Your Sales and Marketing "CFO-Ready"?


A tectonic shift is occurring in IT decision-making, which if ignored will certainly shake up your sales and marketing strategy, and may even cost you your job.

A new survey by Accenture illuminates which executives are really in charge of making key, strategic technology decisions, and it’s not the CIOs. IT execs and managers your marketing campaigns have been targeting, and who your sales reps are comfortable talking to.

The study indicates that CFOs now have the ultimate say in IT spending decisions. 

The numbers indicate that 40% of CFOs now drive IT spending decisions at top-performing organizations

This concurs with earlier studies by Gartner, revealing a 44% increase in CFO influence over IT purchase decisions, with:
  • Over 41% of CFOs indicating they are now the leader of the group responsible for IT investments.
  • 26% of IT investments directly authorized by CFOs (with only 5% directly authorized by CIOs).
"CFOs have expanded their role in evaluating, prioritizing and executing technology investments," says Scott Brennan, Managing Director of the Finance and Enterprise Performance Group within Accenture Strategy. "Many CFOs understand that technology—especially big data and analytics—presents an opportunity to inform actionable insights, improve efficiency and drive the growth and profitability of the organization."

Key to the findings, the highest performing companies are where CFOs are more actively involved with key IT decisions. Once competing organizations figure this out, the motivation for more CFO decision-making will only increase.

What to Do?

With the CFO taking more control in IT spending decisions, it becomes essential for you to:
  • Engage earlier with the CFO, in order to help them recognize important challenges they should be addressing (Why Consider a Change), and the tangible impact of “do nothing” (Why do so Now).
  • Speak the language of the CFO, including business objectives and challenges, risks, business benefits and financial impact / ROI - developing provocative content to fuel CFO engagement sand sales conversations.
  • Deliver CFO-ready business cases, to communicate the story of your value and quantify the investment versus benefits  / ROI.
Of course you shouldn’t stop marketing and selling to the CIO, IT exec and manager, but the team needs to be aware that decision making has significantly changed, with 40% more stakeholders involved in each decision and growing CFO influence and control.

More attention and investment should be spent developing the messaging, insights and financial justification needed to attract CFO attention and win CFO commitment and approval.

The Bottom Line

Are you ready to win in an environment where the CFO is at least more influential and at most in control of key IT purchase decisions?
  • Are your value messages speaking to the CFO and their unique “point of value”?
  • Are you arming your sales reps and channel partners with the provocative value storytelling, insights and quantification tools needed to gain early CFO access and gain their interest / commitment?
  • Do you proactively deliver CFO-ready business cases later in the decision cycle to gain CFO approval / sign-off?

The bottom-line, is your sales and marketing CFO ready?
If you answered no or even maybe, we should talk!

Join the discussion at the Value Marketing and Selling LinkedIn Group:


Sources:
The CFO as Architect of Business Value: Delivering Growth and Managing Complexity," Accenture - 620 senior finance executives, with one-half being CFOs

CFOs are the New Technology Evangelists

Gartner Reports that CFOs are Large and in Charge

The CFO as Technology Evangelist

CFOs Alone Are Making 26% of IT Spending Decisions, Gartner Survey Finds

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