Chief Commercial Officer: Definition And Responsibilities

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 28 September 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Companies often employ executives to oversee the strategy, execution and team management for different areas of their business. One of these that might help with marketing, sales and commerce initiatives is the chief commercial officer. Learning more about this role can help you identify if pursuing it might be right for your career path.

In this article, we define a chief commercial officer and share key details about the role to help you create a CCO CV, like the education requirements and common responsibilities.

What Is A Chief Commercial Officer?

A chief commercial officer is an executive-level position that people sometimes call a chief business officer or CBO. Companies task this person with strategising to determine their commercial strategy. This includes how companies might sell products, where they might sell them, how they could market them and what services they might provide. They often work with other executives, like the chief executive officer and chief technology officer, to understand business goals and provide ways a company might reach them through commercial sales.

Related: What Does An E-Commerce Executive Do? (A How-To Guide)

Importance Of A CCO

Although not all organisations have a CCO, they can be a crucial component of a company's c-suite. Their primary responsibilities focus on marketing activities and strategies, thinking about how they can best promote and sell the products or services they offer. Often managing a team of vice presidents or directors, these leaders help to share their marketing visions with teams so that lower-level employees can implement them appropriately while overseeing budgets and long-term planning for the organisation.

This role ensures a company can have a dedicated leader for marketing and sales initiatives rather than other executives focusing on them. They often represent the company at events or communicate with consumers to understand commercial needs while communicating these to internal teams to improve their performances.

Related: How to Become A Senior Marketing Executive: A Guide

Requirements For Becoming A CCO

There are several key requirements if you hope to pursue this profession:

Education

Many companies require at least a bachelor's degree to become a CCO. This might be in marketing, advertising, business administration, or a related field. Some companies might hope you have a degree or coursework in a particular industry. For example, publishing companies might hope you have a degree in publishing to understand the industry standards that can help you determine new strategies and oversee implementation.

Other companies may require a minimum of a master's degree to start this position. Because it's such a high-level role, higher degrees of education can show your specialised knowledge in your unique field. For example, board members or other company leaders may hope to find a CCO with a higher degree in digital marketing to improve their online presence.

Related: What Does A Front Office Executive Do? (Skills And Salary)

Experience

Experience can be an important factor when companies hire a new CCO. These roles often require several years of experience in leadership with proven success in areas like marketing, account management and sales. Some job descriptions may list over ten years of experience for these roles. You might also need experience in pricing strategy and implementation or channel management. Companies might consider the experience in a particular industry essential, while others might consider new perspectives from other industries.

Related: What Are Top Management Responsibilities? (With Positions)

Skills

There are several important hard and soft skills a CCO might need to excel in their role:

  • Leadership: As an executive, these professionals often manage teams with many employees in their hierarchy. Leadership skills can mean ensuring teams understand their strategies and stay motivated while the CCO may perform tasks like holding status meetings and conducting performance reviews.

  • Marketing: There are many areas of marketing a CCO uses in their role, including branding, advertising and campaigning. Although they might not perform specific tasks, like label design, they determine the strategies and review the implementation plans that teams might create.

  • Financial management: CCOs often see the higher-level budgets for marketing team tasks and wages and ensure that they can meet their expectations within budgets. This requires a strong knowledge of finances, including financial reports, budgeting and reviewing projections.

  • Negotiation: CCOs might also oversee the strategic partnerships that companies employ for marketing campaigns and activities. Negotiation can be a key skill here to ensure companies get the rates they need to stay within their budgets.

Related: What Is A Non-Executive Director? (What They Do And FAQs)

Responsibilities Of A CCO

A CCO has several key responsibilities at an organisation. Understanding these can help you match the responsibilities on your CV to the job descriptions to help hiring managers notice you over other candidates. Consider reviewing each job description and matching your experience closely to the qualifications and tasks they want you to complete, as these can vary for each job. Here are some of the key responsibilities you might include on your CV:

Managing people

People management is an essential part of a CCO. They might have professionals reporting to them, such as a VP of marketing, director of marketing or commerce director, to manage different parts of their organisation. The CCO might have team meetings to discuss strategies and goals while hearing how each different member of their team plans to implement these. In a traditional hierarchy, these teams may have managers and several employees on the teams to reach their goals, so there might be many people working under a CCO.

CCOs also participate in the hiring of teams from leadership to ground-level employees. They might interview people or help create job descriptions to create roles that can help them reach their goals.

Related: What Is An Executive Director? (Skills And Career Advice)

Analysing

CCOs often analyse large amounts of data and relevant information to determine how they might strategies and manage their teams. For example, they might review market trends, competitive figures and sales numbers to learn about their performance and what they might change. Analysis might also mean understanding different commerce strategies in the industry that can help them better envision a plan for their own company.

Strategising

Strategising is a key responsibility for most executives, including the CCO. This means thinking about how companies might operate in the near and distant future to reach their goals. For example, they may determine that they want to invest in new technology and website design to improve their branding, web analytics and e-commerce tools. These strategies often coincide with strategies that the chief executive order sets and align with any technology or operational strategies a chief operating officer or chief technology officer sets.

Related: What Is Strategic Planning And How To Do It In 6 Steps

Goal setting

There are many different goals a CCO might set. Since they primarily focus on marketing and commerce strategies, they might set goals like increasing engagement or more website visits. With their high-level goals, teams then decide how they might reach them. They might also work with sales goals, determining how particular marketing strategies might influence sales figures. For example, they might say they want to increase ad clicks by 20%, which can generate $2 million extra in revenue annually.

As part of their people management, CCOs might also set developmental goals for their teams. These can include skills they want their teams to develop or concepts they want them to learn. For example, they might select online leadership courses they want their directors and managers to complete.

Similar Roles

There are other similar roles to the CCO you might find in an organisation:

  • CEO: The chief executive officer is often the top executive at an organisation. These professionals often determine the company-wide strategies and goals that they hope teams to fulfil.

  • COO: The chief operating officer is an executive that focuses on the internal and external structures and operations of an organisation. They might focus on logistics like budgets and resources, helping businesses improve their processes over time.

  • CMO: Some companies might have a chief marketing officer to manage the marketing initiatives. Rather than larger commerce strategies, they might only focus on areas like marketing campaigns and advertisements.

  • CSO: A chief sales officer is an executive focused on a company's sales goals and initiatives. They might determine new sales strategies, evaluate new demographics they hope to reach and set goals that teams can reach for different time periods.


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