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Selling To The CFO vs CIO

I save and make businesses money, and do not get paid until any of my recommendations are approved, implemented, and the results are formally documented as credits on bills, or cash in bank. My partner is a specialist that worked in revenue retention for major telcos. CFOs get the no-brainer offering. However, although our work is strictly financial, they always defer the final decision to IT, who are not billing experts. The Director of IT or CIO always turns down the proposition, and the CFO follows suit. We have excellent references that will attest to rewards of tens to hundreds of thousands in credits and reimbursements, per month or in direct reimbursement. My assumption is that peers do not want to audit peers. Why do CFOs not stand up for the financial benefit of their institutions? Am I addressing the wrong contacts? Is there a better approach or champion within an institution I should be contacting? Thanks to anyone who helps here - I'm at a loss!

Answers

Topic Expert
Wayne Spivak
Title: President & CFO
Company: SBAConsulting.com
LinkedIn Profile
(President & CFO, SBAConsulting.com) |

The problem is that every "Tom, Dick & Harry" sells the same "service", and the opinion is "yeah, right".

You need the CFO from successful engagements to reach out to other potential customers.

Joe Panther
Title: Customer Relationship Manager
Company: Billing Advocates
(Customer Relationship Manager, Billing Advocates) |

Thank you Wayne!

I have CFOs who are references - but they generally do not "reach out". That being said, CFOs get the picture, particularly when they do call upon our references.

My wall, and that of the CFO is with IT. Seems the CFO can buy in all day, but IT has the final word - even on billing services - a purely financial endeavor. To be fair, neither finance or IT should be expected to have the specialization required to do this work properly.

"yeah right" applies to us all in consulting:) I just have this unique and pervasive barrier to overcome. The pay off is always there - and is usually significant (when applied to the right markets).

Does SBA have expertise that could help - or do you have a recommendation?

Topic Expert
Wayne Spivak
Title: President & CFO
Company: SBAConsulting.com
LinkedIn Profile
(President & CFO, SBAConsulting.com) |

The argument to make with both the CFO & CIO in the room (even better if you can get the CEO) is:

Is anyone currently investigating these invoices? - the answer will be no usually.

The CIO will say "we can do that". You then can ask a series of questions ranging from:

Why haven't you done so in the past, you've left considerable money on the table to What systems and assets do you have in place to do this audit? What will be the cost in both time and money to implement said software, keep it up to date and perform the audit?

Odds are, they will stumble and again you make your pitch - no savings, no cost to you Mr/Ms Customer. I'm basically finding you "free" money.

Randy Moore
Title: CFO
Company: SJB Bagel Makers
(CFO, SJB Bagel Makers) |

Joe - it may be that you are not speaking their language.
I had the opposite situation the other day. I was talking with someone about their IT services who kept saying he could save me money. I asked how. He would then ramble on with technobabble. I told him three times to use common English to explain his service. Then I gave up and wished him well.
If he could explain his service, I might have been interested but we'll never know.

Joe Panther
Title: Customer Relationship Manager
Company: Billing Advocates
(Customer Relationship Manager, Billing Advocates) |

My experience is consistent. The CIO/IT Director knows too well that their spend is too high. The CFO sees the value of a no brainer analysis/audit - but even with their best advocacy, IT will use every tactic to dismiss. A recent prospect was a notable health system, where the CFO was a strong advocate, but was beaten down by an IT Director who would not stop dictating (not negotiating) a ridiculous fee structure. God knows how many tens of thousands of dollars this institution is losing per month.

My question is really quite simple - why is IT given such absolute control over the finances of one of the largest areas of spend in larger institutions? Why is the CFO's hands so tied? Does a board member need to be the primary prospect so that internal political correctness is put in check?

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

Joe,

There may be a flaw (denial?) in your thinking. CFOs are ultimately in charge of managing expenses or "finding money". If the CFO deems it will save the company some dollars (especially in his area of responsibility, which includes AR) or "find money", he will pursue it, damn what the CIO says.

Have you ever entertained the idea that the CFO is not really buying (not convinced?) what you are saying/selling and just using the CIO as an excuse/fall guy ? I have covered (used) for some decisions my fellow C-Suite have made and they for me.

Joe Panther
Title: Customer Relationship Manager
Company: Billing Advocates
(Customer Relationship Manager, Billing Advocates) |

Joe:

Often I hear from the CFO that he is in if the CIO/IT Director is in. In your opinion, Is this diversion - or something else?

Anonymous
(CFO) |

Hmmmmm....Joe is talking to Joe. Same Customer Relationship Manager title.

Joe Panther
Title: Customer Relationship Manager
Company: Billing Advocates
(Customer Relationship Manager, Billing Advocates) |

My Bad - Question was meant for Emerson

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

It is a cop out. I think you still have NOT fully convinced the CFO (as you claimed on your post.).

Joe Panther
Title: Customer Relationship Manager
Company: Billing Advocates
(Customer Relationship Manager, Billing Advocates) |

Thanks Emerson:

You would know best! How do I call finance on their bluff? Finance seems consistently adamant that IT is the decision point for Telco billing analysis. What high level approach to Finance for a service like mine would you suggest?

Joe Panther
Title: Customer Relationship Manager
Company: Billing Advocates
(Customer Relationship Manager, Billing Advocates) |

Anyone:

What high level approach to Finance for a service like mine would you suggest?

We sell nothing, have no agency agreements, and gain our income solely upon production of documented savings and in-bank reimbursements from bill analysis. There are no fees for any recommendations we make that a client chooses not to implement, and our contract includes a no questions asked 30 day termination clause.

The truth is the amount of WF&A we uncover is substantial - and our findings are not always handled well by internal staff who are unfairly expected to have the level of expertise needed for the depth of analysis we perform. Perhaps this is a major stumbling block?

Clients include notable and referenceable Health Systems such as UHS, and associations such the ABA.

Thank you all for your feedback!

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