3 Conversation Starters for Selling the CFO on the Cloud

I’m a marketing person. And for those of you who understand the intricacies of balance sheets, NPV, FPV and all other finance-related terms, you know that numbers are not usually a marketer’s strong point.

However, in the past few years, we’ve seen a significant shift in marketing. Instead of talking about the latest and greatest advertisement, brand awareness or the number of press releases sent out on a monthly basis, marketers now need to be prepared to discuss conversion rate, cost per lead, contribution to revenue and opportunity value creation. Metrics have become paramount to any discussion with the CFO, particularly when budget time rolls around.

As a result of needing to dig into the numbers to justify our marketing budget, I’ve learned a few things about talking to the CFO that can help you on your quest to move to the cloud.

1.       “Here’s what that means in financial terms.”

Even your grandmother has heard about the cloud and all its benefits such as “easy scalability” But, to the typical CFO, it sounds like, “Blah, blah, blah,” unless you put it into financial terms that matter. Explain exactly what you are paying now, the related current capital expenditures, the expected upgrade and maintenance costs and what you’ll save both short-term and long-term by moving to the cloud. If you get stuck, refer to the Frost & Sullivan, “Total Cost of Ownership” study that compares cloud-based contact solutions with premise-based systems.

2.       “We’ll only pay for what we need.”

If I was a CFO, my question back would be, “How much are we paying now for what we DON’T need or only use occasionally?” This is your opportunity to explain that for most premise-based systems, you need to buy everything up-front. If you have a seasonal business where you may need to max out at 200 ports, but only need 100 ports for the rest of the year, you’ll pay for those 200 ports all year. Show the CFO the hard cost savings of paying for what you need vs. taking those ports to the cloud.

3.       “I’ll be able to provide reports that show how effectively we are using all our resources and human capital.”

A CFO’s life is based in metrics and numbers and finance executives are innately curious. They want to understand how every department in the organization is investing their piece of the budget, and the kinds of returns they’re seeing.  No one knows better than the CFO that people and equipment are expensive. They are even more costly when you can’t get a handle on what you really need.  Minutes or even hours that agents sit idle take away from your organization’s profits. And, if you can’t get metrics such as average answer time per agent, average talk time per agent, and even average revenue per agent, you are really operating blindly.

Explain the type of reporting you’ll be able to deliver as a result of moving to a cloud-based provider. And get your CFO’s heart really racing by talking about how you’ll be able to filter data by any combination of agent, team, skill or campaign and drill down into data for more detail than you’ve ever had before that will enable you to improve profitability. Better yet, show your CFO an example of the charts and graphs you’ll be able to now see and how it will give C-level visibility into contact center activity.