Often, when portfolio companies seek their next CRO, they search for the archetype of an “ideal candidate.” This describes a leader who has prior experience in all three of the following categories:

  • Private equity-backed experience
  • Product experience
  • End-market experience

But in a market strapped for talent, PE firms need to be flexible. And there’s no need to sacrifice top quality talent for that flexibility. In fact, limiting a search for a new CRO to this narrow set of requirements significantly reduces the viable candidate pool and overall horsepower of a hire.

As portfolio companies create hiring specs and search for their next CRO, they must evaluate what’s most important to them in a hire. What makes the ideal CRO is never identical between two companies. Companies need a guide for determining what to prioritize when hiring and where they can relax their requirements in order to expand their search. Falcon and PE-CXO analyzed the career experience and trajectory of 200+ lower-middle market, PE-backed CROs (or equivalent title) to help determine where companies are making trade-offs and what they typically prioritize most in CRO hires.

Who are PE-backed Companies Hiring as CRO?

Creating a CRO hiring framework first requires understanding the current hiring landscape.

According to Falcon’s internal data — analyzing leaders’ product and market expertise, prior private equity experience, and career trajectory — current hiring statistics on PE-backed sales and revenue leaders include:

  • 68% of all revenue leaders surveyed were external hires (not internally promoted into CRO role)
  • Hires had roughly 25 years of previous experience before b...