Key Questions CFOs are going to challenge you and your Sales Team on right now

Written by: James White

With many companies making significant layoffs and adjusting their spending approach due to worldwide economic issues, the job of getting buyers to buy is proving harder.

Chief Financial Officers and Finance Directors are taking much more interest in larger financial outlays and are asking sales teams tougher questions when proposals and presentations are being made.

Ensuring you are prepared for these tough questions and have robust and effective responses to use is key if you want to get sign-off within your projects.

Here are two of the top questions to prepare for those difficult presentations and discussions with the CFO.  If you want the full guide with all 8 questions, then email us to using the term ‘CFO Questions’ and we will get the full document sent over to you.

“Will your software/system/solution pay for itself, and by when?"

No organisation is going to just invest money for the sake of it. They want to understand what the break-even point is within any investment they make and how long it will take to recoup what they put in. In most cases, this will come down to efficiencies and savings which can be made although if your solution helps drive revenue numbers higher in times of slow growth, this can be very appealing. Show within your business case for the solution, when the investment made will provide a return and where the savings or growth will come from. Be specific.

"If I reduce your business case by X%, will the numbers still stack up?"

I have learned this to be a favourite of many sharp-eyed FDs who will look past the over-enthusiastic numbers that salespeople present. Whilst it may be a nice idea to make dramatic changes which drive incredible business case numbers, many CFOs simply don’t believe the figures and start to make their own adjustments.

Be prepared to have a Finance leader say, “I am going to reduce your business case numbers by half as I think much of what you have suggested is unrealistic. If it still stacks up after this, let’s carry on talking”.

Avoid this issue by reviewing your business case and being realistic. Plan conservatively and execute optimistically. Sanity-check your figures with key people in the business and when you have your final case, take 50% off it and see if the numbers still work. This is what the CFO will do and so it’s better to be prepared than not. If numbers don’t stack up, look for other softer benefits that you can tie in alongside the solution.

So there you have 2 key questions that CFOs will use in sales conversations and how you and your team can handle these.

What other questions have you come across recently and how have you been able to stop them from sinking your opportunity?

Would love to hear your thoughts and other techniques you have used to get CFOs on board with your deal.

Remember to email us with 'CFO Questions' and we will send you the full guide.

Publish date: 15 June 2023

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