Corporate Marketing: Communicating Effectively to Chief Financial Officers (CFOs)
Today’s CFOs have increased responsibilities in their finance roles; technology and automation in the accounting/finance function have freed up some of their time to assume other duties. CFOs generally are responsible for purchasing, in addition to other accountabilities. Your marketing initiatives as a corporate marketer to CFOs must take into account their need for clear, concise, quality information.
The need for Quality Information that promotes sound business decisions is one of the four biggest problems facing CFOs in the 21st century business environment. The other three are Risk and Compliance issues, Communications to analysts, investors, and employees, and Financial Planning/Reporting responsibilities.
CEOs and senior management of corporations rely on the expert analysis that a CFO brings to their organization. To provide this detailed analysis a CFO requires straightforward information that presents insights and solutions to their concerns. The last thing a CFO wants to see from a corporate marketer is a blatant sales pitch that ‘hypes’ a product or service. Your responsibility is to present useful information to a CFO that facilitates decisions that move their enterprise forward.
Consider that a CFO is responsible for consuming vast amounts of data, financial and otherwise. They must distill all of this information, typically quickly, and present their findings, recommendations and such to management, other internal stakeholders, as well as external stakeholders. Many people rely on their analysis and this is where increased pressure on the CFO comes in as they work to give an accurate view of what a company is facing.
This is true of their purchasing duties. What they want from you, the marketer, is the aforementioned quality information, presented in the form of an in-depth, clearly written case study, white paper, or something similar. They may want the essence of these informative documents presented to them verbally by you.
They don’t want a TV commercial or magazine ad approach from you. You can and will eventually sell to them when they see your focus is supplying high quality information to help them. Don’t force the issue with CFOs. They know the hard sell when they see and hear it. You do a disservice to them, yourself, and the company you represent when you neglect your role as a solutions provider.
What a CFO Doesn’t Want From a Corporate Marketer
– A marketing message that has nothing to do with their main concerns
– Flashy marketing (gimmicks and the like)
– “Fluff” information that provides no answers to important concerns
– Extraneous information that has nothing to do with the issue(s) they’re facing in their role
– Marketing jargon they’ve heard a thousand times before and that they’re desensitized to
What a CFO Does Want From a Corporate Marketer
– Information that helps them run their business better
– Information on trends and new ways of doing things
– Clutter-free information they can digest efficiently
Remember, CFOs are analytical professionals. They want good information to make their decision-making easier. They want information that helps them make the best decision. They want information that assists them in assessing the financial impact on their organization and the Return on Investment (ROI) they can expect. It’s your job to supply them all of the above. Your sales will come, when you communicate effectively to CFOs and address all their concerns intelligently.
8 Content Marketing Channels to Promote Your Business
Useful content, sent via an array of content marketing channels, is an effective way to provide quality information and solutions to your customers, whether individuals or business-to-business (B2B) customers. They want to buy products that help them and/or their organizations operate effectively and efficiently.
These customers do not want to be sold to – they want to make informed buying decisions based on the analysis of this quality information that you, the marketer, provide them.
The following are eight content marketing channels you can use to educate customers and potential customers regarding your products and services. These channels will assist you in presenting solutions to your target market, who make purchasing decisions.
Your email campaigns must be in a clear, plain copy that is easily readable.
Make sure your emails do not include distracting, annoying graphics. In addition, make sure they provide relevant, high-value information.
A report is a standard form of business communication. These business reports meld qualitative and quantitative information in a logical format. They serve as vital business documents that you can use to provide up-to-date, detailed information to a customer or potential customer. Like emails, they must be clearly written.
Articles are interesting and informative documents that you populate your business website with regularly. You can also add articles to your blog. In addition, you can publish articles in trade magazines you know your customers read. Furthermore, you can send timely articles to customers and potential customers to give them information and data that helps them in their decision-making concerning purchases.
A good white paper provides your customers a fresh perspective concerning solutions to their problems. They highlight your products and services in an intelligent manner, focusing on giving data, facts, and such that prove the effectiveness of your products and/or services.
A quality white paper focusing on customers’ needs lends credibility to you and your company. White papers are information documents that reach people outside the typical sales process.
With case studies, you can collect evidence and information through diverse sources. This includes interviews, observations, physical objects, and/or the analysis of archival information. You can use a combination of the different sources to create an informative, helpful case study. Additionally, you can include quantitative data as is feasible.
In essence, a case study is a short, to-the-point, straightforward story with a conclusion that provides a solution. A good case study helps readers identify with the situation. They see their situation in the case study’s story.
You draw the reader into the case study with facts. The case study then offers premier solutions to help the reader. In essence an information document, a case study helps individuals make decisions based on quality information. It can facilitate faster decision-making.
People you want to connect with will attend your event if they believe it is truly beneficial to them and/or their company. Therefore, an event you hold should have a speaker who is an A-list expert on a topic other business professionals are interested in.
Before you place a telephone call to a business, know whom you’re calling, and the issues they are facing in their enterprise. Call as a follow-up after sending a report, case study, white paper or after the individual has attended your event.
Send only relevant material. A simple one-page direct mail letter in a plain #10 envelope works the best. Make sure the letter has a clear and concise offer for information. The main offer of your direct mail communication should include reports based on studies, research results, and high-level white papers.
Use the above content marketing channels wisely. Let them be your tools to educate others on what you have to offer and why they will provide solutions to their needs. Prove to individual customers that you do business with that your desire is to help them with their problems and concerns.
Remember, your goal is to educate initially, throughout the process, and in your concluding presentations. Continuing education is also essential in after-sales service, with information on product updates, new ways of using a product, and more.
In the case of business-to-business (B2B) customers, prove to them that your focus is facilitating informed buying decisions that move a company forward. Prove to them that you’re not a one-hit wonder – who sells, moves on, and doesn’t care about the true needs of a client.