Gone are the days when Chief Financial Officers focused solely on finances. In the wake of the recent recession, today’s CFOs are coming to the table in matters relating to the strategic purchasing of products and services.
According to a recent report by Accenture, “Seventy-five percent say that the CFO’s role in supporting strategic decision making has increased in the past two years.” CFOs are much more involved in the strategies and solution options that frame the entire B2B buying process.
To be successful, B2B marketers must take into account the greater scale of influence a CFO has on a purchase decision. Appealing to a CFO is quite different from marketing to other C-level executives. CFOs have their own unique set of psychological triggers influencing their buying decisions.
When attempting to engage a CFO, here are some key components your B2B content marketing strategy needs to encompass to dominate the buyer decision process.
NINE WAYS TO ENSURE YOUR B2B CONTENT MEETS CFOS’ NEEDS
CONSIDER PSYCHOLOGY OF BUYER PURCHASE DECISIONS
When analyzing a solution, CFOs look at financial value first and foremost. Due to their financial background, CFOs typically keep a close eye on costs and risks associated with a purchase. Catchy headlines, product demos and glossy brochures are usually not enough to influence this buyer’s decision process. Content must be relevant to be effective. Research your target company’s financial needs, ensuring your marketing materials meet their financial due diligence requirements. Second, attempt to view your solution from a financial mindset, preparing questions to probe your offering. Incorporate that angle into your marketing materials. Third, determine the core values of your targeted company. Examine the company website and review the CFO’s social profiles to see if any consistent themes or ideas emerge. Incorporate your findings into your sales collateral to prove your offering represents the best possible value.
STATISTICAL INSIGHTS DRIVE BUYER PURCHASE DECISIONS
CFOs are typically data-centered, preferring statistics and real-world examples. When researching and considering solutions, CFOs look for hard facts that demonstrate a clear return on investment.
According to recent IDC surveys, the B2B buying process is driven by how well decision makers believe the proposed offering will improve business growth (30 percent), profitability (25 percent) and reduce costs (22 percent).
Marketing needs to express an understanding of the company’s most pressing issues, and outline strategies for business growth and reducing costs.
Include statistics and research-backed numbers to prove your offering is above the status quo. Incorporate testimonials, case studies and white papers in your marketing mix.
PROVIDE DIAGNOSTIC CONTENT
Let’s put things in terms CFOs really understand. Convert qualitative data into quantitative measures. Share benchmarks and research proven practices with CFOs, so they can easily conduct maturity comparisons and make diagnostic assessments. Moreover, this allows CFOs to see how your guaranteed performance gains measure against business value and strategy.
LEVERAGE THIRD-PARTY SOURCES
CFOs are trained to be skeptical and will seek product info outside your company website and provided collateral. Throughout the research stage, CFOs will rely heavily on peer groups, research analysts and third-party sites to validate solutions.
As a result, try to provide content that gives them the right information they need, so they do not feel the need to gather info from other sites. Supplement this information with third-party endorsements and positive public relations to help boost your credibility.
DON’T PITCH TO BUYERS
We already mentioned that CFOs are interested in hard data. Avoid writing content exclusively promotional, whether it is for your business, a product or a service. If you cannot avoid pitching something, be prepared to have the stats to back it up.
WRITE CONCISE COPY
Avoid using unnecessary fluff in your content. While this is generally true with any online content you write, it is especially true when writing for a CFO. Content assets should illuminate how your solution aligns with company goals, using relevant qualitative data.
Let your audience form their own opinions. Write content that is objective and presents just the facts.
CUSTOMIZE AND TEST YOUR BUYER’S DECISION PROCESS
Make your content even more effective by customizing it specifically for the person and industry you are targeting. Try to understand where the CFO is in the decision-making process, and cater your content to help.
Today’s CFOs do much more than handle finances. The changing role of the CFOs is important to note when planning a B2B marketing campaign. They are a huge part of the decision-making process for many companies. To ignore them is like leaving money on the table.
Ensure your B2B content meets CFO’s needs with this free download on how to create buyer personas for your business.