The mid-December conference call was 45 minutes old, CFO Brad Kinnish says, when he began to feel edgy.
One of the company’s biggest deals of the year had yet to close, and the specifics behind its commission structure (or lack thereof) had led a number of the call’s participants to begin to flag potential snags.
As time passed and commissions continued to dominate the discussion, Kinnish found that he could no longer remain on the sidelines.Read More
“Hey, look, team—I think we’re spending time on the wrong thing here. I think we need to be spending time on closing this deal and getting it done. I need you to trust me that we’re going to pay a commission that’s fair to the sales leaders, fair to the sales reps, and fair to the company” are the words that Kinnish recalls saying as he charged the group to not begin waving red flags outside of the mechanics of the specific deal and to put their trust in him.
“I needed to rely on the fact that I had built relationships with these people and had built trust and could get them to refocus on what needed to get done in order to win the deal and close the quarter,” recalls Kinnish, who uses his story about “the mid-December call” to help close the loop on a CFO leadership journey that began with a job rejection.
Years earlier, Kinnish remembers, when he was interviewing for his first CFO role, he scored well during his management interviews only to receive a thumbs-down from the company’s board. Later, a board member confided to Kinnish that he had focused too much on his accounting and analytics experience.
“In my mind, what she was telling me was that finance and accounting knowledge is foundational—that the question that you needed to answer was how else you could influence and lead,” explains Kinnish, who believes that the board was looking for indications that he was ready to muster the type of leadership that he so confidently summoned forward on the mid-December call.
As for the call’s outcome, Kinnish reports: “It worked. We went back and focused on the deal. Won the deal. Closed the quarter. Made our number and paid the commission on the back end.” –Jack Sweeney
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CFOTL: Tell us about Aryaka. What does it do and what are its offerings today?
Kinnish: Our tagline is “The Cloud-First WAN Company.” We deliver as a managed service. For nontechnical people: This means that we provide connectivity to the Internet and data centers and connectivity among branch offices. We take away the complexity via our managed services approach. Our offerings really have three pieces: We provide a box, we provide the network, and we provide the managed services. As a result, we compete against two different types of players. We compete against telcos such as Verizon and Lumen, in terms of providing network services, and we compete against box vendors such as Silver Peak and Versa.Read More
We have more than 400 employees today. We’re in five different geographical locations and have been accelerating our growth rate over the past six quarters. We’re still private. As a finance and accounting team, we try to bring data and analytics to every decision. We of course do this in all of the traditional ways with our financial statements. But more and more, what companies need to do and what management teams and investors are looking for are key metrics around things such as sales velocity or sales efficiency. Thus we spend a lot of time on that. We’re a growth company and we’re a technology company, so we’re not overly focused on profitability and EBITDA. We’re more focused on our growth.
Much of our value-added reporting comes around things such as sales growth. What are our new bookings and where did they come from? How did our funnel go from a lead to a qualified lead to a sale? What was the average size of our sale? What were the geo splits of our sales? How much money did we get for those sales? What’s your CAC—your customer acquisition cost? What’s your customer lifetime value? These types of data and analytics no carry a disproportionate weight in terms of when we do financial reporting, whether it’s on a monthly or quarterly or yearly basis. This is when our executives and our board members tend to spend more time on these things and when they derive more value from the analytics that we provide.
VALUE QUOTE: “What management teams and investors are looking for are key metrics around sales velocity or sales efficiency. … Data and analytics now carry a disproportionate weight in terms of when we do financial reporting, whether it’s on a monthly or quarterly or yearly basis.” jb
Aryaka | www.aryaka.com | San Mateo, CA