IT’s Relationship with the CFOIncreasingly, IT is moving right under the CFO. A recent report by Gartner had 42 percent of IT organizations reporting into the CFO, and 53 percent of CFOs said they wanted IT to report up to finance. That means if you’re pitching tech solutions, increasingly your business hinges directly on the CFO’s buy in.
Analyze the Balance SheetYour sales game plan better take into account a deep analysis of your customer’s balance sheet. Don’t walk in blind when it comes to financials – especially if it’s a public company. Understand where money is allocated today and what your company can do to reduce specific line items, reduce costs and streamline their balance sheet. Position your solutions in their unique context as it relates to the customer. That makes tech investments a lot more appealing.
Plan to Reduce Cap ExIf you’re in the virtualization game or a managed services provider, you’re lucky- you possess quite the edge when walking in the CFO’s door. Know that every company from here to Timbuktu wants to reduce capital expenditures, so take your messaging up a level and talk about the financial and business value your solutions bring to the table. Keep the benefits real, like “virtualization kills pricey server sprawl and maintenance costs,” “moving data to the cloud or software to an on-demand model will immediately transform expensive capex to a lower opex.”
The Doomsday ScenarioWalk in ready to scare. Know the worst-case scenario and the balance sheet bingo the CFO is playing if they do not purchase from you. Incomplete solutions around data duplication, disaster recovery, compliance and network security all have massive potential to grind operations to a halt and make a company bleed cash for the short and long-term. Address these concerns and the potential fall-out from not mitigating their risk.
Commit to the ROI Metrics and TimeframeEvery RFP ever submitted had potential ROI timeframes and soft benefits. But, in today’s day and age, put your money where your mouth is. Outline the hard and soft benefits you can deliver on, and commit to a time frame. Show the CFO you mean business and know what’s important for the financial health of the organization. If you don’t meet those objectives, have a “make good” which offsets their initial investment.
Identify New Revenue OpportunitiesBe a strategic partner, not just a one-off tactical implementer or solution provider. Provide advice and guidance on how your solutions can drive new revenue channels for your customers, not just cut costs. If your solutions open up resources for new initiatives, say so. Focus on cultivating a relationship that has your customer’s growth in mind and you are more likely to close the deal and have a long-term relationship.