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Ask the expert: how can I convince a retailer’s CFO and their finance team to work with us?

In this fortnightly 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 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: How can I convince a retailer’s CFO and their finance team to work with us?

Here’s a scenario we often encounter when working with fintechs and paytechs to strengthen their retail sales pipeline: you’ve had a successful first meeting with a prospect. They understand your product and can imagine how it can improve their customer experience.

Now you need to demonstrate how it can 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 some suggestions:

  1. Clarify their goals.

First, you need to demonstrate an understanding of their business and how your offering adds value – as opposed to weighing them down with additional costs or resource complexities.

Based on their strategic and commercial goals, define the benefits can you offer. For example, will you:

  • 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?
  1. Show them the money – get modelling.

Now that you’ve clarified their goals and 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 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. For example:

  • What was last year’s turnover? How did it change year-on-year? What are this year’s targets?
  • What is their margin?
  • 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 average transaction times?

Show you’ve done your homework by producing a draft model for the meeting that can be validated by the prospect at the meeting 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.

  1. Be clear up front about the level of resource required from the retailer.

No one likes feeling they’ve had the wool pulled over their eyes. Especially not when you’re a retailer trying to juggle multiple projects and priorities.

It’s worth noting that many fintechs claim to have minimal or no integration required, but that’s not always the case.

By not being candid about the resources required for success up front, trust may be lost further down the line – or worse – the fledgling partnership may be brought to a halt.

When developing a commercial case and launch plan, it’s better to be frank about how much integration is required and build it into the business case and development plan that the retailer signs up to.

Bringing it all together.

As a fintech, you’ve invested significant time trying to secure a meeting with a top retailer, and they like what they’ve seen at the first meeting.

To ensure the partnership continues to thrive, ensure you frame your solution in a way that supports their goals. Don’t make the mistake of making it all about you – it always needs to be about them and how you’ll add value to their business.

Doing your homework and building a commercial case together from the second meeting should yield dividends.


If you have a question for Greg and would like a practical, no-nonsense answer/advice, please get in touch! We’ll be answering your questions in this column – free and open to everyone.

You can post your questions in the comments section below, email Greg Watts and/or FinTech Futures’ editor, Sharon Kimathi, or get in touch with Greg on LinkedIn.

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