CRO Spotlight

How do you prospect in a declining market? Prospecting is evolving. Top of funnel pipeline creation is essential to enabling growth but the strategies that worked yesterday need to change in order to be successful in 2023 and beyond. 

During this episode of the CRO Spotlight Show, Warren is joined by Mike Schumann, who is the CRO at Revenue Base and has spent the last decade as a revenue leader for venture-backed companies. Mike shares his background and how he became a CRO.

Main Takeaways from the Podcast:
  • The ideal CRO should be a steward of revenue and functions that participate in revenue generation from marketing, sales, customer success, etc.
  • They need to be a steward to the CEO and watch out for the company's interests
  • The CRO should possess strong business acumen, high technical skills as it relates to reporting and metrics, and professional skills
  • Professional skills refer to being a steward of people, setting a tone for the team, and being of service to the company
  • A successful CRO should bring energy to the team and help the people around them level up their games
  • When interviewing a potential CRO, the ideal candidate should possess incredible personal and professional skills, be a great leader, a great coach, and a great visionary
  • Technical skills can be taught, but professional skills are more about who you are, and a CRO who lacks professional skills can make people uncomfortable and suck the life out of the team.
The conversation also delves into the balance between technical expertise and leadership qualities, with the Mike advocating for the importance of the latter. 

This episode is brought to you by Growth Forum - sign up for 30-days free, use the code: GROW30

Growth Forum is a place to Connect, Learn and Grow. Launching February 2023 Growth Forum has a new prospecting program to help Sellers take control of their pipeline. 

The program is usually valued at $2500 but if you sign up to Growth Forum now you will receive access to this program for free!

What is CRO Spotlight?

Visit for 30-days free of The only community focused exclusively on your growth. Use the code: GROW30

Are you a CRO looking for insights and ideas from your peers? Are you a Revenue Leader with aspirations to become a Chief Revenue Officer? Are you a CEO looking to appoint a CRO to scale your business?

Welcome to the CRO Spotlight podcast, a weekly show featuring insights from Chief Revenue Officers, B2B Revenue Leaders and CEOs. Hosted by Warren Zenna, Founder and CEO of The CRO Collective, the show goes deep behind the scenes with the people who have been there, done that and have seen the results. The CRO Spotlight Podcast is an open, free-form conversation that digs into real issues that Revenue Leaders and CROs grapple with everyday.

The CRO Spotlight Podcast.

Hi, I'm Warren Zenna, 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 in 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.



Welcome to the uh, CRO Spotlight Podcast.

I'm your host, Warren Zenna.

Um, I'm doing solo today.

Uh, Lu pays out, but I'm
excited because we have a great,

great conversation to have.

I wanna start out a bit first
talk a little about the downturns

that we're seeing, cuz I'm
getting a lot of input on this.

So a lot of my clients and other
people are, as you all know,

are seeing a lot of layoffs.

So, uh, then what I'm noting
here, and I've been talking about

this quite a bit, is the fact.

Most of the layoffs are in
sales, some in marketing.

We're seeing a lot of salespeople
get laid off, and I think that

it's a habit that a lot of these,
um, kind of growth hack based

companies, they overhire salespeople.

They hire these, um, kind of SDR groups
and they double up on their sales

forces, and then when the downturn
comes, they don't need them anymore.

And something off with that.

Because I believe what's going on too
often is they throw more salespeople

at a problem and then they don't need
them anymore when the downturn comes.

And I see this as really a
reflection of the focus that some

of these companies have is on their
sales channel almost exclusively.

And so, you know, I've got a
lot of friends who got hired

like a month, and then after the
month was over, they got canned.

. So, you know, and I, I've been
ranting about this a lot and a lot.

I don't think a lot of people
are not happy about it.

But, you know, I think some of.

, well, we're gonna be
talking about this today.

Some of the growth hacking and
the, the growth at all costs.

Um, mentality of some of these
companies has been so focused

heavily on driving pipeline growth.

And I'm not denouncing the
idea of pipeline growth.

I think it's obviously critically
important, but you know, it comes

sometimes the expense of other things.

And I think to some degree, I think
even the SDR organizations are doing

the job that marketing should be doing.

We'll talk about that a bit.

But what I'm saying is I think that
the key here is if you're from, from a

chief revenue officer perspective, you
have to be looking at your organization

from um, am I bringing out the math?

If I'm, am I maximizing the utility of
my Salesforce and are they efficient?

Are they sufficient for me?

Do I really need more?

You know, sometimes I think
what drives hiring more

salespeople is cuz it looks good.

You know?

I mean, if you could tell you're bored,
you hired more salespeople than the

natural, you know, reaction is gonna be,
well then you're gonna get more pipeline.


You know, there's a quality
versus quantity issue, which

we're dealing with right now.

The amount of spam that I get, I got
a three cold calls on my cell phone,

uh, over the last week, and they were
all pointless, not useful, and so, In

any event, I think that, uh, this is an
important topic we'll get into, but I

wanna introduce, uh, our guest today.

I'm real excited about it.

Uh, his name is Mike Schumann.

Uh, Mike Schumann is currently
the CRO at Revenue Base, which

is a Bessemer portfolio company.

Uh, they help organizations more
efficiently create top line funnel.

That converts to higher
rate to meet revenue goals.

Uh, Mike spent the last decade as a
revenue leader for Rev Venture backed

companies like Sify, our work and Cloud
Fast Path, which is now a box company.

Um, Mike and I talk a lot.

We have really interesting perspectives
on things and we share them a lot.

