Aligning Finance and Sales for Transparency and Growth
2018 came in with a ROAR! Businesses are reviewing plans, setting goals, and identifying Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to leverage new tax plan benefits and drive additional growth and market share. Transparency, along with alignment of finance and sales is crucial to achieve greater success.
Sales leaders who work closely with the CFO and Finance Team can help minimize stress, achieve better results for your clients, and bring better results to your bottom line. As CEOs, CFOs, and their executive teams set revenue goals for FY 2018, it’s beneficial to engage the sales team who will be expected to deliver. You can accomplish this by vetting out concerns, addressing issues, and establishing consensus regarding your company’s strategy and game plan.
A step-by-step approach can help establish transparency and assure that Finance and Sales teams are working together to implement policy, grow revenue, gain clients, and achieve success. Respectful and regular communications can help foster an understanding of how each team’s objectives dovetail and therefore, a commitment to achieving them. Bi-weekly meetings – with the objective of reviewing receivables, discounts, and commitment of pipeline – can be helpful in building this relationship.
Here are some key questions you should be asking to achieve transparency:
- What are the key metrics that have been established for the year by the CFO and Finance Team?
- Can this year’s performance objectives be achieved and if so, how?
- What clients will be the focus of the Sales Team and how can the CFO and the Finance Team assist?
That last point is one which is often missed. Sales and Finance must be aligned in order to close new deals and set the pace for growth. Examples include:
- Agreement on the discounting policy prior to delivering commitments to help manage margins and protect the company.
- An agreed upon process between the Sales and Finance teams for submitting, reviewing and responding to proposals in order to optimize close rates.
- Insight into circumstances unique to specific clients that may create pressure for deeper discounts and lower margins and a plan of action to address these situations and still remain competitive.
Transparency and alignment between your company’s Sales and Finance teams enables greater trust and a more effective partnership. Surprises are eliminated. Opportunities are maximized. A clear understanding of objectives, revenue targets, forecasts, pipeline, and KPIs can transform these two teams into one and lays the foundation for their mutual success and the delivery of superior value to the clients they serve.
Guest blogger Elaine DiLisio is a proven Professional Executive Sales Leader with more than 25 years working in the technology sector. She has managed and run global sales organizations and mastered strategic selling and client relationships, along with best practices, in several industries ranging from early startups to Fortune 500 companies. Elaine offers a unique perspective in helping clients with challenges related to revenue and business stagnation. She works with her clients in implementing sales strategy, process, and execution practices to propel growth and expand their client base. Elaine is the CEO of Cordillera Advisor group, and currently works as Fractional Sales Leader, Outsourced VP of Sales and Sales Advisor to client companies.