Selling to the CFO! For success in procurement this is an essential step for internal associates as well as external sales people.

July 1st, 2009

This author has had the great pleasure of teaching the following course “Selling to the CFO” to hundreds of sales people with a variety of industry focus areas ranging from Loss Prevention to Procurement.

This author has had the great pleasure of teaching the following course “Selling to the CFO” to hundreds of sales people with a variety of industry focus areas ranging from Loss Prevention to Procurement.

I was reading Michael Lamoureux’s post at Sourcing Innovation the other day. At Sourcing innovation Michael is referred to as the “Doctor” for good reason. If you have the procurement blues or other procurement focused illnesses you might just find the cure or at least a roadmap to it at this site. The post I was reading was titled “Does Your CFO Think All You Deserve is a Kick in the Face”?

To procurement professionals this may sound scary, but does not need to be. Quite frankly, the focus of all sales people should be the CFO. It’s great to have C level relationships, including the CEO, CPO, CIO etc. At the end of the day the CFO controls the purse strings if your solution is not included in the present budget and as such you will need his or her support. The good news is that the focus of all CFO’s is to make companies more profitable. This may be housed in terms like managing regulatory compliance or the reduction of process costs and improving asset utilization. At the end of the day it all means trying to insure stakeholder equity which means improving net profitability and increasing share value.

The reason this is so important for sales people to understand is if your solution can accomplish this in the present accounting period or during the present accounting year in any measureable fashion you will have an interested audience in the CFO.

Once in the CFO’s office, you need to be prepared to present your office in a concise way that is meaningful to the CFO. This means no buzz words or other industry speak. This means understanding the CFO’s company in great detail and presenting your solution to documented problems that your procurement solution will solve in terms the CFO uses every day. That means terms like COGS, EBITDA, Net Profit, IRR, Gross Margin and how you’re offering will impact these areas in a positive fashion immediately.

We look forward to and appreciate your comments.

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