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612: The Rewards of Customer Insight | David Wells, CFO, ENDRA Life Sciences

CFO THOUGHT LEADER

Release Date: 07/01/2020

698: Decomposing Business Metrics | Ross Tennenbaum, CFO, Avalara show art 698: Decomposing Business Metrics | Ross Tennenbaum, CFO, Avalara

CFO THOUGHT LEADER

It’s no secret that the herculean effort required to keep corporate board meetings on time frequently involves tracking the arrivals of certain board member attendees. Of course, the most anticipated arrival inside the boardroom is often not a board member at all, but a new business measure or yardstick commonly referred to as a metric. And just as board members often hail from faraway places, so too do metrics. Or so explains Ross Tennenbaum, a former investment banker, who in 2020 stepped into the CFO office at Avalara, a developer of tax compliance software. “I’m obsessed about...

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697: A SPAC Puts Leafy Greens on the Menu  | Guy Blanchard, CFO, AeroFarms show art 697: A SPAC Puts Leafy Greens on the Menu | Guy Blanchard, CFO, AeroFarms

CFO THOUGHT LEADER

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696: Ascending the Funnel | Darrell Cox, CFO, Vena Solutions show art 696: Ascending the Funnel | Darrell Cox, CFO, Vena Solutions

CFO THOUGHT LEADER

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Trust & the Individual show art Trust & the Individual

CFO THOUGHT LEADER

Featuring the Workplace Champions CFO Arleen Paladino of Crum & Forster CFO Guy Blanchard of Aerofarms CFO Mike Rasic of Synapse CFO Ross Tennenbaum of Avalara

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CFO THOUGHT LEADER

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CFO THOUGHT LEADER

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693: Building Individual Trust | Mike Rasic, CFO, Synapse show art 693: Building Individual Trust | Mike Rasic, CFO, Synapse

CFO THOUGHT LEADER

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CFO THOUGHT LEADER

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CFO THOUGHT LEADER

When Rob Krolik agreed to join us for a CFO (emeritus) episode, we expected to hear about the successful business turnaround chapter that he added to his finance resume while CFO at Move.com. We also anticipated learning about his years at Yelp, where—back in 2011, as the firm’s new CFO—he was credited with helping to lead one of the year’s most successful IPOs. While Krolik was only too happy to share a few thoughts regarding both of these chapters, he also reflected on a place in time about which we never expected to hear—namely, when a speech delivered by the outgoing president of...

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CFO THOUGHT LEADER

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Back in the mid-1990s, David Wells was a financial analyst for a Bay Area supply chain management company that boasted an impressive list of Silicon Valley marquee customers.

Counted among their clients was a large chip maker whose customer relationship upkeep had over time become Wells’s responsibility. Because this was a coveted customer, Wells always sought to be highly responsive to any of the chip maker’s requests for information, but he increasingly found his company’s pricing model out of step with the customer’s needs.

“There was a lot of confusion and a lot frustration over what the prices for our services and products should be. Basically, we needed a much more sophisticated pricing model that the customer would accept,” recalls Wells.

Faced with growing customer unrest, Wells and a colleague created a new pricing model that was carefully tailored for the chip maker’s business.

Says Wells: “It was very intricate and more specific, but it was modeled exactly the way the customer saw their business.”

The customer quickly gave the new model a thumbs-up, and all was well—until roughly 4 months later, when Wells realized that the new model was about to deliver to his company a windfall that would generate 4 to 5 months of revenue within only 6 weeks.

“When I saw what was happening, I went to the customer and said, ‘Listen, this model that we built … there’s kind of a flaw in it. It’s a flaw in our favor, but we didn’t intend for this to happen and we don’t want you to view us as being unethical,’” recalls Wells.

To Wells’s surprise, the chip maker was not concerned about the imminent financial swell of its purchases. It was instead highly pleased to have had a model created specifically with its needs and requirements in mind.  

“What this taught me was that as a CFO you’ve got to understand the customer and you’ve got to understand your business,” explains Wells, who believes that finance chiefs must first have visibility into customer engagements to better understand the inner workings of relationships with them.   

He continues: “If you can distill it down into tools that will then quantify the activity, then as CFO you’ll be in perfect shape to make the right decisions both for the customer and for your company.” –Jack Sweeney