Navigating the Pitfalls: Understanding Why CROs Often Fail Within Their First 18 Months

Meeting with the CRO

Without a Solid Marketing Foundation and Strategy, Chief Revenue Officers (CROs) Face Challenges in Implementing Sales and Marketing. Hiring a Sales-Growth Advisor Can Help.

Companies who hire a Chief Revenue Officer (CRO) to drive a company’s growth and revenue generation want results sooner rather than later. However, a significant number of CROs face an uphill battle in their endeavors and often exit before the 18 month mark.

Much of their struggle stems from the absence of a well-established marketing strategy and foundation when the CRO came on board. There are three primary reasons behind the frequent pitfalls encountered by CROs. Below, we’ll look at those and also talk recommendations to fast track the strategic groundwork needed for successful sales and marketing execution.

1. Lack of Strategic Foundation

CROs often face significant challenges primarily because they step into their roles without a robust marketing strategy and foundational framework. This lack of a clear roadmap leaves CROs tasked with executing sales and marketing tactics without a comprehensive plan, leading to inefficiencies and missed opportunities.

One specific roadblock arises from the absence of well-defined audience segmentation. Without a solid marketing strategy, CROs may struggle to identify and target the right audience, resulting in resource wastage and suboptimal campaign effectiveness.

Another hurdle is the undefined value proposition. The lack of a clear value proposition, which encapsulates a compelling overview of a product or service’s unique value, hampers the CRO’s ability to effectively communicate the company’s unique selling points. This makes it hard to differentiate the brand in a competitive market. The lack of a compelling narrative can hinder overall success in revenue generation and growth.


  • Conduct a Comprehensive Marketing Audit

Prioritize a thorough assessment of existing marketing efforts to identify gaps and opportunities.

  • Collaborate with Marketing Experts

Engage with experienced marketing professionals or consultants to develop a strategic marketing plan that aligns with the overall business objectives.

2. Execution Without Strategy

Ever hear of putting the cart before the horse? CROs frequently find themselves in the position of having to implement sales and marketing tactics without a well-defined strategy. This lack of strategic direction leads to a fragmented and inefficient approach to revenue generation, making it difficult for CROs to achieve targets and produce tangible results.

One consequence is inconsistent messaging, which comes from not having a coherent marketing strategy. This inconsistency confuses customers and negatively impacts the overall perception of the brand, making it harder to gain a foothold in a competitive market. 

Additionally, the absence of a strategic plan invites the risk of resource misallocation, both in terms of budget and personnel. This can result in suboptimal outcomes if resources are not effectively utilized, hindering the overall effectiveness of sales and marketing efforts. Having a well-defined strategy is essential to avoid these problems and make revenue generation more effective and efficient.


  • Develop a Comprehensive Sales and Marketing Plan

Collaborate with marketing advisors and internal teams to formulate a detailed plan that aligns with the company’s growth objectives.

  • Prioritize Strategic Alignment

Ensure that sales and marketing tactics are closely aligned with the overall business strategy, fostering a unified and purposeful approach.

3. Insufficient Focus on Foundational Marketing

CROs encounter additional difficulties when fundamental marketing elements are not properly established. These foundational aspects encompass key elements like brand positioning, market research, and customer segmentation, all parts that make up a functional, powerful sales strategy.

One challenge arising from the absence of foundational marketing efforts is the undefined customer journey. Without a solid understanding of the ideal customer, there will be a lack of clarity about the customer’s path to purchase. The result? An ineffective sales funnel.

Moreover, weak brand recognition is another consequence of a deficient marketing foundation. Without a robust base, the brand may struggle to gain visibility and recognition in the market, which adversely affects customer trust and loyalty. Just as a strong foundation supports the entire building, a well-established marketing base supports and enhances the effectiveness of sales efforts, providing a reliable structure to scale business growth.


  • Invest in Brand Building

Allocate resources to build a strong brand presence through consistent messaging, visual identity, and customer engagement initiatives.

  • Prioritize Market Research

Conduct thorough market research to understand customer needs, preferences, and behaviors, forming the basis for targeted and effective sales strategies.

To Sum Up:

Effective CROs can drive sustainable growth, but their success hinges on acing foundational marketing elements. Recognizing the importance of a well-defined marketing strategy and building a strong foundation empowers CROs to execute precise sales and marketing tactics. 

Collaboration with marketing experts and strategic planning provides the necessary tools for effective revenue growth. Hiring experienced talent, like a marketing consultant or revenue-growth advisor, is a way to quickly develop a blueprint covering key messaging, competitor analysis, customer profiling, and a robust go-to-market plan. 

Not having the foundational work done has been a pitfall for more than one CRO. Craig Group can be an ideal partner for new CROs, helping them to go to market with a data-driven plan that works.

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