Recruitment Insight

How to avoid your CRO leaving your SaaS / Tech Company

Embracing CRO Turnover: A Growth Mindset for SaaS Startups

In the dynamic world of SaaS startups, Chief Revenue Officers (CROs) play a pivotal role in driving sales and growth. However, studies reveal that the average CRO tenure is relatively short, often leading to them being dubbed the ‘C-level ejection seat.' In this blog, we'll explore the reasons behind this turnover, its impact on SaaS companies, and how embracing a growth mindset can turn this challenge into an advantage.

Understanding the CRO Turnover

Studies indicate that the average CRO tenure in SaaS startups ranges from 1.5 to 1.9 years. This short tenure can have significant consequences for the company, including disruptions in leadership, delayed hiring processes, and potential setbacks in fundraising rounds.

Reasons for CRO Departures

Several factors contribute to CRO departures in SaaS startups:

1. Unrealistic Sales Goals:

High revenue targets and unpredictable sales cycles can create immense pressure for CROs, leading to early exits.

2. Change of Direction:

Startups often pivot their products or strategies, and CROs might not align with the new direction or lack the experience to navigate the changes.

3. Headhunting:

CROs may be lured away by attractive opportunities from headhunters, especially if they face challenges or obstacles in their current role.

Adapting to Early Growth Stages

To combat CRO turnover in the early growth stages, consider the following strategies:

1. Delay CRO Hiring:

Avoid hiring a CRO until your company reaches a more mature stage (around £10M-£20M ARR) with predictable revenue targets.

2. Align Sales Goals:

Ensure that sales targets are realistic and achievable, and provide necessary support like Rev Ops, sales enablement, and coaching.

Embracing a Change in Mindset

Adopting a growth mindset can help SaaS startups turn CRO turnover into an advantage:

1. Recognize Stages of Growth:

Map out the different growth stages of your company and understand the expertise required at each stage.

2. Be Prepared for Change:

Accept that your CRO needs might evolve with your company's growth. Be ready to hire a new CRO or promote from within as needed.

Hiring the Right CRO

When hiring a CRO, consider the following:

1. Fast Growth Demands:

If your ARR is growing rapidly (150% or more), hiring an experienced CRO early can help you manage the scaling process effectively.

2. Specialization:

If you have distinct sales, accounts, and customer success needs, a CRO can manage these departments efficiently.

3. Graduating Veterans:

Consider promoting experienced senior sales leaders to the CRO role if they are ready to take on the responsibility.

Working with a Specialized Recruitment Firm Partnering with a reputable SaaS executive recruitment firm can streamline the process of finding a winning CRO for your company. They can identify candidates who fit your vision, mission, and current needs, ensuring a better chance of a successful hire with a longer average tenure.


CRO turnover is a common challenge in SaaS startups, but it can be managed effectively with a growth mindset. By understanding your company's growth stages, aligning goals, and making strategic hires, you can navigate this turnover and leverage it to your advantage. Embrace the changing dynamics and find a CRO who will contribute to your company's long-term success. Together, let's turn the CRO turnover challenge into a superpower for your company's growth and success.