"While a CFO should not take control of sales or marketing,” according to Larry Caretsky, CEO of Commence Corporation, “I do believe they should play a role in helping to insure a structure is in place to maximize sales and marketing expenditures as well as insuring their company's ROI (return-on-investment) and profitability.”
There is a fundamental disconnection between sales and marketing and the CFO may serve as the moderator in the conversation about the efficacy and effectiveness in Advanced Contact Management (ACM), Sales Force Automation (SFA), Business Intelligence (BI), and Customer Service and Support (CSS).
The Role of the CFO in the Marketing Department
Companies spend tens of thousands of dollars on trade shows and marketing promotions, but almost never close the loop to determine the effectiveness of marketing outreach efforts. Caretsky insists, “They have no information regarding how many leads the program provided, how many of those leads turned into customers, and how much revenue was generated from those customer that they may have closed. As such, ROI from costly and significant marketing expenditures cannot be determined. They simply establish a marketing budget for the year and perhaps increase it or decrease it the next year based on the performance of the business.”
While a strong vice-president, Marketing Director, or CFO should be paying close attention to these data, without a CRM (customer relationship management) solution and the appropriate reporting it becomes an impossible task. The result: instead of using vital (often limited) funds to drive additional business from profitable marketing programs, companies just continue with business as usual repeating the same programs without measurement of success.
The Role of the CFO in the Sales Department
Companies that have renegade sales teams, cut deals because they can get away with it; they know that if they sign a deal, the company will most likely accept it. This volatile and unstructured practice leads to all kinds of problems that, according to Caretsky, “Drive CFO's crazy because of the inability to keep control of margins, lack of business integrity, and lost profitability.”
A CRM solution can help address wild sales force practice by deploying a structure that does not allow the sales team to take control the business. The structure tells the representative what margins are required and what discounts they are able to offer the customer. The results are pricing integrity, sustainable profitability, and more accurate sales reporting. Ultimately these are CFO functions and overseeing the structure to ensure these corporate practices is part of effective technology selection to enforce better sales behavior.
CFO’s Prefer SaaS CRM as Monitoring Method of Sales and Marketing
CRM On-Demand or SaaS (software-as-a-solution) is a web-based CRM solution that enables businesses to manage customer relationships in an organized and efficient manner. An intuitive set of ready to use applications automates the customer facing aspects of your business that directly impacts sales execution and customer service.
CFO’s prefer this type of technology solutions because Web-based hosted solutions are both fast and easy set up, while allowing the management of sales, marketing, and customer service. Errors, including simple data entry of customer contact information, are reduced because there is one central system for all customer information and detailed and powerful reporting and analytics. Given the expanding and expansive nature of the sales force, only SaaS CRM solutions effectively support remote and mobile users.
Commence Corporation, celebrating their twentieth year in the CRM sector, advises CFO’s, “The more you know about prospects and customers, the better you’ll be able to optimize your strategy for customer acquisition, retention, and cross-selling.” Only when CFO’s implement a comprehensive, easy-to-use solution for marketing automation, will they enable the efficient management of multi-channel campaigns, task management, budgeting, list management, and campaign analysis and reporting.