let's.

Talk about how you put this into action.

So I think that that's important and
I think it's really important that we

introduce that to people, especially,
you know, non-traditional profiles

earlier in their careers to give
them a shot and an exposure to that.

Warren Zena: That's great.

Love it.

And I'm agreement, I think that the
sales culture that you speak of, in

my opinion, I mean, if you share the
opinion, I think it's getting worse.

And the reason why I think it's
getting worse is because, Companies

have adopted these mass messaging
and automation processes, you know,

SDR groups and automation platforms.

It's just too easy to just spam huge
groups of customers or prospects now.

And um, I also think the growth at
all costs, sort of cultures mm-hmm.

That have pervasive in the last
five or so years have resulted in

deploying these sales strategies.

Are so counter to customer
experiences that it's so wonder

people are sh turned off.

You know, and I, I talk about this a lot
and um, a lot of the people in my, you.

Universe or ecosystem are very
pro SDR groups because they are

SDRs, they run them and stuff.


And I don't wanna single them
out, but it's, that's a, I think

it's a symptom of the issue.

The SDR group, it's a, it's an outcome
of an effort to try and do whatever

we can to get as many people inside
of a funnel as humanly possible.

Because I think people have lost the focus
on, well, how do customers feel about.

You know, like, I dunno if
anybody asked this question.

I, I don't know if they do.

And, and I think it's incredible
to me and as a result, and I

think you agree a hundred percent
with this, is companies that do.

They have a great opportunity, I
mean a huge opportunity cuz it's

refreshing for customers these days to
go, wow, that was a really nice sales

conversation I just had with somebody.

Mason's really giving shit about me and
you know, that's really bizarre, you know?


I'd learned that could
make a big difference.


Because let's face it, a lot
of the products and services

in the SaaS industry are.

Competing with other ones.

There's other platforms
that do the same thing.

They're just, you know, minor, you know?


Little differences and stuff.

So the differentiators aren't
necessarily gonna be features.

They're gonna be more like the way you
go to market and the way that you talk to

people because it's, yeah, it's, people
are hiring you at the end of the day.

So I just think it's great.

Your, your, uh, your passions,
your, your focus on those

things are very similar to mine.

I mean, I started this
business for the same reason.

I think that Chief Revenue Officers
are critical because, They look at the

whole thing and they, they move away
from the sales function as a single

spear that's targeting the market all
the time and looking at more the way.


You surround a customer with the
right sort of experience so that you

can build value and the organization
shares information about that customer.

So anyway, I really appreciate that.

So how can people get in touch
with you and tell us a little bit

more about what you're doing and
some of the things you're up to.

So, you know, if anybody wants to reach
out to you, you sound like you coach a

lot of people, you mentor a lot of people
and talk about a little bit about your

business and um, let's make sure that
you get a little opportunity to get a

little bit more, you know, exposure on

Jacqueline Rousseau- Anderson: this.


So, um, LinkedIn, um, LinkedIn,
Prova, it's Jackie r a or you know,

find me Jackie Russo Anderson.

Uh, Jackie Blue

Shoot me an email.

I'm always happy to chat, especially
with folks who are thinking about

this path or having questions.

Um, wanna talk about, you know, building
their skills as a consultative seller.

Uh, or if they're already phenomenal
consultative sellers and they

wanna work in an environment where
that is appreciated, uh, just

reach out and I would be happy to

Warren Zena: chat.

Well, great.

I learned a couple things here.


So thank.

I mean it.

I mean, I did, I got one really great
insight I got on this conversation was.

The profile of the CEO e o needs
to match the profile of the CRO.

And even though I thought about it,
it's the way you articulated it,

had me think about it a little bit
differently, and I appreciate that.

Um, and the other one was really
insightful is the revenue part of the CRO

role doesn't just affect the way people
hire them, but it affects the people

that they interact with on customer side.

They think they're dealing
with a sales leader.

And that's, that's a really great
insight and it's one that CROs need

to be really mindful of, is that that
perception precedes them and they have.

Responsible for it.

They can't just ignore it.

They have to understand that that's
probably what's going on and they

have to speak to it so they can work
through that instead of just like

being perceived as someone who's
gonna try and, you know, get a deal.

And that's a really good insight.

So thank you for that.


Um, and thank you for being here.

This was a great conversation.

I loved it.

And, um, Uh, hopefully have a chance
to speak again and, um, thank you so

much for taking the time to talk to me.


Jacqueline Rousseau- Anderson: anytime.

Happy to come back.

Happy to chat.

Happy to chat with anybody
who needs a support group for,

you know, CRO identity crisis.

Uh, reach out and I would love to

Warren Zena: connect.

Alright, great.

Well, well, thank you.

Do Customer-Centric RevOps Leaders Make Better CROs?
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