CFOs are taking on new and expanding roles to help their companies achieve rapid, compounding growth. To succeed, you must go beyond the traditional duties of the job. Strategic CFOs are innovative leaders that drive and support strategy across all departments. PricewaterhouseCoopers explains, “CFOs are uniquely qualified to provide meaningful input to their organization’s current and future investments, participate in the broader corporate vision, and advocate and produce strategic transformation.” One way CFOs can dramatically increase sales is by working with the team to create a powerful, data-driven sales strategy. Here’s how:
Here’s how CFOs can dramatically increase sales
The key to helping your company achieve rapid growth is to determine where and how finance-supported analytics can add value. Become a data-driven CFO and help your sales team by bringing a critical eye to every stage in the sales funnel. In their ebook, CFO Insights, Deloitte advocates that CFOs are in the best position to own company data and analytics. They can use their unique perspective to provide data-backed insight to customer retention, pricing, and churn. Think outside the traditional parameters of your role to identify sales-related decisions that will drive growth or increase margins.
Here are five ways to use data to support your sales team:
1. Customer acquisition
On the front end of the sales cycle, there are several things a CFO can do to help the team make sure they’re going after qualified leads. They include:
- Market analysis: Your sales team has identified the unique industries they want to pursue as well as specific user personas (fictional representations of ideal customers). Help them conduct thorough and frequent market analysis so they can respond to changing market conditions. If a specific industry is showing signs of distress, your sales team will need time to formulate a plan that keeps them on target to meet projections.
- Risk reduction: If your sales team is spending a lot of time and effort to court a big customer, you and your team can help out by gathering financial intel. You know the signs of a company headed for a cash crunch and can help the sales team prioritize customers who are in a position to buy.
2. Channel strategy
The CFO has historic company data at their fingertips. You can help sales analyze which channels have traditionally brought in the most customers to help inform strategy moving forward. You can also bring new insight and segment CAC by customer cohort helping the sales team allocate budget toward activities that drive growth at a very granular level.
3. Product pricing analysis
CFOs and finance teams are great at monitoring and reporting on cost, pricing, and the bottom line. But, data-driven CFOs further break down cost by conducting pricing analysis on customer cohorts. Deloitte suggests you consider “which customer segments are being given unwarranted volume discounts (and) which are unaffected by slight price increases.” Get granular with your pricing analysis to uncover additional opportunities for revenue and arm your sales team with this insight.
4. Sales compensation:
Are team members being compensated according to their contributions to the company? Those who play a key role in the growth and profitability of the business should be earning more than their lesser-contributing counterparts. The CFO can help analyze sales incentives plans to boost productivity and reward top performers appropriately.
Work with your sales team to develop forecast models that go beyond looking at last year’s numbers. High growth companies can’t rely only on historical data to build models. They need to incorporate predictive analysis to ensure the data is actionable and the team is pacing toward goal. To learn more about using forecast models for effective sales planning, check out this article from Robert Sher, founding principal of consulting firm CEO to CEO.
To help your business secure a competitive advantage, your role as a CFO must broaden beyond the scope of a technical expert. Find new and innovative ways to apply your data-driven insights across business strategy in every department. Though your primary concern is still to keep your company’s financial records in order, you can and should be a leader in driving company growth. Work with your sales team to conduct deep data analysis to help increase their efficiency and returns.