By Eric Mersch
In today’s business world, the rate of innovation is higher than ever, more sales and marketing have been driven online and as a result, more data and insights are needed to support more rapid decision-making.
Chief Financial Officers are the leaders managing the systems that produce and hold this information and are therefore, best positioned to seek out the insights necessary to drive both strategy and execution.
Our clients at FLG increasingly expect us to contribute operationally, often asking us as CFOs to serve in the COO role. In my various CFO roles, I’ve collaboratively and proactively worked with leaders across functional areas to generate operating leverage in the business model. Managing accurate and timely financial statements is table-stakes in this profession, but operational experience has become a primary competency for today’s CFO. As CFOs have broadened their roles and skillsets, they have increasingly moved toward the Chief Operating Officer role.
The CFO in the combined CFO/COO role (CxO) sits at a natural vantage point from which to serve as an even more strategic partner to a CEO than the CFO role. The CEO leads with the vision and the CFO supports the vision with a strategic framework shaped by experience and a mastery of the company’s operational data as well as its financial data. In this way, the CFO, helps to build a deeper and more comprehensive strategic focus and guidance for the Management team, the Board and key stakeholders.
In Technology companies, the synergies which result from combining the CFO and COO roles couldn’t be more important to optimizing performance across the enterprise.
- Starting at the top of the funnel in Marketing, operational CFOs seek to maximize marketing channel performance, increasingly focusing on content marketing and account-based marketing, or ABM.
- In Sales, we seek a high sales cycle efficiency through better enabling sales reps and better customer education, automating as much of the process to keep labor costs down.
- In Customer Success, we seek to on board customers to increase implementation effectiveness and to achieve the highest possible probability of adoption. Customer success efficiency relies upon identifying and tracking the metrics most likely to provide insights on customer behavior, which, in turn, helps us better predict retention.
- In Product Development, product and engineering teams require customer behavior insights as well as feedback from the ecosystem to support new functionality.
- In G&A, we look for gaps in key end-to-end processes such as the sales cycle, customer monitoring, and new product introduction and evaluate technologies to fill these gaps. We use our insights to reorganize for better response to real-time feedback.
At FLG Partners, we’re always looking for new ways to add value to our clients. Becoming operational as well as financial partners to our CEOs just makes great business sense.