Fly fishermen have a term for throwing their line at a random spot in the water and hoping a fish bites. It’s called “blind casting.” Many times, marketing and sales teams do exactly that. They randomly cast to a wide audience hoping someone bites.
Modern Growth CFOs, however, can help their companies take a more targeted approach to sales and marketing. Why is this important? More than 50% of CFOs identified marketing efforts or expanding relationships with existing customers as a top factor for driving growth and profitability in 2016, according to The CFO Alliance’s 2016 CFO Sentiment Study. Another 50% of CFOs ranked expanding customer engagement and tapping new markets as their highest priority for driving growth this year. See the full infographic here.
Unfortunately, many small and medium businesses lack the alignment they need between their marketing and finance departments to implement effective sales programs. Nearly half of finance leaders identified sales and marketing as the department they find most challenging with which to align.
The result: only 12% of CFOs believe they know their customers well enough to influence their behaviors.
That’s troubling considering that CFOs say their sales and marketing departments must connect with their markets much more effectively to expand and leverage relationships with their customers. Growth CFOs understand something needs to change. Nearly 30% of CFOs said their involvement in developing and managing customer relationships will increase in 2016.
In addition, if CFOs could allocate another $500,000 to their sales department, 26% said they would spend it on improving their sales team’s understanding of addressable markets. Another 34% said they would spend the money on market research.
So how can you, as a Growth CFO, encourage more effective customer outreach and relationship efforts? First, you need access to the information that will help drive a more informed sales and marketing strategy.
Cloud-based finance solutions provide the type of visibility into market trends and buying behaviors that will help build stronger customer relationships. Some of the key benefits of the cloud include:
With this level of increased financial insight, CFOs can partner with marketing and sales leaders to analyze customer buying patterns, identify new market opportunities, and model forecasts for potential scenarios. Instead of blind casting, SMBs will be able to throw out their lines into waters with plenty of fish, ensuring a greater number of bites.