And I thought it'd be a really good
time to have a conversation with him

cuz he has a lot of thoughts on some
of the shifts that are taking place.

So Mike, welcome.

Thank you.

It's great.

Uh, great to be here Warren.

Thanks for having me.

Sure thing.

So first, if you don't mind, um, we'd
love to hear a little bit more about your

background and what you're doing right
now and sort of like what got you here.

I think a lot of things, what our
audience likes to hear is, so if you're

a C R O, like how'd you get there?

, right?

Because I work with a lot of people that
are sort of trying to navigate that,

so that's always an interesting thing.

So if you don't mind, love to
hear a bit more about that.


So coming out of, um, out of college,
I, I, I really came to sales in,

in business in general, very late.

in my academic career and I, I came
out of college with a very rough plan,

um, after a couple of happenstances
that I won't bore you with.

My plan was I was going to get my street
education in business by being in sales.

For four, three to four years, and
then going back for an MBA where

I was gonna focus on finance to
get my formal business education.

These were like very broad, naive
brushstrokes, but it was the only

plan that I had, but it was a plan.

And part of it really had me focusing
on sales as an extension of my academic

work, where I took it seriously.

I was the guy reading the books,
driving around, listening to tapes.

I watched other more successful
salespeople, figured out what they

were doing and adopted those behaviors.

Uh, but really found myself getting
very comfortable at operating.

With very little resources.

I didn't realize that when I
was hired at this small company,

I was basically cannon fodder.

Nobody cared whether I was successful or
not, and I, I wanted to be successful.

I didn't see myself as cannon fodder.

So every day I, I continued to learn and
grow and I got very comfortable generating

and creating revenue streams from scratch.

So I, uh, threw some twists and
turns after my M B A ended up at a

publicly traded company where I had
launched a new product for them.

They, they desperately needed to show
that they could take their technology and

put it into a new vertical and create a
stream of revenue to try to get the, the.

The share price up and I went into my
first day, I was working directly for the,

the VP responsible for the product and
pulled together a little team internally.

And, uh, nine months later, I
walked into her office and I said,

congratulations, you just generated a
million dollars of incremental revenue.

The sales channels are built and
we're meeting our sell through rates.

And when you do that, you tend to get
people's attention, especially in a big

company that's sort of been lagging.

So I ended up working very closely
with the president and the C E O.

Launching new products or testing products
from outside the US into the us um, market

and creating more streams of revenue.

And my, my wife and I at the time,
were living at where we live now,

which is equally distant between
Harvard and m i t and Cambridge.


. Um, and there were all these
early stage companies and at the

publicly traded company I was.

It used to be a startup and
there were still people in the

halls that had taken that ride.

And I thought, man, I wonder
if I could ever do this.

Like, how good am I really?

Like, can I, could I actually
generate a revenue stream from

scratch in one of these scenarios
where there's no brand equity?

You know, there's a really compelling
solution, but it's causing, people

need to think about the problem
differently and the solution differently.

And I threw myself into the early stage
community where I knew absolutely no one.

I had absolutely no credibility and I just
focused on helping other people accomplish

the things they needed to achieve.

And I really looked at these entrepreneurs
as people that could really do it all.

And what I didn't realize is a lot
of 'em are, while they're extremely

bright in areas that I, I don't
necessarily count as my strengths.

Really selling and understanding how to
build a sales process, sales structure,

and a sales organization to drive, uh,
repeatable revenue that's predictable is

something I'm actually really good at.

Um, and doing that without
very little guidelines.

And then I, you know, SIFY, I was
the first sales hire there, took

them from zero to a million in like
18 months that they're now, you

know, valued at over $2 billion.

, uh, they have a great leadership team.

Much of the credit goes to them
and the terrific people they hired.

Um, I worked myself out of a job
very quickly, um, but was smart

enough to stick around to learn
from a very skilled sales leader.

That took over for me, and I
just kept building and building

and building my knowledge, base,
my skillset, demonstrating my

abilities, until really I earned the.

To take over the, the broad
responsibilities that I have now.

So the way I approached my
career in general was, um, both

my parents were in the Navy.


and, um, I all, I always believe that
if I was going to have the privilege of

captaining a ship, that I wanted to be the
captain, the kind of captain that not only

knew how to do every job on the ship, but
I also know how to work as an effective.

Of a fleet.

So if the build pump on the ship
broke and, and my, uh, you know,

maintenance person was down, I wanted
to be able to repair that build pump.

And I treated sales and revenue
generation that same way all the

way through, up to very complex,
uh, go-to-market strategies and, and

metrics, which is where I am today.

Got it, got it, got it.



That's really cool.

So thanks.

I wanna talk a bit about some of
that stuff cuz you mentioned some

things in there that I'm interested.

I, the first thing I'd like to
know, , like when you think of the

role of a chief revenue officer, cuz
you mentioned you came up through the

sales channel, which most, most CROs do.


and we can, we can talk about that too.

There's an interesting kind
of perspective on that.

But would what, how do
you describe the role?

What's your perspective on the role?

, you know, if you were, let's say,
advising a C E O right, and hiring

a chief revenue officer, how would
you advise them to appoint one and

deploy one to the, to their business?


I think you really want someone who's
gonna be a, a steward, a, a steward

of, of revenue and, and, and a steward
of the, the different functions.

that participate in revenue generation
from marketing, sales, customer success.


really a steward to the ceo.

You know, they need someone who's
gonna be watching out for them.

They spend so much time looking
out for everybody else, well,

who's looking out for them, right?


