CFO asks 8 questions that marketers must answer

A month or so ago, I was in Washington, DC and met a friend for a drink at the Occidental. He happens be the CFO of a public company. More than 95 percent of its revenue is B2B.

After we caught up on friends and family, the conversation naturally turned to business. Once he learned something of what my colleagues and I are doing, the questions and observations came rocketing forth. Here are some of them:

  1. What exactly do marketers believe that they contribute to the business?
  2. If Marketing is content to focus on awareness and lead generation, then it really is nothing more than pre-Sales. (Ouch.)
  3. How do I know if our marketing organization is effectively deploying their resources?
  4. How can I determine if our marketing department is cost-effective and cost-efficient?
  5. Our Sales team always complains about the support they get from Marketing. How can we tell who is right and who is not doing their jobs effectively?
  6. Is there an objective way to know if we need to increase or decrease our marketing budgets based on the market environment?
  7. Should our marketing department be able to accurately predict its performance just like our sales organization? How far in advance should they be able to do that?
  8. What exactly does marketing do between the time that a lead becomes a sales opportunity and when the deal closes?

In earlier posts, I’ve mentioned a significant survey where 80 percent of CEOs said they did not trust the work done by their marketing departments. Throughout modern history, we find numerous examples where governments have fallen after this sort of no-confidence vote.

One thing is clear — the 20 percent who have earned their CEO’s confidence probably did so by being able to answer questions like these.