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4 Conversation Starters For Selling the CFO On Marketing Automation

Marketers laugh at this old joke: “We know half of our marketing budgets are wasted, we just don’t know which half.”

CFOs aren’t laughing.

Should come as no surprise that the Chief Financial Officer – in fact, the entire finance department – are all about the numbers. CFO’s are most concerned about profitable growth, managing operational and capital expenses, monitoring ROI and managing risk.

These analytical number crunchers live for data. That’s why Revenue Performance Management is just what you need to get your foot in the door. Tools like marketing automation can get you on the path to measuring marketing’s impact on revenue, and making more efficient investments. But first you need the CFO’s signoff.

That’s why we suggest the following 4 conversation starters for approaching the CFO about marketing automation.

“This could be the start to getting your arms around what we do.”

Finance executives are innately curious. They want to understand how every department in the organization is investing their piece of the budget, and the kinds of returns they’re seeing. Help the CFO that this investment is about giving the C-level visibility into marketing activity.

“Instead of basing our plans on intuition, we’ll have the data we need to make informed decisions about this year’s marketing programs.”

De-emphasize gut feeling and emphasize data-driven decisions. CFOs are less interested in how beautiful your emails are, how big your Facebook page is and the nice things prospects say about your events, and more intrigued by charts and graphs that are trending upwards. Explain how an investment in marketing automation helps translate your art into their science.

“With marketing automation we can eliminate manual, repetitive tasks associated with demand generation, lead management and event management. That means we can increase productivity per headcount.”


CFOs want to squeeze every penny they can out of the company’s current investments, whether it’s in systems or human capital. Show how this investment will help employees do a lot more with the hours you already pay for.

“We’ll be able to easily pull in revenue data from other systems to gain a complete visibility into what’s working. We’ll cut what doesn’t work and put our resources into what generates revenue.”

Finance doesn’t like surprises. Revenue Performance Management is about gaining long-term visibility so you can start planning your spend and return in advance. Let the CFO know that this investment is about getting your team on the same page as the finance team.

Clearly, getting the approval of a CFO’s sharp, analytical mind requires a shift in thinking. Luckily, our free guide, How to Sell Marketing Automation to Executives, provides the right language along with real-world results that will perk your CFO’s attention. Download it by clicking the image below.


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