And by being the machine that can drive
revenue, that enables that c e o to

make the really fun decisions, like
how do we grow, how do we expand, what

new products could we be offering?

Versus like, oh my God, how are
we gonna meet budget this month?

How are we gonna meet payroll?

Like, we're, we're, we're
like dying over here, right?


. So I, I would say it's that mentality of.

Of a steward who, who really does need
to possess not only a strong business

acumen, but they have to have a high
level of technical skills as it relates

to reporting and metrics and other
performance capabilities and, and how

to influence, um, The improvement of
those KPIs, but they also have to have

a high degree of professional skills.

I'm, I'm told that now, soft skills.


, uh, credit, my friend are now, uh, I
should call 'em professional skills.

They have to be a steward of people.

They have to be someone who is of
service who can set a tone for a team.

They're the, they're, they're,
they're not necessarily on the field

as the quarterback of the team.

They're more.

, you know, the, the, the
coach or the GM level mm-hmm.

, you know, they're particularly effective
with it when they can really get down

to that grassroots up, grassroots
level on the ground with the team

in the trench and be effective there
as well, because sometimes people

just need a good example to follow.

Right, right.

And, and I think a successful c R O.

, I think you wanna see that person that's
going to bring energy to the team.

They're gonna, they're gonna help the
people around them really level up their

games in a way where people may leave.

, you know, revenue base.

Like, look, we, we operate from a
revenue team that we are of service

to everybody else in the company.


, like, let's face it.


Most people in an organization are
scared to death of salespeople, . They

don't know how we do what we do.

They don't wanna know what we do.

Like they see us coming and they're
like, oh no, here they come again.

These people are crazy and it's our.

To be grateful to them for the work
they're doing to appreciate what

our colleagues are doing, right?


, you, you wanna have a leader that's gonna
set the tone for the salespeople and

say, look, you're, you're not entitled
to anything y you're actually responsible

for the wellbeing of these people and
their families, and you better bring

that intensity every day to what you're.

. And I think when you do that, it
does set a really healthy tone

for people and, and leads to some
terrific, uh, not only professional

growth, but but personal growth.


So you brought a lot of things up there.

Um, I think it seemed like you emphasized
a lot on the leadership and personal,

or I call them professional skills.

Um, so I'm gonna play a game with you.

Gonna have the conversation
a lot with people.

If you're interviewing A A C O,
a potential one, like you're your

CEO of a company and you're, you're
interviewing a C R O and that particular

candidate, you can tell possesses
incredible personal professional

skills, great leadership, right?

Really motivating great coach,
great leader, great visionary.

You know, someone who, you
know, would, like you said, be

that sort of like professional
steward of the business, right?

But they're not as competent
in the technical skills.

and then vice versa.


Vice versa.

You met someone who was incredible
metrics driven, really data driven

person, really has strong acumen,
but lacked some of those like per

professional leadership skills.

Which one do you think would make a
better or suitable candidate for you?

Yeah, hands down.

The person that possesses those, those
professional skills, because I think that

that in my mind is more about who you.

Versus what, you know, I can
teach you technical skills.

Sure, sure.

I can surround you with enough people to
help you become quite astute in a very

short period of time on some of the, the
key metrics we're, we're looking for.

But if you're gonna walk around
sucking the life out of people,

Yeah, making them uncomfortable.

And you can't preserve a team because
nobody wants to work with you.


Uh, I can't teach that.

And that's a emotion.

You know, I, I had a really
interesting conversation about this.

I, I bring this up for a reason.

I'm really glad you had this,
this, you brought this up.

So I was at a dinner in Utah a
couple weeks, uh, two, three weeks

ago, and we were having this big
conversation about this very topic.

and uh, you know, one of the questions
that come to me a lot are, wow,

this c o role is so complicated.

Somebody has to know sales.

They have to know marketing, and they need
to know how to manage customer experience.

And they have to understand numbers
and they have to be good in metrics.

They have tech abilities and,
you know, who is this unicorn?

You know?

And it's a great question cuz I, I
do know some people whom are really

amazing at all these things, but
they, they get there over time.

It's not like you're not, you don't
come out of the womb that way.


So the point is like,
if you don't possess.

You can't, you don't have
some way to speed time up.

You have to learn those things along
the way, but you still have that job.

So sort of the way that I navigate this
particular conundrum is, Ask yourself

the question is, what are the sort of
endemic, rela, um, skillsets that I

know somebody has to have to succeed?


What are those?


So I think the, the, the initial
thought would be, well, I need

someone who's really amazingly good
at, you know, managing business data.

Because ultimately
that's their job, right?

They need to be able to manage business
data and create more, you know, co

cohesion between different functions
and develop, uh, an ability to read

the tea leaves and have strong business
acumen that based on that, , but then,

you know, they think about it and
they're like, well, you know, if I'm

gonna hire a CRO in the way that you
and I are proposing, which I think we

obviously were in agreement that they
have to be somewhat like a more of a

leader of a lot of different functions.

It's really critical that person
understands how to manage people and

drive, you know, I mean there's a
lot of problems associated with that.



You gotta manage up,
you gotta manage down.

So this is the sort of, I'm leading
up to a bit of a punchline here.

So the way that I sort of described it
is, um, uh, I could delegate technical.

I can hire a rev ops leader who's
amazing at this, and that person reports

to me and I can give that person a
really clear direction and over time

accumulates some knowledge about it.

I can find someone who's
really good at marketing.

I can put somebody in in charge of
marketing who's a genius at marketing,

and I can manage that person's
outcomes based on them my direction.

I can't delegate leadership.

