How to Pitch and Sell with a CFO

       Febraury 2, 2023

How to Pitch and Sell with a CFO

       In all major companies, the chief financial officer, commonly known as CFO holds the ultimate power over budget allocations and buying decisions. As a solution or service provider, you can pitch the CEO, or any other critical position of the management, but eventually they will check with the CFO for advice before making a buying decision. So, it is prudent, that you sell directly to the financial authority of an organization but this can be challenging but not an impossible task. All you need to know is how to get it right.

How to reach a chief financial officer?

       Before we even venture any further, please be advised that reaching out to a CFO is a lot different than reaching any other department head or chief executive.

Strategy to gain the CFO’s attention

       The CFOs are usually not accessible due to their multiple work demands from within the company and from the outside. The hierarchy to reach a chief financial officer is quite complicated as well, which means to establish contact with the CFO, you need to acclimatize the gatekeepers too. So, any strategy you may have should consider warming up the entire finance ecosystem and hierarchy of an organization.

Strategy to gain the CFO’s attention:

       Significant Research to understand their priorities, will help you engage a CFO’s interest. Focus on recognizing both their short term and long-term goals, as aligned with the company’s growth strategy.

Strategy to gain the CFO’s attention

       The one simple rule to get the CFO’s attention depends on understanding what motivates them, understanding the company’s growth story and the financial picture of the organization.

Identifying a CFO’s buying choices:

       CFOs are all about numbers, having said that they aren’t immune to emotional buying influences. So, it is imperative to directly position your products, services or solutions to highlight their ROI advantages.

Identifying a CFO’s buying choices

       Because, the CFOs deal with statistics and numbers largely, it is ill advised to incorporate common sales tricks such as emotional appeals, creating an urgency etc. Clarify your stand and benefits purely on the foundation of return on investment while identifying a CFO’s purchase preferences. Present statistically factual evidence and testimonials to close deals with CFOs.

Top Tips For - How to Sell to a CFO:

Identifying a CFO’s buying choices

      1. Be thorough in researching your prospect & the company – As mentioned earlier, for a CFO everything depends on specifics and numbers. So, collect data and relevant information as the company and its future strategies before trying to sell to the chief financial officer. Have access to financial reports, sales information and other information about the company that may come in handy while pitching the CFO. Gain internal information from the finance team beforehand.

      2. Research the human behind the chief financial officers – Simply put, the CFO is an individual, he is a human and not just an entity who is busy, and has immense decision-making authority. So, treat him as a person and understand him as a person, access their interviews, social media posts, etc. it is important to get a sense of their interests and their personality. Value their individuality and you will be able to connect with them better.

      3. Engage the Gatekeeper – CFOs invariably have a personal team, and specifically an executive assistant who handles his calendar. Understand who this is and work towards creating a positive rapport with this person. It is very important to respect a CFO’s hierarchy and support staff, if you intend to make a sale or close a deal.

      4. Address their challenges – One of the key factors to close a deal is to understand the client’s challenges and work towards mitigating them. When connecting with a CFO, you will have to consider understanding the challenges they face. Take a two-pronged approach. Address the company’s problems as a whole and secondly address the chief financial officer and his finance teams problems as well. Align your solutions in a way that they tackle all significant pain points and solve existing concerns. This will help greatly in encouraging the CFO to make a positive choice.

      5. Refine your pitch – Build a presentation based on specific feedback, focused solutions and emphasis on ROI. Do not overdo with content, focus on quality instead of quantity. Just create your pitch around concise anchor points.

      6. Engage, Engage and Engage – No deal is closed unless you work on getting it done. Send campaigns, send emails, make calls, network and follow up consistently. No chief financial officer wants to waste his time, so be fully prepared to deliver when you engage with them. At this level of management, you won’t get second chances, so be completely ready before you start your engagement

      7. Emphasize on the cost reduction – CEOs are more concerned about strategy and growth while CFOs are focused on cost savings, and statistics. The chief financial officer is concerned about accounting for any expenses or the viability of such an expense should translate into ROI

      8. Present an action plan – A CFO is someone who prefers an independent analysis of a proposal, so if the expense or spend warrants such a decision, get an independent analyst to substantiate your claims with an unbiased analysis, so that the financial impact of the purchase is justified.

      9. Closing the deal – it is necessary to be direct, and without beating around the bush come to the point. Ask the CFO for their business. Be realistic, show them a workable model with real world proof and they will acknowledge that. In this step, get the chief financial officers to respond to you via an email, attend a meeting or do something that is an official acknowledgement of the deal. This will further clarify that the CFO has confirmed the purchase.

Remember, selling to a chief financial officers or any C-suite executive is not going to happen, unless you make and effort and ask for the purchase. It is all about starting the conversation, being pragmatic and getting the job done.

In conclusion

       If you have been overlooking email marketing or any form of digital marketing strategies for your business, it’s time to look into it immediately. In the 21st century it is all about having a seamless online presence and defined online marketing approach and building a relevant database of leads, that are qualified and ready to be closed. And if you are looking to reach C-suite executives such as a chief financial officers, it doesn’t have to be complicated, we at P2B can help you reach out to the right people and customize your lead generation activities.