Ask the expert: how can I convince a prospect’s finance team to work with us?
In this monthly column, Ask The Expert, we aim to provide readers with practical advice on how to grow their businesses.
Greg Watts is our resident expert. He is CEO of Findr, the AI matching platform for fintechs and their partners, and also the founder of Demand Creation Partners, a London-based growth consultancy that helps fintechs and paytechs to scale. A visiting lecturer at the American University in Paris and regular industry speaker, he was previously head of market acceleration at Visa Europe.
QUESTION 29: How can I convince a prospect’s finance team to work with us?
Here’s a scenario I’ve often encountered when working with fintechs to help accelerate their partnership efforts: You’ve had a successful first discovery meeting with a prospect. You’ve validated your assumptions about their business, and they understand how your solution can enhance their proposition.
Now you need to demonstrate how it will impact their bottom line. You’ve been asked to meet their finance team to develop a business case. The question is, how do you persuade them to sign a partnership?
Here are three simple tips to get the agreement over the line:
- Clarify their goals.
Demonstrate an understanding of their business and how your offering adds value. Based on their strategic and commercial goals, discuss how your offering will help them. For example, will it:
- Reduce operational costs – for example, processing fees or activation charges?
- Drive more customers to shop with them?
- Increase engagement and the average transaction value of existing customers?
- Reduce time spent at the checkout?
- Increase basket abandonment and conversion?
- Reduce fraud?
- Improve the overall customer experience? If so, how?
- Show them the money – get modelling.
Now that you’ve shown how you can support them, create a value model in an excel spreadsheet to validate your assumptions and use it as a tool to secure the chief financial officer’s (CFO’s) buy-in.
Gather inputs by reviewing annual reports, financial statements and other sources of public information that provide deep, factual insights into the prospect’s business. Consider the following:
- What was last year’s turnover? How does it compare year-on-year? What are this year’s targets?
- What is their average margin? What are the most and least profitable areas of their business?
- How is their cost base constructed?
- What are their average basket sizes?
- What is the frequency of customer shops?
- What are their engagement rates?
- What are their average transaction times?
Show you’ve done your homework by producing a draft model for the meeting that can be validated by the prospect and even modelled further together.
If approached correctly, the CFO and their finance team will relish the opportunity to co-create with you at an early stage – producing a collaboration model that becomes the basis for a business case and commercial targets that both parties buy into.
- Be clear about the level of resource required from the prospect.
Many fintechs claim to have minimal or no integration required, but that’s rarely the case. It’s important to be candid about the resources required for success and to build it into the business case and development plan that the retailer or bank signs up to.
Being evasive or unclear risks the loss of trust – or worse, the fledgling partnership being brought to a halt. The fact is, no one likes feeling they’ve had the wool pulled over their eyes.
Bringing it all together.
As a fintech, you’ve invested significant time trying to secure a meeting with a prospect, and they like what they see.
To ensure the partnership comes together, frame your solution in a way that supports their goals. Don’t make the mistake of making it all about you – it needs to be about how you’ll add value to their business.
Doing your homework and building a commercial case together from the second meeting should yield dividends.