I can't have somebody
else be the leader for me.



You can't, you have to do that yourself.

Hundred percent.

So you think about the thing you can't
delegate, that's the thing that you have

to do and give it, given its importance,
you have to do really well at it.

So I'm, I'm in agreement with you,
but I, the reason I bring this up is

because while I haven't had any, had
anybody argue this point, the problem

I'm seeing in the marketplace is that
when people go to interview for a

COO job, they're not looked at that.

That way they're actually looked
at for the skillsets that they can.

So someone would say, for example, a great
leader would walk in the office and they'd

go, yeah, yeah, he's an amazing person.

My God, he really would be great
on the team, but eh, you know,

he really doesn't really have a
strong sense of data management.

Let's find somebody else.

And so they end up sort of doing
the thing, I think that they look

at as more, um, um, what's the word?

Maybe more of a.

, an immediate, superficial need in.

Um, and they, and they sort of do it at
the expense of someone who can really

manage things really well, you know?


and, and I think that that's why a
lot of CROs have a hard time getting

the job for the first time is because
they have to earn their stripes.

by doing certain things, and then
they find out later on that it's

the way someone actually operates
and it actually is, is, is gonna

ultimately be more important.

So I I I, I don't wanna get into it
too much, but I think it's a, it's an

interesting topic and it's one that I have
a lot, so I, I'm glad you brought that up.

So another thing that you and I
talked about as a topic here is,

and you mentioned already is.

You know, this shift that's taking
place in the market right now.


This whole growth at all costs sort of
mentality of the SAS-based or, you know,

subscription based businesses is really,
was very successful for a long time.

That's how unicorns get created.


You know, these companies, they just build
multiples and multiples and multiples

and they're able to scale, scale, scale.

And um, this is the conundrum and I
kind of wanna get into with you about

this because there's two reasons
businesses are created, right?

One is to serve customer.


And the other one is to make money.

Now everybody wants both, right?

Everybody wants ha, happy customers
and a profitable business.

Of course they do, right?

And there, there are some.

But I think the thing is,
is what is the context?

You know?

Is your business built because you
want it to scale and grow and get

more like a higher valuation, right?

Or do you want it to be, you
know, increase its stock price?

Or do you want to create an outcome
for people that's really great and that

they love the product and those things.

Always easy.

You can't manage both of those things.

You know?

They, they don't always work together.

If I'm going for just making more money,
I'm gonna sometimes have to do it at

the expense of the customer experience.

We all know this, right?


And I, and I think what's happening, I
do, I think that it's happening is a lot

of the tools in the marketplace, a lot
of this automation now, The s d r sort

of wave that's going on, these, these
new sort of organizational growth, um,

segment that's being built and all the
subsequent industry that's being placed

around it, it seems to me that it's
sort of hitting peak, you know, volume.

You know, I, I don't know about you
cuz we're probably both around the

same, you know, age and whatnot, just
how many inbound garbage messages

I get through every single channel.

, I am occupied right now.

As I told you, I had three spam
calls from salespeople on my phone

yesterday, you know, and some very
inconvenient places I have to tell you.

And um, so I just wanted to get into with
you, you know, this idea of, of like, is

it really a shift or are people saying
this, Because it sounds good to say, but

back in the back room people are still
doing this stuff because they have to grow

cuz that's what everybody else is doing.

Like is it really changing or
are people just kind of giving it

lip service that it's changing?

I don't, I'm not frankly sure.


So look, I think people are,
you know, becoming more, uh,

acutely aware of the fact that.

You know, it's so valuable to
keep really good customers, right?

We, we've sort of, we've known that people
talk about, well, it's always easier to

keep a customer than it's cheaper to keep
one, than to go out and get a new one.

And, and that's true.

And that's not necessarily, you
know, a great scenario, but, okay.

So that, that is in fact the case.

And, you know, I think that, Like,
let's, let's, let's talk about

like where that starts, right?

And, and I'm not, I'm not, this is
not gonna be a commercial for revenue

based, but I, I think it's one of
the reasons why we, you know, we

started the company is that this idea
of really getting a sense of, does

this person have this problem or not?

Like, does this company have
this issue potentially or not?

Are they sending out the
signals that tell us.

and, and for us to help our customers
do that is yielding dramatic impact

on their ability to drive not only
the volume of the top of funnel,

but the amount that it's converting.


Because we're just talking to the right
people about things they care about.

You know, this idea of the B to C
sort of level of personalization

drifting into the B2B space, I think
is really all about, like all the

noise and crap and poor execut.

That passes as, as, uh, work
in some of these organizations.

And I maybe, I mean, I, I hear you.

I, I don't disagree in
general, but I do think.

You know, I, I, cuz I'm pretty intimately
close with a lot of the people that

are doing this sort of thing, and they
have a lot of tools they're using, you

know, they have a lot of their, their,
their sales stack and their, their

MarTech stack is pretty sophisticated.

You know, they're, they're doing a
pretty good job of trying to scrape

the marketplace and identify their
I C P and, you know, look, we're,

they're gonna get it wrong a lot.

There's no question about that.

We know that.

Um, but I don't think, I guess
what I'm saying is I'm, I'm trying

to understand it to a bit like
how much of, of it is laziness.

and how much of it is that?

In some respects, I think some businesses
are cannibalizing their market, like

there's just not enough people to sell to.

Like they've already blown their
opportunity with the people

that they do wanna sell to.

And without those people being in the
funnel, they have to go reach others.

And so they're sort of like hoping
that they can convert people to think

a certain way as opposed to going out
for the people that they know they are.

