Improving Post-Sales Satisfaction for a Better Bottom Line

Improving Post-Sales Satisfaction for a Better Bottom Line

Every good CFO knows that influencing her organization takes more than adequately managing the finances or thinking strategically. It requires a broad view of the company as a whole and finding even the smallest and most unlikely elements to change and improve that will affect the bottom line. In a recent survey conducted by CFO Research, 126 senior finance executives of major U.S. corporations revealed one of the most neglected, but apparent places a company can cut costs, gain revenue and have a positive impact on the overall finances is in post-sales. Also known as the retention stage of the customer journey, this is where many customers drop out or turn away from a brand. But with just a little more effort and a few important tactics, any company can prevent losses and enhance the finances. The survey showed that 82% of CFOs say their company could realize meaningful financial benefit from improving customer satisfaction with post-sales service. They believe this area of business is a critical competitive differentiator. To achieve optimal post-sales satisfaction methods, a CFO can drive the following techniques and encourage a company to take full responsibility for this portion of the sales cycle. Better Communication The main obstacle cited by 50% of survey respondents was prioritizing and coordinating post-sales activities. While it is clear who owns certain tasks within the sales cycle, retention is something that often gets lost in the chaos. An evaluation of the sales cycle showed that many professionals are unsure of who should really take ownership of the retention phase with 29% saying customer support, 26% saying sales and 26% saying...
Preparing for Success in the Finance Industry

Preparing for Success in the Finance Industry

The finance industry utilizes many technologies. It’s therefore difficult to keep up with the rapidly changing technology landscape and still be successful. As CFO discusses, there are five ways to prepare for success: Become a leader, and expand your view Turn finance into a team of information analysts, not data caretakers Adapt to changes in technology with a new generation of finance professionals Transform expectations, and extend the use of advanced analytics throughout all functions Strengthen your expertise – educate yourself about real-time analytic capabilities Implementing and reinforcing these techniques is the key to a successful future in finance. The biggest factor is adapting to technological change, because not doing so can be the greatest stress on financial operations, according to Journal of Accountancy. In order to keep up with the rapid changes, it’s important for CFOs to hire staff with strong technology knowledge in programs like Excel, Access, IBM’s Congos, and Intuit’s QuickBooks, as well as emerging technologies. Strong and consistent communication between the CFO and the finance staff – inside the company and outside the company – can help businesses keep up with changes in technology. Attending conferences on new and emerging technologies also helps give CFOs an overview and head start on what is new and in development. Joining and participating in technology user groups can provide valuable insights into what service levels end-users and customers want and expect. Communicating and networking with fellow CFOs can be particularly helpful to understand and learn from shared experiences, as well as obtain knowledge of technology use across industries. A good CFO should understand the business entirely, collaborate well, be flexible,...
The Evolution of the CFO Role

The Evolution of the CFO Role

Long before there was a C acronym for every executive position in a company, there were the original three: CEO, COO, and CFO. These were the people at the top calling the shots, making the big decisions, and influencing the company from within. Their ideals and values inspired and dictated how a company was run. Chief financial officers, specifically, were the gatekeepers of the finances. Traditionally, CFOs analyzed a company’s financial risk, managed financial planning, and kept all records clean and compliant. While these are still primary responsibilities of the modern CFO, the role has evolved beyond being a figurehead on a board of directors or a name on the company letterhead. A CFO now has a multi-faceted role and is expected to be a more active player with big ideas and leadership skills, rather than a basic money handler. CFO is no longer just a title, but an aspiration for many, and a well-rounded job for those who reach it. Becoming a Strategic Player At the start of this decade, companies began to realize how much the CFO role was changing. A 2010 Ernst and Young survey revealed that 73% of CFOs saw their role as a destination in its own right. They realized that CFO is not simply a path to CEO. Rather, it’s just as formative to a company’s inner workings as the rest of the C-suite. CFOs are not just gatekeepers of the finances; they are influential strategic players. As the economy took a downturn a few years ago, CFO’s had the power to make key decisions about how a business would navigate the crisis. This...
Cutting Global M&A Integration Costs Through IT

Cutting Global M&A Integration Costs Through IT

When 2015 made history as the biggest M&A year on record, with global volume surpassing $5 trillion according to Dealogic, industry watchers began to make bold predictions about 2016 being just as strong, if not stronger. Bigger deals, a slowing IPO tech market, and the ripple effects of a market correction are expected to fuel this year’s M&A activity. But is this really a good thing when roughly half of all M&A deals fail to create shareholder value, according to findings from Boston Consulting Group. While there are lots of factors that contribute to the success or failure of an M&A deal, post acquisition integration is one of the most critical. Specifically, the integration of financial systems and business processes. Done right, this is one area where a company can save significant M&A costs. Having been involved in several M&A transactions throughout my career, I learned three valuable lessons about successful post M&A integration. First, don’t wait for the deal to close to get your infrastructure in place. Second, the right infrastructure will make your behind-the-scenes transition invisible to customers. Third, finance and IT need to be in lockstep throughout the entire process to accelerate the integration. Let’s delve into each of these points. Don’t Wait for the Deal to Close Oftentimes, an acquisition highlights the organization’s need for a more flexible financial reporting system overall. The deal puts a deadline on it. Yet hasty moves to quickly integrate financial and organizational data and business processes from both companies can cost more time and money in the long run than if the right infrastructure was already in place. For this...
A Guide to Outsourcing Your Financial Operations

A Guide to Outsourcing Your Financial Operations

At the inception of every company, the founders and first employees take on every task themselves. Working from the ground up requires some multi-tasking, staying small, and thinking frugally. But as the company grows, some things will outgrow the capabilities of the current employees. This is not a negative, but rather a sign of positive expansion. Growing beyond your core competencies is a sign of success. The challenge with thriving in this way is knowing when to let go of some internal functions in favor of outsourcing. Outsourcing any type of business operation can be risky, and many professionals fear the mishandling of their business or failure not caused directly by the main players. While trust is a precious commodity in business, the benefits of outsourcing generally overtake these apprehensions. Hiring a third party to take on some of your responsibilities is cost effective if your time and energy is more effectively spent in other ways. It also helps to have an expert devoted to specific tasks to streamline your operations. An expert’s depth of knowledge is going to help achieve success faster and more accurately, even if you were managing well beforehand. Regardless of how you feel about outsourcing, you may not know where to start. What financial operations should you send to outside firms to complete? This answer to this question should begin with an examination of what is important to you and your company. Core Values Financial operations is one of the most commonly outsourced areas because it does not create a competitive advantage. Thinking about what is central to your company is where you should...
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