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Selling to the CFO, the Brennan IT way

Hafizah Osman | June 9, 2017
Traditionally viewed as the toughest sell of all, here’s how can the channel can change tack when negotiating with the CFO.

"Do they prefer to purchase outright?" he asked. "Do they pay annually? Are they cash flow positive? Are they looking to change their business model?

"It depends on the state of the business you're selling into as to whether they want their assets on sheet or off sheet, whether they want to go to an OPEX type of payment model, or whether they are cash positive and they want to continue those investments."

In working across industries such as government, retail, healthcare, financial services, hospitality and manufacturing, Barlow said Brennan IT has responded to the changing face of the buyer through better enabling its sales team.

"We need to be able to talk on a financial level, in terms of having a balance sheet conversation," he added. "We also need to articulate clearly the business outcomes rather than just a commodotised price."

In addition, Barlow also addressed the need for the "one throat to choke" conversation, with CFOs still aware of brand reputation and a single point of contact for an end-to-end solution.

"They just need to know that they get the right escalation response when needed and they've got the right contract matrix for one throat to choke," he added.

"Our jobs are much more complex these days because it's that end- to-end stakeholder management that's important, with the CFO being a significant stakeholder across that decision making process. It's become less about the finance and more about the business outcome."


Tech choices

In moving away from the human calculator type view that previously dominated channel opinion of CFOs, the finance department is now showing its worth from a technology perspective also.

Because across Australia, the role of the CFO is shifting.

Following decades of traditional cost management responsibilities, local businesses are now calling upon finance to step beyond spreadsheets and numbers, to help the organisation identify new opportunities to drive growth in the future.

Specifically, Barlow said Brennan IT are engaged with CFOs around the adoption of cloud, unified communications (UC) and ways to maximise collaboration tools.

"They're very happy with a hybrid cloud approach," he said. "It's a slightly different approach to enterprise and mid-market, where we're seeing a great adoption of cloud and UC collaboration.

"But we're still seeing strong adoption of services such as Skype for Business into a single platform, collaboration, and video conferencing - that has been a great take-up for us."

As cloud technology adoption continues to grow in Australia, and investments increase alongside, Taylor mirrored Barlow's observations, acknowledging the value of moving business process to the skies.

"Cloud-based technologies are the game changer for the next five to 10 years," Taylor added. "Certainly, moving towards a cloud-based environment makes a lot of sense - you're avoiding the capital investment in hardware and communications infrastructure.


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