I'm, I'm just trying to understand
the, from your perspective.


What's, what, what's going on here?

Because there are some
businesses that have pretty.

Tams, right?

They're, they're big and they have
a lot of opportunities or a lot at

bats, but then there are a lot of
companies who have a niche business

and they have a very small opportunity.

And you know, if you don't go about
it right, you ruin the opportunity

you have with that small audience.

And I'm wondering like, how many of
these calls are emails that I'm getting

are due to the fact that either a,
just really bad targeting, like they're

just lazy and they've somehow made some
assumptions that are wrong about me?

Or is it.

, they've actually already
expunged all the people.

And now I'm like on the fringe
and they're hoping that, eh,

maybe this guy will say yes to me.

Like what, what are your thoughts on that?

Cause I know you guys
are doing this right now.


What are the dynamics you think that
affect this sort of thing that's going

on inside these companies right now?

So, not to be in bad form and contradict
my, my host, but I'll give you, I

know you're, you're smart enough that.

It's okay.

I enough to know that's why we're here.

A little bit of a
different approach, right?


So fundamentally, I don't agree
with the fact that, you know,

that getting it wrong is o it.

I know you didn't say it's okay, but like,
eh, you kind of just, ah, they're gonna

get it wrong some of the time and ah,
they don't really know that ta It's like,

well, I think it's just like anything,
you know, things go wrong sometimes.

I, I, I think when you're dealing
with a large sets of opportunities

in repetition, you know you're gonna
have, like anything, there's gonna.

Some misses.


I'm not saying it's a good thing.

I agree with you.

I don't, I'm not saying
that you should allow it.

I'm simply saying it's a fact.

It's like physics, you know?

Like you, you're not gonna get it
right all the time, but Okay, go ahead.

I'll So, so, so part of our mission is
to eliminate that whole assumption and

that whole level of like, it's okay.


People do need to know
exactly how big their TAM is.

Where are those people?

Where are those companies?

Where are those personas
that we want to meet?


And like the acceptance of things
like bounce rates in the 20 to 40%

we're like, that is not acceptable.


That's, that's not, that's an assumption.

, uh, or a, a, a conclusion that we
just simply don't agree is okay,

like that doesn't get it done.


For us and for our customers.

And then, and then I would also, yeah.


I would, I would also add, you know, gr
I, and I think people did the best they

could with what they knew was mm-hmm.

available, but like the world and
the availability of information

and the technology around.

Uh, when applied in a more effective way,
can yield dramatically improved outcomes.

. Which is, which is what we are doing.

Oh, your supposition here is this, your
supposition here is that, is that because

of the way that we are today and the
world today, the sophistication that we

have available today, there's no excuse.

Like you should be able to get it right.


That's basically what I'm hearing you say.


It's start to get it right.

Okay, I got it.

Right, right.

So then my question to you is this,
cuz I, I, I'd rather avoid getting

into a conversation about your company,
but more about your philosophy,

which is then why is it not right?

In other words, . Everyone has the same
availability, the same technologies and

everything, and everybody wants that.

I mean, I don't think I'd sit
down with any c e O right now

that would say, oh yeah, sure.

I want to get crap in my system.

They don't.

They all want it to work, right.

So what I'm saying is, why is it not?

Is it because they don't
know what they're doing?

Is it like financial pressure?

Is it culture?

Is it technology?

Is it skill?

Is it knowledge?

Like, what do you think
it is given the cause?

I agree with you.

There shouldn't be any reason
why anybody gets this wrong

anymore, but so many people do.

What's happening?


In your view, that's going on
out there, that it's going on,

what's the, what's the reason?

So sometimes I think it's, it's a little
bit of a, Of a, of a mindset around like

cast that wide net, get every deal we can.

Even the ones out on the fringe,
even if they're not a great fit,

like, like let's just like get it in.


This is the vanity metric sort of thing.

Well, I don't know that it's vanity.

I think these are, look, these
are all very bright people.

They're not unintelligent.

They know exactly.

They, I mean these people are,
and excuse me, but many of them.

Much more skilled than I am.

Sure, sure.


I get it.

Are are making some very good decisions
with, with what they know, but there is

this like risk of like, well, should we
just cast the net a little bit wider?

A little bit wider?

Then you're doing that with some people
that you know, these young professionals

that maybe not have been as well trained,
so you're maybe starting sales cycles.

People on the fringe versus like those
people at the core that you really meet.

You know, they have an intense
level of challenges that you solve.


With your solution.

That's like your ideal customer profile.


I would say if you can put more energy
into that, i C P, not only are you

gonna close deals at a higher rate,
but you're gonna retain them all Right.

You're gonna have a chance to expand them.


The, this idea of like, we don't know.

Now, I'm not saying that you sort
of put your blinders on and focus.

If you wanna see what's out in the
fringe, then go run some experiments

that you can actually measure and
execute against to, to run a test.


You want to go to a new vertical?


Go there.

I love that.


Actually, but do it in a very structured
way with a degree of knowledge and don't,

don't rely on maybe your existing team.

To execute that experimentation.

It's, it's gonna debilitate them.

It's gonna demoralize them
if it's not successful.

But if they go into it saying,
Hey gang, we're gonna go out

and we're gonna like, go test.

We're gonna go, we're gonna dive
into the jungle and we're gonna

see if there's a path here.

Got it.


So then you're, you're, you're,
let's say, because I, I hear you.

Let's say you're a chief
revenue officer at a company.

, get your job to, as you say, steward,
make all these things that are going on.


