Kfir, please tell us a bit about your personal and professional background before joining Elementor

I actually started my professional career as a developer and program manager in the Electronics Research Department (‘‘ERD’’), one of Israel’s national labs. I was tasked with developing and overseeing the deployment of innovative and complex systems. Shortly after, I moved to the business side of the equation. I have held several executive roles, including product, marketing, business development, and management roles in both startups and publicly traded companies. Before taking on my current position, I offered growth and strategy consulting services to global-facing web companies in their velocity stage.

You were appointed Chief Revenue Officer. Perhaps you can start by explaining to our readers the responsibility of a CRO and how the role is different from sales, marketing, and finance?

The CRO serves two key roles. The first is to set the company’s revenue strategy, execute it, and oversee all aspects of revenue operations. Essentially, breaking the silos of the various departments and putting them all under one roof. These include marketing, sales, customer success, customer support, business development, pricing and packaging, and business operations. The second is to serve as an executive officer, influencing all strategic matters of the company from culture, to product and development, finance, and more. Usually, the CRO will not handle logistics operations, a domain usually reserved for a general and administrative position.

Companies can and should adjust the CRO roles and responsibilities based on their unique needs, characteristics, life stage, and skillset. At Elementor, this meant putting the Product Marketing department under my wing.

Although the CRO position is intuitively comparable to being the head of sales, there is a lot more that goes into the position. My role is more relationship-based and strategy focused, encompassing the entire life-cycle of the customer journey, its experience, and monetization. Alongside it, is to guide and sync all customer-facing teams from within all the while, identifying new business opportunities and forging new partnerships from outside.

It seems that the trend of companies hiring CROs has really picked up over the past five years or so. What value and purpose do you think a CRO brings to the table?

The key to remember is that every company is different, and presents different needs according to its life cycle. However, generally, companies are looking for the role of the CRO to leverage and capitalize on the value creation the core product delivers and then enhance the value creation, and complement it. In order to achieve this lofty goal, there are three main pillars, or objectives, CROs address.

  1. Revenue Generation and Growth: Driving new, recurring and upsell revenue streams while implementing experimental approaches to channel-model and product-channel fits.
  2. “Building the Machine”: Building scalable revenue operations by setting long term strategy to organizational structuring and hiring, business platforms, risk and opportunities management, and most importantly, culture.
  3. Breaking the ‘Silos’: Ensuring the various arms of the developing business are working in concert, making sure we deliver a single-thread of storytelling and holistic experience.

Ultimately companies and aspiring CROs shouldn’t hire for the sole purpose of “just generating revenues”. Revenue is for sure an aspect, but instead of asking myself every morning, “how can I generate more revenue for my company?”, I ask myself: “what input will serve our platform’s users in the best possible way?” Figure this out and the revenues will follow.

Please tell us a bit about Elementor and why you decided to join the company?

Elementor is the leading open-source, code-free website building platform, operating over WordPress core. We empower millions of designers, developers, and marketers from 150 countries. With over 100 3rd-party addons and template creators extending our offerings, a unique ecosystem has forged, making our company a true powerhouse in solving an array of pains and delivering incremental value. Our product is the first go-to solution for the entire web creator spectrum. From schools, colleges, and NGOs, to aspiring and professional freelance web creators, web agencies, and eCommerce businesses.

Joining the company almost a year ago was a no brainer for me. Of course, it starts with the incredible team which is an absolute pleasure to work with. Additionally, I am completely sold on the concept of revolutionizing the professional web building industry, setting new standards, all in an open-source setting. The potential there is just staggering. I thought, maybe I can contribute from my knowledge and experience.

But above all, it was really when I recognized the bond our company has formed with its users. It’s deep, it’s emotional, it’s love. This love is evoked because what we do changes people’s professional lives in a really meaningful way. How great is that? :+)

The company has experienced rapid growth over the past year or so. What are the one or two biggest factors that are driving web developers to the platform?

Yes, as a matter of fact, we recently hit 5 million active websites, but we feel we are just scratching the surface! There are a number of factors that contribute to this growth.

Our growth stems from solving a critical pain and delivering real, measurable value to web creators, whether freelancers or working as part of a team. From shortening work-flows to enhancing design capabilities and adding ever more flexibility – it is the simplicity but intricacy of the product.

On top of our strong product-market fit, we employ growth and marketing strategies that really help us to get to users who need our solution at scale.

Finally, I would say community, community, community. User communities are formed all over the globe. The community is at the center of our brand. Our employees and our users are one – we act as a community, really almost like a tribe. We are very proud and humbled to talk and work with users and fans from all over the world and build a better future.

What are some of the trends you’re seeing in the web development world?

Web development has become more sleek and more feature-focused. Long gone are the days where a few pictures and text will suffice for a website. It takes users less than 3 seconds to decide whether to stay on a web-page or not. Therefore web development, design, and maintenance as a whole have become much more complex. Managing a freelance web design business and meeting client expectations was already a challenging task back in 2016 when our company was founded, and this challenge keeps growing. This means that the B2B market to provide useful technology to web designers is large and growing every day. Moreover, with Covid-19 not going anywhere, our data has shown the demand for web development has actually substantially risen; the demand for professional website building in the USA grew by 26% in the first month of the pandemic while Spain and Italy grew by 47.8% and 43.4% respectively.

If we look further into the future, I believe AI and other emerging learning technology stacks will have a growing impact on the way websites are being built and generally speaking on the way web content will be consumed.

Looking ahead, how do you plan on continuing to drive growth?

We focus on value creation. Even today, there is a lot of friction in building and maintaining a website, and there are lots of limitations to what you can do with closed platforms. We have great plans on how to deliver these solutions, eventually allowing web creators to focus on what they do best so they can grow their business.

The other critical component driving growth is operational scalability. We have over 100 open positions, so hiring is key. We have scaled the growth of our support, dev teams, and other departments. We also focus on building our next phase of internal business platforms to support scale.

We will continue, full steam ahead, working with our highly committed community, its local leaders and moderators all over the globe. We have initiated hundreds of physical and virtual gatherings through our Meetups Program. We keep close and connected by providing actionable information and inspiration to our community while gathering feedback on how we can all become better web creators.

When you’re not working, how do you enjoy spending your time?

My biggest joy is spending time with my family and close friends. I read and write quite a bit. Other than that, I spend time in nature and try to jam on the piano or guitar every now and then. I’m volunteering in an NGO with an objective to help marginalized, deprived youth. We provide mentorship with a goal to give them a real opportunity to get on a path of building a future for themselves.