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What makes a successful Chief Revenue Officer according to Takumi’s Adam Williams

What makes a successful Chief Revenue Officer according to Takumi’s Adam Williams

To succeed in a business environment that’s clouded in uncertainty and driven by disruption, organisations need leaders that can think beyond their one function or department – they need leaders that are agile, fast-thinking and multidimensional in their approach.

And the perfect example of a modern, multidimensional leader is the Chief Revenue Officer (CRO). Designed to disrupt, the CRO brings together the traditional sales, marketing, finance and product team functions to capitalise on new revenue opportunities.

To find out more about this exciting and increasingly common role, our Managing Director UK for Morgan Philips Executive Search, Stuart Packham, caught up with Adam Williams, the CRO at Takumi - a leading Instagram influencer marketing platform designed to maximise opportunities for creators and give brands and agencies access to the best creative talent, and their online communities.

Takumi works alongside over 4,000 influencers throughout the world to deliver impactful Instagram campaigns for some of the world’s biggest agencies and brands, including Pernod Ricard, Nike, Coca Cola, Visa and Estée Lauder. 

Watch the video or read some of the many interesting insights Adam had to share below: 

A multidimensional approach that connects all the dots together

While the primary goal of a traditional Head of Sales or Sales Director role is to lead the sales department to success, the role of Chief Revenue Officer is much more multidimensional, says Adam. 

“It’s looking at what the actual future revenue strategy of the whole entire business is,” he says, rather than focusing solely on the sales function. 

Adam suggests businesses ask themselves: “What other services can you do? What other products can you evolve? What else can you do with the rest of the business and departments?” 

For this type of thinking to come into action, Adam highlights the need for greater communication across departments. 

“None of us are a success if none of us are talking. It’s all about making sure we’re communicating on a weekly or daily basis to work out how we improve, and also, when we’re listening to our clients, what can we then use to translate into the rest of the company.” 

It also means having less red tape and a better overview of the company as a whole, he points out. 

“You can actually make decisions on the fly much quicker without having to get too much bureaucracy involved.” 

“And for a client, I think it means coming up with a much better product, and also something that evolves much more quickly to answer their needs.”

Spearheading the leadership revolution

An effective CRO is solutions-orientated and has the ability to make decisions quickly, says Adam.

“You’ll find a load of different problems or challenges that you need to answer,” he points out while also highlighting the need to be open, honest and transparent with both your teams and with your clients. 

“You have to be able to deliver what you say you can deliver,” he says.

Another crucial aspect to the role is the ability to change people’s view towards traditional revenue streams. Recounting one of his earliest experiences at Spotify, where he acted as Managing Director UK and Benelux from 2013 to 2015, Adam says one of the challenges was to help the business understand the opportunities around other digital assets besides audio ads.

“I don’t think it was a particularly hard thing to do, because the business was so innovative anyway and it wanted to try new things,” he says. 

“But it took a number of different stakeholders to go through that process, and to get the product team to build it, because most product guys wanted to build the cool, sexy music listening part and not the ad platform.”

The rise of agile leaders in the tech sector 

New senior leadership roles are coming out all the time, but there’s no denying that the tech sector is leading the way, with Chief Knowledge Officer, Chief Artificial Intelligence Officer and Chief Behavioural Officer just some of many titles that have made an appearance in the last few years.

Asked what’s behind this sudden need for these new titles, Adam responds: “I think it’s quite often because there are new businesses with completely new business models - but also, people wanting to do stuff differently.”

“It’s driven by the capacity or the demand for people to do multiple things. So actually, if you are doing multiple things, you end up having to have a different title because you’re not just doing revenue or you’re not just doing product, and so then it’s about people evolving into those different types of roles.”

To find out more insights about effective leadership in today’s modern world of work, get in touch with our team of executive search experts today.

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