CFOs and airplanes

This email was sent 18th of August 2022

Hi there,

95% of the B2B SaaS companies I’ve spoken to run their revenue plans through their CFO.

The thing is they’re not the best people to predict revenue, so why are they doing it?

CFOs being in charge of revenue is like an artist being in charge of building an airplane.

They draw a plane according to how they want it to look and work.

Once the drawing is done, a team of engineers is tasked to build it and reverse engineer the drawing to make blueprints and put it together.

There immediately see issues with the design.

The engine is too small, the wings are a weird shape, and it simply won’t fly.

The problem? The board loves the drawing, so figure it out folks!

Now who gets fired at the end of the day when the plan inevitably doesn’t fly?

Here’s a hint, it’s not the artist.

When the CFO plans revenue from the top-down, that’s exactly what happens.

A lot of CFOs today that have been in charge of revenue, or have very strong opinions about the revenue line item, do it because they need to think about their budget (and especially cash flow).

However, what I think CFOs need to start realizing is that they are not the experts in go-to-market. They are actually not the best person in the organization to figure out how much revenue their organization is going to produce in a year, yet they are given the mandate.

I think that is the problem.

How can RevOps change that?

Our goal should be to partner with the CFO to build revenue and cost plans right from the beginning and ensure your plan reflects the ability of the go-to-market teams to scale through the year.

So start having conversations with leadership and show the value of bringing you and your RevOps team early in the process.

This way both Finance and RevOps can make a plane that will not only take off but reach its destination.

Now how do you start that conversation? It’s tricky and depends on a few things.

But if you do want more advice on how to start, just send me an email. I’m always happy to chat.

By the way, I’m on Spotify now! I’ve just launched a new podcast, The Revenue Formula, going into deep dives on topics just like this.

You can subscribe to it here or search The Revenue Formula on your favorite podcast app.


Toni Hohlbein
Co-founder & CEO

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