There has been a lot of talk about the rise of the Chief Customer Officer role amongst the Customer Success communities I’m part of.
It’s been a hot topic over the last twelve months and many senior Customer Success professionals see that as their progression path.
For those that haven’t come across the role just yet, the Chief Customer Officer can best be defined as the person to solve lasting customer problems, build a long-term competitive advantage, retain loyal customers, and create a strategy to help increase profit from customers.
They are the person that sits on the C-suite and provides a thorough customer perspective in executive decisions and increase lifetime value and profitability of customers.
It’s a role that I’m still learning about : )
So, how much is this role really being adopted? The numbers from LinkedIn suggest it’s slow going.
There are 3,836 professionals listed Globally with the Chief Customer Officer title on LinkedIn as of today (14th February 2020).
1,677 are based in the US and 363 in the UK.
There has been an increase of 15% in role growth over a twelve-month period. The UK on its own stands at 25%.
The average UK salary for a CCO is £103,000 + £27,000 bonus/variable.
As a comparison, there are almost double the amount of Chief Revenue Officers Globally and role growth was at 22%.
CRO is still a relatively new role and is biased towards sales despite being positioned as owning all revenue. Does this suggest companies still value winning new business more highly?
If we did deeper, I was surprised to see tech companies don’t feature well in the list of top companies employing CCO’s.
Only SAP feature in the top ten employers of CCO’s Globally.
The rest is made up of the large Marketing Agencies, Financial Services, and Retailers.
I would have expected to see some of the larger tech companies feature such as Adobe given the size of their Customer Success operation.
Clearly B2B SaaS companies are behind the curve!
Whilst I understand that many SaaS companies may not be at a growth point that requires a CCO, many of the larger companies deliver the majority of their revenue from account expansion yet have not appointed a Chief Customer Officer.
A CCO would seem crucial to achieving that aim.
What Backgrounds do CCO’s Come From?
I attended the #CSMLDN20 event a few weeks back and heard a very enjoyable presentation from Chris Haggis on his journey to becoming Chief Customer Officer at Triptease.
One of my takeaways was around gaining as much exposure to different customer sets as possible, from SMB to Enterprise in a broad range of roles.
Looking at the current CCO’s within SaaS very few have moved directly from Customer Success. In fact, it’s a real mixed bag with backgrounds as VP of Sales through to VP of Product.
The two consistent themes I noticed were most candidates had already gained a C-Level role prior to their current CCO position and most had worked in multiple customer-facing functions.
As it stands, there aren’t too many CS professionals that have moved directly into a CCO role and this may partly be down to the wider adoption of the role within SaaS companies.
Customer Success was born in SaaS and is still a relatively new career path. It would seem the most natural path into CCO position in SaaS in my opinion, but candidates will need to bring a broad range of skills to the table to secure a role.
It’s a trend I’ll be keeping a close eye on in 2020!
It will be interesting to see how the role evolves and how widely adopted it becomes.
If you would like to discuss any Customer Success related topics I’d love to hear from you.
Contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org and we can set-up a call.