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How Best To Connect With CFOs via LinkedIn

For example, suppose there were an excellent opportunity to save a CFO's company a lot of money and boost EBITDA, at a cost set equal to a fixed, small fraction of whatever money would be saved. This sounds quite attractive, but nonetheless, how effectively could it be communicated to the CFO through a LinkedIn connection invitation and follow-on message? And how much information should be loaded into the invitation, and with what tone, to be most effective?


Anders Liu-Lindberg
Title: Regional Finance Business Partner
Company: Maersk Line Northern Europe
LinkedIn Profile
(Regional Finance Business Partner, Maersk Line Northern Europe) |

Honestly I don't see LinkedIn being effective for this at all. 99.9% would write it off as spam.

Gerard van Stijn
Title: Head of Finance
Company: Simon Lévelt B.V.
(Head of Finance, Simon Lévelt B.V.) |

While CFO's will understand that you need to meet sales targets, this would be the best way to ensure they'll never do business with you. They get sales calls all day long, and abusing to Linkedin to send more sales calls drives them away.

Please do not use Linkedin for this. I have had one potential supplier that approached me through Linkedin and would not listen or take no for an answer. I have had to block him and will not do business with suppliers through Linkedin anymore.

Anonymous User
Title: CFO
Company: Local Government Agency
(CFO, Local Government Agency) |

I too get so tired of sales calls. Particularly the ones that use the good old fashioned hard sell: "We can do all of this at no cost to you"

Do they think I just fell off the turnip truck? :-(

The only sales approach I like or will accept is a needs based approach. The hard sell, particularly in B2B, should have died long ago. It just can't be productive. There can't possibly be that many stupid business owners out there who are going to make an impulsive procurement because some sleezeball sales person handled every objection according to some training formula.

Ernie Humphrey CTP
Title: CEO & COO
Company: Treasury Webinars
LinkedIn Profile
(CEO & COO, Treasury Webinars) |

In your example, "I can save a CFO's company a lot of money and boost EBITDA" , you in essence saying that waste in happening under their watch without saying it. If it is a public company and you have specific potential ideas based on on understanding of the company's cost , industries and markets, then you may get some traction. Otherwise, Anders is correct, wasted effort in blasting a standard message. You would have more luck posting a link to case study or whitepaper where your firm has saved companies like the company you are targeting money, again, you must show you have done your homework.

Bradford Marcus
Title: BDO/Account Executive
Company: Atwell Companies, The
(BDO/Account Executive, Atwell Companies, The) |

LinkedIn is designed for networking. I prefer to make a call first speak with the person. Only then send the invitation to connect if it makes sense. Develop the connection and get their email address. Once you have their address you then can send them a personalized email with your case study etc. You can use LinkedIn mail to send a note saying to look out for your email which has information they may / should be interested in.

P.S. if you don't like those sales calls etc you should close your LinkedIn account.

Title: CFO
Company: C-Suite Services
LinkedIn Profile
(CFO, C-Suite Services) |

"Connections" rarely bear fruit. Relationships and people you have helped (without expecting anything in return) does.

Bryan Frey
Title: VP Finance/Corp Controller
(VP Finance/Corp Controller, ) |

Here's the thing. At least speaking for myself, I did not join LinkedIn to be someone's "lead". That is, I didn't join in order to be sold. Being sold to is mostly an annoyance. And for a prior comment that said, "if you don't like those sales calls etc you should close your LinkedIn account", that just fundamentally misunderstands the motivation of LinkedIn members. That's a "sales only" attitude, not a "how do I work with people in a way that works for them" attitude.

So the question is, does sales have a place in LinkedIn? I think it does, but you have to know your audience. As Mr. Humphrey says up above and I agree, you need to give people a reason to want to reach out to you, not expect them to be enamored simply b/c you reached out. If you put forth a compelling blog or white paper or even an inmail, I'll ping you. If you incessantly bug me after I have not responded, I will avoid you and your brand. Thus, state your case without "aggressively selling", and if you succeed in making that case, I will reach out, or sign up for that webinar or download that white paper or what have you. But don't delude yourself into thinking that I'm on LinkedIn to be your sales lead.

Oh, and to de-mystify just one bit further, I get the "we're an excellent way to save your company a lot of money" come on every week from a dozen people. There is zero special or interesting about that message. What's better is "here's how we'll save you $" and spill your guts. Why? Because if it's more than trivial, I'm not going to do it, but you've done me the honor of educating me to the point where I now have some trust/connection to you. Then I'll call.

Jeff Durbin
Title: Chief Financial Officer
Company: F. Gavina and Sons, Inc.
(Chief Financial Officer, F. Gavina and Sons, Inc.) |

I agree with all of these but I think Emerson says it best.

Don't be a leech.


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