And you know, you're getting a
directive, um, that might sound,

I, I'm sure it happens a lot.

Something like pipeline's
just not big enough.

I'm looking at the system.

I, I did a run at readout of our
Salesforce and we're just seeing, it just

seems light to me, you know, given the,
the metrics that you've provided us in

terms of our close rates and our time
to close and whatever the case may be.

Um, the sales cycle.

We're concerned that, you know, we're
not gonna have enough opportunities in

the, in the pipe in another three or four
months, and I need you to get it up there.

Now you know that you've been following
the philosophy that you've just laid

out, which you, you've been really
targeted and really focused on having

the right conversations, and you and I
know that those take a little bit longer.

You nurture people, et cetera, et cetera.


And someone's basically saying
to look, just increase it.


My board is looking at this and they're
really worried and they have a concern

now that, you know, the pipeline seems
to reflect right, the opportunities we

have in the marketplace and that cascades
towards, you know, some bad returns and

we need you to do something about it.

What's the CROs way to handle
that in your context so that

they can deal with that reality?

That happens a lot, you
know, what do you think?


Um, look, I think that there needs to
be a, a level of understanding before.

, it gets to that point, right?

Once that horse has sort of left the
barn, it's really hard to get it back in.

Like you don't have a time machine, so
you can't go back and start looking at

like, why are we winning some deals?

Why are we losing some deals?

Where, where maybe does this
same issue exist in maybe an

adjacent market like the job?

of the cro O is to be
seeing around those corners.


in advance.



So yes, all of the metrics of what's
happening today, but being fully

aware and, and in lockstep with the
c e o and frankly the board to know,

like where, where we need to get to,
they start seeing pipeline drying up

if their, if their metrics are being
followed and they know their unit

economics and, and all the associated.

Measures around their business.

They should have seen
this coming long before.

. Okay.

Recognizing like there, there's a
challenge, like what do you do about it?

Now look, you're going to, you, you dig
in with your teams and you start relying

on the people around you to see mm-hmm.

, if there's any other insight, is
there anything we should be changing

about how we're going about it?

Has there been some shift, for example,
externally in the market, like we

haven't seen with the competitor?

What, what is, what is it that's
bringing about all of a sudden if

we were doing really well, well,
what is it that's changed and

now as a group, what can we do?


. Yeah, I agree.

So I would, I would lean
on the people around.

So you're, you're saying it really has to
do really with the upfront work that you

do, not the tactical work that Absolutely.


And frankly, I agree with, and, and
frankly, I would say it gets down to

the level, to some of your most junior
people and how they're being supported

and nurtured and how they're, how
they're being, uh, to level up their

professional and technical skills.


You know, I agree.

It's all much about the
framework of setting things up.

And we'll get into this cuz I
wanna just chat a bit about.

Some of the evidence of
how this isn't happening.

And, you know, I see these, um, and
again, I, I, I don't want sound like

I'm demeaning like this whole group
of people because I, I talk a lot

about the SDR thing and you know, the
pushback is, oh, come on, these are great

people and they're doing a hard job.

And, you know, it's a tough thing and I.

Totally agree with that.

Like, I don't have any issue
at all with the people that

are making these phone calls.

I don't, they're just doing their job.

They're being told to do something
and they're doing it and they're

doing difficult job, and they're,
some of 'em are really good at it.

So it's not that it's the, it's
the strategy I have a problem with.

It's the deployment that
I have a problem with.

It's that some of these people are
being asked to make a hundred calls

a day or whatever the metric is.

That maybe was fueling my earlier comment,
which is if I'm gonna make a hundred

calls a day, I know that, you know, a
good point of be people that I probably

shouldn't have called in the first place,
but I have to make a hundred calls a day.

So it's sort of baked into the system
to some degree that I'm gonna do a lot

of misses, but the volume gets the, the
check mark at the end of the day, right?


. And so, so the way that I would like
to walk through something with you

is, so what I counsel my clients on
getting a chief revenue officer job, I

tell 'em the same thing you just did.

I say, look, your job success is
gonna be predicated on one thing,

and that is the agreement that
you have with your C E O and how

you're gonna go to market together.

Because if you don't have that together,
then you're sort of at the mercy

of every whim that comes up, right?


How do you do that, right?

How do you establish it?

So I wanna ask you that question,
so, so you're look at it from

both perspectives, right?

You're a C R O or a C E O.

What's the manner in which you'd
suggest or advise counsel a new c

r o to establish that relationship
so that that doesn't happen?

What's the.

to do that in your I see.

Any the, it's the key element that
has to exist in any meaningful

relationship and its trust.

I think there's a level of credibility
that has to come along with that.

I think there's a level of transparency
and a personal accountability

goes an awful long way, you know?

. It's doing those little
things in the beginning.

Those things that you really can
do as you're trying to get your

feet underneath you as you're
trying to understand the business.

It's overcommunicating and it, it's
really helping that c e o understand,

like, wow, this person really
like, knows what they're doing.

They're looking down the road.

They're buttoned up.

They're, they're giving me, I'm
gonna say like giving me energy

because they're not making me really.

and like have to put in like a lot of
extra work to understand what's going on.

They're, they're actually,
they're, they're making me smarter.




And I think that that goes a very long
way into establishing that trusting

relationship and that healthy dynamic.

Of, Hey, we're not like looking
across the, the room pointing

our fingers at each other.

We're actually sitting next to each other
at a table looking at the same problem,

maybe from different angles, but really
driving to that same ultimate conclusion

that we've all agreed is our objective.

