Back in 2008, Chad Gold was working for Home Depot as an FP&A professional when the economic downturn upended the home building market and summoned him to the retailer’s forecasting front lines.
“Finance had to be ahead of the business as far as thinking through all the different scenarios went because the housing markets were changing literally day to day,” comments Gold, who observes that the crisis revealed to him how the finance team must always be out in front “looking around corners.”Read More
After several years with the giant retailer and multiple promotions, Gold says, he began to grow frustrated as the flow of promotions slowed down despite his willingness to take on big projects in different functions.
Then, one day, an issue involving one of his projects “blew up.”
“My boss sat me down late at night and on a whiteboard drew some stair steps with a line that went from the bottom to the top of the 10 steps. ‘You’re so focused on wanting to step from the bottom to the top that you’re missing out on all of these incremental learnings,’” Gold recalls him saying.
Gold says that he took the message to heart and uncovered new opportunities to satisfy his FP&A appetite inside Home Depot’s growing merger-and-acquisition activities.
“No one was offering to go work in M&A, and I said that I’d be happy to go do it,” remarks Gold, who estimates that he applied his FP&A acumen over time to 20 different acquisitions, including some postmerger integration work in China.
Says Gold: “I said, ‘Well, I’ve never been to China before, so why not?’”
Today, as CFO of SalesLoft, Gold says that his Home Depot experiences revealed to him how FP&A functions are built over time and ultimately yield different tools for the organization to leverage to allow Finance to become a more valuable partner.
He explains: “There are certain foundational things in FP&A that you simply have to have in order to partner—the business partnership and collaboration are just the last part.” –Jack Sweeney
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CFOTL: Tell us about SalesLoft. What does this company do, and what are its offerings today?
GOLD: SalesLoft’s vision is for every seller to be loved by the buyers whom they serve. When you get down to what our technology does, many people are familiar with modern CRM—Salesforce, for example. SalesLoft is an engagement layer or communication layer that sits on top of modern CRMs like Salesforce and Dynamics. It enables reps by setting up a work flow for sellers or anybody who communicates with customers to directly interact with them. We can connect to their email system, we can become their phone system, we can connect directly to social. This workflow is a way for companies to codify their go-to-market in our technology.Read More
This makes reps way more efficient because they’re spending their day in SalesLoft, communicating with customers. All of their activities are then synced directly back to the CRM for people like me who inevitably are going to ask what’s going on with customers. This really gives reps a tool to be able to do their job better, but at the same time, it still gives me the visibility that I need. The modern CRM wasn’t built for this—it was built to warehouse data.
Our core product that we started with is what we call Cadence, or our main work flow. In addition to this, we have a Conversation Intelligence product that allows you to record and transcribe calls and then provides you with visibility to better coach your reps to share calls with other parties, take snippets, and circulate with customers. In addition to Conversation Intelligence, we also have a Deals product that allows sellers to directly manage their pipeline in SalesLoft, which gives better data and stronger forecasts.
Our biggest differentiator in the market is that while there are other sales engagement providers, we’re the only one that has all of these products for one platform.
At SalesLoft, we continue to focus on building an incredible company that has an opportunity to potentially be public one day. The biggest things on which I’ll be focused over the next 12 months are continuing to drive operational discipline and scaling efficiently. I view this as one of my primary responsibilities. We’re growing very fast. We need to invest, we need to be aggressive, but we need to make sure that we’re balancing this with benchmarks and being efficient at the same time. My team and I are spending a lot of time partnering with our peers in Revenue, Product, and Customer Success to make sure that we’re aligned on how we scale the business.
We’re also continuing to scale our Finance function at SalesLoft. We continue to build out the FP&A team. This is an incredibly important function when you think about becoming a stand-alone public company. We also need to be thinking about the resources in which we would need to invest in order to be prepared to go public—tax, investor relations, internal audit, and so on.
And then there is really one of my favorite parts of the job, which is spending time externally with investors—both investors in SalesLoft and, more important, folks who have never heard our story before. My CEO and I are continuing to look for opportunities to do fireside chats at investor conferences and things like that so that we can share the story of how our company got to where it is and where we see it going in the future.
“The first months as a CFO can feel overwhelming at times, as everyone wants you to fix everything at once. Pick a few key initiatives to tackle immediately and focus on incremental progress every day. Early wins will give you a strong foundation to build from beyond your first 90 days.” –Chad Gold, CFO, SalesLoft
SalesLoft | www.salesloft.com | Atlanta, GA