Numbers and Narratives: Aligning the CFO with Sales and Marketing

Sales and marketing, the growth engine of every organization, are often at odds. Dig deeper, and you’ll find a key influencer in this rift: The CFO. Comfortable with hard metrics, CFOs gravitate towards the immediate, tangible results sales teams produce. This leaves marketing, with its longer-term vision and softer metrics, struggling for validation and dollars. How can these three powerhouses work together? We talked to a consultant and she offered this roadmap.

Start With The Ultimate Goal: Customer Satisfaction
The true north for sales, marketing, and finance should be the customer. Starting with sharing testimonials, feedback, and long-term engagement metrics has a way of unifying everyone’s focus. Happy customers reign supreme.

  • CFO Hybrid Metrics
    While sales generates immediate measures of success, the value of brand building and customer engagement, albeit softer and longer-term, has a big effect on a company’s overall value. CFOs can work in both the now and in the future by defining KPIs that include both sales and longer-term marketing growth indicators. Shared KPI’s invite collaboration.
  • Accessible Tech Platforms
    Get IT to help with access to the various CRM and marketing platforms providing both macro and micro views. Dashboards that include reports from every system can highlight immediate sales while also showcasing long-term customer engagement. This tents to appease the CFO’s need for comprehensive oversight, and give everyone else insight into what’s going on in other departments.
  • Cross-Functional Workshops
    Use a third party to mediate sessions where the CFO, CSO, and CMO collaboratively assess the entire customer development funnel – from brand awareness to sale closure. This exercise will highlight opportunities for everyone to measure each stage in the customer journey.

Co-Author Planning
Involve the CFO actively in sales and marketing planning sessions. When financial leaders understand and are hands on in crafting both sales and marketing plans, it leads to balanced financial decisions.

  • Use Joint Learning Sessions
    Teach financial acumen to sales and marketing teams. Have sessions where teams delve into the interplay of immediate sales metrics and the softer, long-term brand-building numbers. Include the customer success team for even more insights.
  • Mediation
    Build a structured mediation mechanism, especially when budgeting. Differences between sales’ immediate needs and marketing’s long-term campaigns should be addressed collaboratively, with the CFO playing mediator.

The CFO’s role, pivotal in the organization, can inadvertently widen the chasm between sales and marketing. With proactive engagement on a unified vision, your organization can benefit from a finance, sales, and marketing team not only coexists but thrives together. It’s an alignment that, when harmonized, drives unparalleled business success.

Do you need help justifying marketing expenses to finance? Contact one of our marketing experts to learn how we can help you measure activity and results in a way CFOs love.

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