Yeah, I got it.

And so, you know, my a hundred
percent agree, it, it, it, I think

it starts to, the interview process.

, right?

I mean, so again, big conversation to
have with my clients a lot is when you're

looking at a Chief Revenue officer role,
like instead of being in a situation

where you're just trying to get the
job, try and create the job right.

the job that's gonna work because this
is a job that traditionally doesn't

last . Most CROs last about 17 months
or 18 months or something like that.

And that's not good for
either party, right?

I mean, it's a very
expensive failure, right?

For everyone.

Um, and so, you know, I'm, and I'm
in the, I'm in the midst of this

discussion with a lot of my clients
right now, which is what's the

right way to set the foundation up.

To that end, um, this kind of gets into
the conversation about hiring, which

I know you and I have talked about a
little bit too, and the way that CROs

need to start thinking differently
about hiring and, you know, this is

a whole other like big disciplinary
problem we're seeing in the marketplace.

I have more and more friends of mine or
people that I know that are incredibly

skilled at something, but they can't
get jobs because the hiring criteria.

is not looking for the skills
that they have, it's looking for

other things that are different.


And so, you know, people are making the
wrong very, I think sometimes superficial

hiring decisions and they're not
predicating it on what people really need.

So I'm just curious, if you're a c o
and you're in a situation where you're

building your team, what are some thoughts
you have on the way hiring is changing

and the way you need to be looking?


Um, you know, I don't know that it's
really, that it's really changed.

, um, for me, so to, to call it,
you know, how I see it changing.

I mean, look, there's definitely been
this, this, um, this, this shift from

a, it being sort of a candidate market
to a, to a company market, right?

It's right.

Um, you know, people that, that didn't
want to talk to me, uh, two months ago

or now they're, now they're calling
me, they want to talk again cuz

you know, we're hiring up the team.

Um, so I don't, I don't know
that it's really changed for me.

Uh, I would say that one of the things
that I struggle with and, and I hope

the recruiters out there, don't get
angry at me because I know you're

doing what you've been asked, which is
like, I feel like when you're working

with a client sometimes, , like you're
looking for the client to describe the

ice cube tray, and then your job is
to go out and find ice cubes that like

fit into it from a technical skill.

And given sort of my, my background
and, and my mentality as it relates to

people and in general and professionals,
I, I, I just like indications of

people being interested in what
they're doing and committed to it.

Um, when I'm interviewing candidates, I'm
frankly like, I, I've, I've interviewed

some great candidates and when I ask
'em, like, tell me about the latest

like sales book that you've read or tell
me about like the things that you're

doing every day to improve your craft.

And I go, well, you know, I, I followed
this person on LinkedIn and I've like

watched a couple of YouTube videos and
I'm, to me, I'm alright, well, what

have you tell me about the latest one.

You saw it, what'd you get out of it?

How did you apply it?

You know, they're not
invested in themselves.


, and I thought, I think, you know,
geez, I'm, I'm about to like, give

a significant amount of my time
and energy to this individual.

I'd like to be met halfway.

I'd like to be working with someone
who's as, who is as interested.

in themselves as I am mm-hmm.

in terms of their professional success.


And it just sometimes you don't
see, it sounds like that that's, uh,

you're speaking to candidates, right.

Whom are bringing themselves
to the marketplace and how they

should be positioning themselves.

Well, I think it's, I think it's
that, but also, you know, for.

For people that we're being,
that we're asking to help us

find really good candidates, like
we, we give them direction that

Oh, I see what you're saying.

It's not just about the technical Yeah.

Fitting, fitting a box.

You know, I, I talk to a lot of
recruiters and, and the problem

that most of them have, as you
probably know, is that they do bring.

Innovative people or different
types of people to the table.

And their boss goes, what'd you bring me?

This person for this person isn't a fit.

Get 'em outta here.

You know?

Um, you don't know what you're doing.

You know?

Uh, I asked you to get me the square
peg to go into the square peg,

and you brought me a round one.

Get outta my office.

This person is so good.

And I used to have this conversation.

I was working in a big, big
company and they had this, you

know, recruiting department.

They'd say to me, you know,
dude, they don't, they don't

want people that are innovative.

If I, if I bring somebody to the
table that has this specific type

of you, Business skill or this
specific type of personality trait

that I know would be good here.

They look at them and they say, this
person never worked in an agency before.

I don't.

Why are you bringing this person to me?

I don't even wanna talk to this person.

So there's constraints, right?

Um, so I, I, I, it, it's broken.

I mean, there isn't any doubt about that.

I mean, the problem right now too is,
you know, if you put your resume in any

one of these online systems right now,
a bunch of AI bots look at a bunch of

keywords and that's how they get show.

So it's a, it's a robot
that's making a decision.

So, you know, I think there's
two sides of this, right?

One is you have a recruiting layer, right?

Who you've deployed into the marketplace
did sift through the marketplace

for you and bring you back bodies.

I understand that and I know that, you
know, if I'm a small company, you know

I have some degree of control over how
I put those people to market and I can

say, you know, I want you to look for
innovators or I want you to look for

people that can like address these things.

I don't think most
people are that creative.

Most people say, I need a project manager
and I need somebody who's been a project

manager at a company like this that's
worked on projects like this successfully.

Cuz I need someone to
do that for me tomorrow.


I can't afford to like build this
person up over the next six months

cause I need this done tomorrow.

I want someone that can jump right in here
and get into my system and start doing it.

And that's a real need.

I don't think that's a, there's
anything to be said about that.

