Why a Chief Revenue Technology Officer Is the Next Seat at the Table

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All things are created twice. First, we mentally create a vision of what the thing should look like. Second, we bring the idea into being by creating a physical representation of it.

Stephen Covey called this principle “Beginning with the end in mind.” And it’s just as true for sales and marketing as it is in any other setting — the building follows the blueprint; the outcome follows the strategy. 

In an increasingly digitized and tech-enabled climate, how can forward-thinking marketers and executives apply this principle to strategy and outcomes at their organization? The first step is bringing someone to the leadership table who knows how martech, sales tech, and revenue tech all work together — and when to apply them. 

The Chief Revenue Officer of yesterday needs to be replaced by a Chief Revenue Technology Officer — someone who enables cross-functional planning by understanding the true feasibility of marketing and sales tech stack at every stage, including goal setting, strategy, and execution. Here’s why.

Effective Goal Setting Requires Identifying Tech Upfront

Setting sales and marketing objectives before identifying the technology to enable them is like trying to bake a cake by looking at a picture instead of a recipe. You know what you want—you may even have the right ingredients — but you have no clue how to get there. But at least it looks good in a powerpoint presentation, right?

Too many sales and marketing leaders are focused on setting goals based on business outcomes alone, never giving a second thought to whether their current technology enables them to measure those goals effectively or at all. While many organizations have already transitioned to a digital-first strategy, they’re reluctant to adopt a technology-focused approach to goal setting.

A Chief Revenue Technology Officer (CRTO) is a must for any organization serious about effective OKRs and objectives. According to the Wall Street Journal, “companies pursue digital-first marketing transformations to become faster, more customer-centric, and more data-driven.” 

Having a CRTO or designated tech-minded leader involved from the inception of planning will enable sales and marketing teams to have clearer goals that lead to more effective strategy.

How Tech Informs Strategy 

Which comes first, the go-to market strategy or the enabling technology? This question has befuddled marketers and sales leaders for years, with many fighting in favor of either side. While this question can seem like a classic case of “chicken and egg,” the reality is anything but black and white.

How to avoid this conundrum? Hire a CRTO to help your company avoid this outdated way of seeing the problem by recognizing that your tech and strategy should work and be developed in tandem with each other. 

By focusing on tech-led strategy, you’ll be sure to have the data, coverage, and insights to acquire the audiences you want. By focusing on acquiring strategy-led tech, you’ll ensure that you can feasibly leverage the necessary tactics to execute the strategy well. 

The bottom line here? A data-led strategy is key for leaders wanting to level-up their marketing and sales efforts.

Outcomes Depend on Effective Execution

Effective execution is the culmination of everything we’ve discussed above — system-focused goal setting, technology-led strategy, and the importance of involving a tech-minded person (like a CRTO) from the get-go. Even the best strategy can fall flat without the right team, the right tech, and the right timing for execution.

Why is it important to have a holistic approach to execution when it comes to tech and strategy? Without it, companies risk falling into one of two scenarios.

  1. Companies who focus too heavily on strategy and not enough on execution are left without a clue of where to start to actually implement their plan.
  2. Companies who implement new technologies first can get tunnel vision by focusing on the tech alone and start implementing new ideas without any strategic vision in place.

Successful execution requires the strategic balance of both strategy and technology — something only a CTRO can provide. Without it, teams are working aimlessly or without direction. With it, they can unlock their full potential.

Reframing the Role of CRO

One of the largest barriers preventing strategic marketing plans from being activated is lack of perspective from the get-go when it comes to wielding technology and data. Why is this? It simply hasn’t been a priority before — a recent survey found that “one in three businesses don’t have a board member primarily responsible for data and analytics capabilities.”

Reframing the role of CRO into that of CRTO can fill this gap, ensuring that there is strategic oversight with technology from inception, to planning, to execution. At Inverta, we focus on helping companies build great marketing strategies. Learn how we can help you at the intersection of strategy and technology today.