Who Is Leading Your Growth Strategy?

by Debra Andrews | November 24, 2021

That’s a question few people would have asked 10 years ago. But if you head up a growth-minded company, you have to be able to answer that question with clarity.

Companies with aggressive growth goals can’t afford to leave their growth strategy to chance. Now more than ever, the only way to ensure you have a well-conceived and well-executed strategy driving your growth is to have a highly qualified, deeply experienced professional dedicated to this function.

Increasingly, that’s the Chief Growth Officer (CGO). If you’re wondering whether you really need another C-suite role, and how a middle-market company can afford one, read on!

The Purpose of a CGO

CGO serves as your company’s growth catalyst. This cross-functional role bridges functions that are key contributors to growth—including marketing, sales, product, and customer service—but which often operate in silos. The CGO works closely with each group to ensure they have tightly aligned objectives and outcomes.

For example, the CGO is responsible for developing a marketing strategy based on your unique value proposition and executing on that strategy to maximize revenue growth and customer retention. They analyze customer interactions and market trends, monitor buyer behavior, develop customer loyalty and retention approaches, leverage technology to deliver sales and marketing insights, and ultimately ensure the customer receives the value your brand promises.

You might be thinking, “That all sounds good! But if we didn’t need a CGO to do these things before, why do we need one now?” It all comes down to the internet.

Why You Need a CGO Now

Companies used to have power and control over a buying cycle that progressed in a linear fashion. It was marketing’s job was to build awareness with buyers, and it was the sales team’s job to connect those buyers with the company.

Now buyers control the journey, it takes a non-linear path, and they’re usually far down the funnel before they engage with sales. To generate predictable revenue, you need to build an effective funnel and nurture buyers through it. That means working more collaboratively across functions and breaking down traditional silos. Because if you’re not clear about who is in the funnel, where they are in their buying journey, and how you can move them along that process, you’re losing a lot of sales opportunities.

Enter the CGO. It’s the CGO’s job to ensure all the functions that can drive growth are working together seamlessly to facilitate the buyer’s journey, ultimately culminating in a sale.

Now you’re probably thinking, “That all sounds good too! But how can a middle-market company like ours afford a CGO?”

Enter the fractional CGO. Much like a fractional chief marketing officer (CMO) allows you to hire a slice of a highly experienced strategic marketing professional, a Fractional CGO gives you a slice of an experienced growth catalyst—someone who owns the role of driving growth and can bring together all the disciplines needed to make that happen.

Related Resource: Chief Growth Officer: Description and Overview

The Difference a CGO Can Make

Perhaps the best way to illustrate the impact a skilled CGO can make is to share a SaaS company’s journey in bringing on a Fractional CGO.

This SaaS company initially contracted with Marketri for strategic marketing planning and fractional marketing services. Marketri first developed a strategic marketing plan that set a foundation for attracting the right customer profile into the funnel, using an effective content strategy to nurture them through the funnel until they became warm leads that could be passed on to sales for a product demo.

But many of the qualified leads that marketing-generated were going stale in the pipeline. While a demo is a strong indication of buyer intent, leads weren’t always ready to buy right away. The sales team would mark the demo as lost and close the account. But this is exactly when sales should be knocking on marketing’s door to stay top-of-mind for the prospect. This creates a closed-loop cycle that continuously meets the needs of the buyer where they are.

Marketing and sales lacked alignment, which meant SDRs spent their time chasing cold leads rather than going after MQLs (which are much warmer leads) that could use a sales touch.

The Results

The client asked Marketri to expand its role and serve as the company’s Fractional CGO. The new CGO then got to work aligning everyone involved on how the revenue funnel works and what their role should be in keeping buyers moving through it. Now, it’s clear that:

  • Marketing is responsible for bringing the right type of customers into the funnel and nurturing them with the right type of content to turn them first into a Marketing Qualified Lead (a buyer that’s expressed interest) and then a Sales Qualified Lead (a buyer that’s ready to be contacted by sales and is in good position to buy).
  • Sales development is responsible for quickly engaging with these warm qualified leads one-on-one, lending a face to the company. During that phase, marketing continues to nurture these leads with content that keeps them moving down the funnel.
  • The account teams are responsible for picking up opportunities from sales, setting up demos, and turning these hot leads into closed sales.
  • When they need more nurturing, sales can recycle those leads back to marketing.

With better alignment and role clarity, the Marketri CGO next turned her attention to plugging up the pipeline leaks by instituting a closed-loop process. Typically, account reps were marking warm leads—buyers who had shown intent—as “closed” after just a few unsuccessful touchpoints. A re-engagement campaign was developed to move these dormant leads back into a marketing workflow, where they could be nurtured again and turned into closed sales. There’s even a “ghosted” section of the funnel to re-energize buyers who had ghosted the company after expressing interest.

It’s All About Fast, Impactful Results

In just six weeks, the Fractional CGO had aligned the team on how a predictable revenue funnel works, provided clarity on their roles in the buyer’s journey, and created a closed-loop process to ensure leads don’t become dormant or leak out. Now the SaaS company is on track to meet its quarterly revenue goals for the first time since COVID-19 hit.

After this early win, more improvements followed.

  • Product teams used to promote new features only to current clients—a big lost opportunity. The CGO is helping prioritize features that can be sold as new products to new customers and directing marketing to build engagement, momentum, and compelling collateral.
  • Customer service teams used to be tasked with cross-selling into the largest accounts, but without support from sales or marketing. The CGO is now championing a cross-functional Account-Based Marketing (ABM) program that equips these teams to cross-sell effectively and gain a larger share of the pie.

If you head up a growth-minded company and you don’t have someone dedicated to leading your growth strategy, you’re not likely to achieve results like these. While many companies hire an in-house CGO, a fractional model can be a great way to gain a competitive advantage with a closed-loop sales and marketing cycle.

Marketri offers Fractional CGO services that drive aggressive top-line revenue growth by helping you close more new deals and cross-sell more services to your current customers. Contact our CEO Deb Andrews for a free consultation!