I think that we're working in an immediacy
based society right now in our industries,

which are, you know, very fast moving.

and, you know, I'm, I'm guilty of this.

I mean, I look for people and I'm
like, I need someone that can, I can

hire tomorrow and they can jump into
my thing and fix it for me, you know?

Um, and I probably am overlooking
people who might be better at it if,

you know, I gave 'em a little bit
more time, but I don't have the time.

So, you know, I'm looking at this,
again, I, I don't wanna give this

new recruiting conversation as much
as, as a chief Revenue Officer, and

I'm saying this again, from that
perspective, you have a lot of people.

Bring together.

You've got marketing people, you've got
sales people, you've got customer success

people, you've got technical people.

So, you know, what's the sort of, I
don't know if there is an answer to this

question, but you know, what's the Cro
o's sort of perspective that needs to

be brought to that conversation when
the CRO wants to build the right team?

Cuz this team is gonna be the way
that that steward is gonna fulfill

on the obligations that you have.


So I think one of the first
things that you want to do is,

you know, rely on the structure.

That any structure that you have in
place, you wanna leverage, right?

Whether it's your head of
customer success, focusing

on their, on their people.

Um, and you're also
supporting them, right?

That first team mentality of really
helping out your teammates internally.

So I think in a way you've gotta
have them sort of shoulder.

some of the, the load in terms of
hiring and you really owe it to them to

give them a structure in which to have
candidates participate in an interview

process that's really well thought out.


It has to be detailed and it's less
about maybe the titles they've had

or the companies they've been in and
necessarily maybe the industries,

but there are other elements.

that you will also want to have on
that scorecard for a particular role.


, but you've gotta do that homework upfront.


in terms of defin.

, like what is a good fit for this position?

Yeah, yeah.

But then also rely on the
structure that you have in place.

Other, other managers or teammates.

I mean, shoot, I've got AEs on
our team now doing role play

interviews with candidates.



It sounds like it's more
like, um, a competency based

approach as opposed to a job.

Approach, which I agree with, and you
have to assess those competencies.

So we're getting close to end here cause
we, you and I can talk for another hour.

I can tell.


But, um, I wanna give you a minute to just
expound on one thing before I close out.

And that is, is this, um, if you
could give a, I'm trying to think

how to do this the best way.

If you could, if you were speaking to
a chief executive officer of a company

that you like kinda look at in the
space that we are in, like a revenue,

uh, like a subscription based or a
SaaS based company right now, and they

were looking to hire their first c R O.

In a, in a minute, what would be
some of the things that you'd say

they need to be thinking about to
appoint their first chief revenue

officer and the approach they should
take before they make that decision?

So I would, I would have them do some
introspection on themselves, maybe where

they see some of their, their gaps.

Um, working closer to strengths,
some areas where they would really

be looking for a partner in crime to.

To collaborate with and then, um, you
know, maybe look at areas where they're,

they have strengths that maybe they don't
necessarily need this person to possess.

Sort of a nice to have, need to have.

Um, I would also say that spends get plan
on spending some time with this person.

, um, maybe consider some type of
arrangement where you're able to

work with them on a contract basis
for a period of time leading up to

the hire, if they're open to that.

It kind of gives both parties the
chance to get to know each other date

before you get married, so to speak.




Um, and, uh, uh, I would say that,
um, you know, understand the technical

skills that you want this person to.

and just ensure that they can either
like, lock that down or have resources

to, to quickly get schooled up on
the areas where they may not have

as strong a, a visibility of, you
know, the technical side of things.

Um, we talked about our, talked about
it earlier, Warren, is this idea of,

I would put a high emphasis on the
professional skills, the leadership

skills, times where they failed.


, where they speak freely about.

. Mm-hmm.

, are they gonna withhold that?

Do they have the confidence to, to
speak to that and articulate like where

they've, where they've won mm-hmm.

despite those, those losses,
like what are they made of?


. Right.

Um, spend some time doing that.

Because it is a very important hire.


It's, it's the, the most important hire.

So all, we're running out
of time, but this was great.

Like I really had really some great,
I hope people find it helpful.

I appreciate you.

Yeah, no, no problem.

I mean, it's a good topic cuz I
think the CROs are being hired wrong,

you know, to be honest with you.

They're not being hired properly.

Um, and your perspective is really
valuable, so thank you for that.

So how can people reach you and, and
what's the best way they can get in

touch with you and what are you up to?

Yeah, so, uh, uh, the best way is, uh,
Mike revenue, um, is my email.

I, I will just say I look, I've been
where people are when they've struggled,

and one of the things I'd always hoped
is that somebody would just take a

minute and listen to me and maybe
help me out a little bit and not just,

you know, dismiss me out of hand.

So I promised myself that if I was ever in
a position to help somebody, I was gonna.

and, um, so I'm, I'm all ears to
anybody that, you know, may want to

chat and, uh, maybe have a, have a,
a, a method of sort of, you know, safe

place to talk and some place to provide
'em with a little bit of support.

Who isn't gonna go around gossiping
about the challenges, who's gonna

more revel in their successes?

So, um, that's probably the
best way of getting ahold of me.

I'm on linked.

, um, it's, uh, Michael j
Schumann is, is the handle.

And, um, you know, I'm, like I
said, I'm just thrilled to have been

here and thanks Warren, and keep
up the good work on your end too.

Well, thank you.

I, there's great conversation
and you brought a lot of really

good things to talk about here.

So thank you very much for your
perspective and your experience.

So, uh, we're signing off Mike Schumann.

Thank you very much and, uh,
looking forward to talk to you more.