CFOs Scuppering Your Deals? Here’s Salesforce Advice for Winning Them Over

CX vendors are seeing increased deal closing times, with decisions often escalated up to the C-suite. So, what do CFOs look for in a CX solution?

acquisition deal
Loyalty ManagementNews Analysis

Published: September 23, 2022

Zac Wang

It seemed like it was just yesterday that CX companies like Avaya and Five9 were reporting record revenues, riding high on the wave of a COVID-induced rush to the cloud and increased digitization of contact centers. 

Things have turned much more somber over the past few months. 

As deal cycles lengthen and companies start to scrutinize every purchase decision, CX vendors are now contending with more decision makers to convince during their sales pitches. CFOs, in particular, are being pulled into deals way more than in the past, according to CX executives during recent earnings calls. 

“I’m getting more and more calls from sales teams, and they are generally complaining that CFOs are suddenly showing up in the middle of their deals. And they’re coming in at the last minute. They’re asking a lot of questions,” said Amy Weaver, CFO of Salesforce, during the company’s annual Dreamforce conference.  

Weaver said her teams were now constantly asking her, “what do CFOs want?”, quipping that it was almost as if CFOs were “this very strange life form that has just come out.” 

Salesforce might know a thing or two about what CFOs are looking for. The company recently announced yet another quarter of double-digit growth, with revenue up 22% from last year. But the CRM and CX vendor also launched its first ever share buyback program, a sign that it was potentially battening down the hatches in preparation for an upcoming recession. 

Weaver said the first thing CFOs look for is growth. She said: 

“I think that there is this idea that the first thing a CFO looks for is cost. But I know the CFO, along with the CEO and every other member of the C-suite, wants growth. It’s going to make everything easier, and that’s the type of tools that they’re looking for.” 

Cost savings come second, said Weaver. She said it was important for vendors to showcase the time to value of their products, and highlight their ROI, or return on investment.  

“Customer expectations never go down. They only head in one direction,” said the CFO.  

The shift of contact centers to the cloud is proof that costs are, indeed, still very much top of mind, during both good and bad times. 

Weaver made the example of Salesforce’s partnership with ADT, which saw the security company reduce the number of callouts by almost 40 percent through Salesforce Service Cloud. Shifting customer interactions online not only reduced costs, but also made things easier for customers. As a cherry on top, it also helped save on emissions. 

The third thing CFOs look for, according to Weaver, is efficiency, which often comes through automation. She said: 

“Companies are facing pretty much one of two situations right now. They’re either trying to moderate headcount or they’re in the opposite position where they are desperately trying to hire and yet with this hot job market that is continuing, they’re not able to bring in enough people.” 

She said this environment puts both kinds of companies in the same situation, where automation can help contain workforce costs while eliminating rote tasks for staff. 

“It’s never been more important. Literally every conversation I’ve had with CFOs in the last six months has been about driving efficiencies, especially when you’re in uncertain times,” said Weaver.

She added that automation can also help retain current employees, by improving their work life balance and ensuring working conditions are more pleasant.  

“If you don’t adjust your sails during turbulent weather, you’re going to get blown off course,” said Weaver. 

The CFO’s insights come as Salesforce released Contact Center Genie, a tech solution that brings together all customer communication channels and attempts to save companies money and time through next-level AI and automation features.

Brands mentioned in this article.


Share This Post