In this episode of Selling the Cloud, we are joined by Paul Melchiorre, legendary Silicon Valley Chief Revenue Officer at leading SaaS companies including Ariba and AnaPlan.
Over thirty years, Paul has had the change to be a part of industry leading, high growth companies beginning with SAP where Paul was an early executive for their entry into the North American market.
Paul then in 1998 joined Ariba, an early market entrant and ultimately the acknowledged leader in indirect procurement automation. Paul experienced a unique journey in early stage, venture backed companies by staying at Ariba for over 15 years, including being the Global Sales, Services and Partner top executive for the majority of that time.
Paul shared why, in the Chief Revenue Officer (CRO) role that being responsible for marketing, sales and customer success is a critical element for success. Several reasons that this is so important is that the customer lifecycle has been changed by the SaaS industry, including the growing importance of existing customer expansion revenue in the evolving "Land and Expand" customer acquisition model.
The growing trend of Product Led Growth (PLG) as a customer acquisition motion will continue to increase the importance of an integrated approach to customer acquisition, retention and expansion. This need for an integrated approach to the customer lifecycle is further highlighted when up to 50% of revenue growth is generated by existing customers.
Paul also shares how investing in himself, including earning his MBA in Finance in the middle of his career journey was critical to being a well rounded, CRO that could build credibility with the CFO.
Paul further explored how PLG also impacts the need for product management to become a more integrated part of the revenue generation team.
Another variable discussed is how the stage of the company impacts both the CRO role and the profile of the CRO. Being able to identify CRO's that have hands-on experience in both early stage, Product Market Fit (PMF) to Minimum Viable Repeatability (MVR) and then from MVR to Minimum Viable Traction (MVT) to true scale is a hard find, but more CRO's like that exist in 2021 than every before.
If you have just become a Chief Revenue Officer or have the aspiration to become a CRO in a SaaS or Cloud company, this is a great listen.