What can a CFO do to improve the company’s sales system? What do they even know about sales? You’d be surprised.
If you’re the CFO and CEO, the following applies to you. If you’re both of these plus the Director of Sales and maybe even the Chief Salesperson, you still need to include the tasks below in order to improve the results of your sales system.
The CFO’s Role in the Sales System
You may never have thought the CFO a has sales role to play. I think they do and it gets proved to me again and again.
I’m about to present my “Marketing for Growth” workshop. When you get beyond the basics of marketing techniques, it’s all about the numbers. That’s what I will be talking about at my session to get owners thinking about more than facebook® and Twitter® or blog posts. Sales efforts with no numbers to back up the time and costs incurred is no sales efforts in my book.
I happen to have a marketing and sales background, ran a full service advertising firm with Jan Triplett, and taught the marketing workshop for the SBA for years. But, even if you’re strictly all about dollars and sense, the marketing and sales department needs you.
Here’s what you bring:
- A No Nonsense look at the sales figures.
- A need and vital use for tracking costs and results.
- No love for any particular sales technique or system. Social media or traditional media , it doesn’t matter as long as the sales projections you were given to go on for planning or budgeting turn out to be reasonably accurate.
- No tolerance for excuses or wishful thinking. That may sound harsh but excuses and wishes don’t pay the bills.
Here’s what you want:
- Accurate reports on sales status for analysis and creation of sales and financial projectins. These must include aging time of each prospect and number of contacts needed to get the sale or to cull the lead.
- Consistency for planning purposes.
- Replicability for growth and profitability purposes.
The CFO’s Sales System Goal
The CFO’s goal is to make sure everyone does what’s necessary to improve the company’s sales system. These include validating that:
- Staff are using assets appropriately. It requires that they leverage existing and previous customers to find additional sales, up-sell, re-sell, and get quality referrals that improve sales in the long and short term.
- There is a written system for tracking results that everyone uses. Salespeople like to be hip shooters and creative. They don’t like to be told what to say or when to say it. But there are some “MUST” questions that need to be answered on every suspect, prospect, former and existing customer. You can’t (nor can the head of sales) waste time tracking information down to determine what the monthly and quarterly sales dollars are going to be.
- There is a written system for getting business intelligence out of the heads of sales, customer service and others who interact with customers. This is often an overlooked asset that is frequently downplayed or ignored when the focus is only on making the numbers of calls or contacts. That information can be used for planning and budget purposes for adding or deleting products and services, expansion potential, funding etc.
These demands and system requirements can make you unpopular but someone has to do it. If there’s a director of sales, they’ll be glad to have you play an important sales role. It’s all part of taking an advanced perspective on your sales system.
Don’t make the excuse that you know nothing about sales. You do. You may just never have thought about it that way.
Are you up to the role? What are your hesitations?