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Ultimate CFO Cold Calling Script: Book Meetings With CFOs

Imagine this. 

You’re sitting at your desk. 

You’ve got another long day of cold calls ahead of you. And when you look at your prospecting list, dread takes over you. 

Because one of your prospects is a CFO. 

And you’re thinking:

“Oh shoot! I have no clue how to talk to this person!” 

You don’t have to be in this situation. Because you just need a tailored cold calling script. 

And you’re in luck, as we’ve done the heavy lifting for you. 

We spoke to:

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Why is it important to cold call CFOs?

Here’s the deal:

Even if you’re not focusing on cold calling CFOs, it’s still important to know how to reach out to them. 

Ryan explained why:

“Even though financial leaders aren’t the product evaluators, they’re in control of the budget. Often, people forget to have conversations with CFOs throughout the sales process - this is a mistake. Because finance will be involved in the ultimate decision.”

He added:

“When you cold call the CFO, you’re pre-empting because you’ve got another specific and important evaluator involved with the conversation."

💡 Looking for a CFO email list?

How to research CFOs

Research is crucial, regardless of who you’re prospecting to. 

There’s no point dialling if you haven’t got a real sense of who you’re talking to. Remember that time is precious on a cold call - you’ve got to make every minute count. 

Here are some ways you can prepare ⬇️

Talk to your CFO internally

If you’re an SDR reading this, you might be thinking:

‘I don’t have a clue what a CFO does. I’m not an expert on the ins and outs of finance!’

And Javier agreed:

“It’s very hard to expect an SDR to know every single little thing - they could be fresh out of university, for instance. They’re not used to being in a company that’s gone through a full economic cycle (boom, recession etc.).” 

So, what can be done? SDRs can’t just improvise!

Well, Javier said:

“I’d get the SDRs to organise sessions with their own CFO or equivalent. The CFO can get them up to speed on important pain points or industry trends. And it’s important for SDRs to remember to reach out to people who will give them the time of day.” 

Ryan agreed:

“Go to your CFO and ask them what keeps them up at night? What are they talking about? Because if you have a really good understanding of your solution and how it impacts people and spend - you’re on the right track.” 

“For example, coming up with a solution that means sales can accelerate and reach their target, without having to double down on people or spend, is an example of this.”

Don’t state the obvious

Javier said:

“When an SDR calls me, they should tell me something related to an issue I’m dealing with right now. They should call me with information that I’m also not going to know already. Don’t tell me stuff like cost cutting - think outside the box.” 

Here are a couple of issues Javier has identified currently:

“If somebody called me to deal with transferring money from one region to another, where I’ve missed out because of exchange rates, I’d pick up.” 

“I’m also likely to answer if someone speaks to me about how to change the culture of an organisation that’s been growth at any cost - that’s a big one for me. Changing people’s behaviour towards cost and spending. And how to do it without drastically changing the company’s identity.” 

The bottom line? 

SDRs need to avoid generic statements and issues. 

Understand whether it’s a private or public company

This is important for SDRs. 


Because it’ll give an idea of how much information is available. Knowing this before picking up the phone is best practice. 

Ryan explained more:

“There’s actually a lot more someone can do if SDRs go after public CFOs or finance heads - because the data is public. There’s a lot of gold there if you can reach them.”

“For example, you can look at the earnings report or what’s happening in their business. And then you can leverage that in a conversation.” 

On the other hand:

“When it comes to private companies, when you ask a CFO about their financial position, they’re likely to be pretty gated with their response. The information is going to be secure, so they’re not going to give up what their stack looks like, for example.” 

The best time and length for a CFO cold call

Javier said:

“I’m very much a morning or an evening person. During the working hours of the day, it’s unlikely I’ll take a call.”

“But if a confident SDR called me at 8pm, I’d respect that. And if the call piques my interest, I don’t want to be on for more than 15 minutes.”

Remember - CFOs are busy people. So make every minute count! 

The CFO cold calling script


Open strong, and get to the point as soon as possible. Javier said:

“The cold call needs to be fairly ballsy. I get so many calls of the standard script, so if an SDR hasn’t entailed what it is they do within the first couple of seconds, I just lose interest.” 

Now, there are a million different ways you could open a cold call. 

Brad opens with the following:

‘I’m going to be honest, this is a cold call. Do you want to hang up now or give me 30 seconds and then decide?’

And Henry says:

‘Hi…Henry here calling from Cognism - how are you? I appreciate the call is out of the blue. I noticed on your LinkedIn you’re the CFO at [insert company name here]. Is that still the case?'


Once the prospect has given you permission to carry on the call, it’s important to think about the questions you’re going to ask. 

We’ve given you a few different perspectives to consider, starting off with Javier’s:

“I want an SDR to show that they’ve got an appreciation of my own business. They should be validating information - almost asking questions they know the answer to.” 

“The questions that are centred around research and personalisation will pique my interest. I’ll immediately be put off if SDRs don’t show a bit of respect, and ask questions just because they want to sell.” 

If you’re talking to a CFO at a private company, Ryan said to ask questions with the following approach:

“I think the best thing to do is centre the conversation more around assumptions. Leveraging things like:

‘Hey when I talk to other CFOs they typically say ABC - does this relate to you as well?’

“You might also say something like:

‘Typically with this funding round we see xyz - is this relevant to you?’

“That way, you’re building credibility by understanding the persona. And you can use information to build a financial argument.” 

Brad agreed:

“Once you’ve found the pain, it’s important not to stop there. You’ve got to quantify how that’s impacting the persona, to really get their buy-in or interest.” 

Henry added by stating it’s important to make sure the prospect has control of the conversation:

“When you’re digging deeper into prospects’ pain points, make sure you’re asking questions like: 

  • ‘Does that make sense to you?'
  • ‘Do you think that would help?’
  • ‘Can this benefit you in any way?’ 

“It’s about having resilience and actively listening at the same time. Mirror the prospect. Repeat their last three words, understand gestures when they speak, such as when they pause and reflect their tone.”

“As an SDR, I like to think of myself as a consultant first. I’m in the business of helping people and adding value - it’s not good practice to try and bully someone into a meeting.” 


Our SDRs offered how they usually close a call:

Brad opts for something like: 

‘Hypothetically speaking, if Cognism could solve these problems we’ve just discussed (link back to pain), is there any reason you wouldn’t want to discuss further?’

Henry closes with:

‘If you’ve got your calendar in front of you, I’ve got this slot free - does this work for you?’

Post cold call outreach to a CFO

Hooray! You’ve booked a meeting. 

Does that mean the job is done? 


Ryan reminds us:

“It’s about compounding the information from the call into the digital nurture funnels.” 

And how might you go about doing this? 

Well, we asked Javier to explain what the ideal cold call follow-up looks like:

“Ideally, the SDR needs to send follow-up information to someone I work with.”

“I also put a lot of value behind my own network, so if there’s someone in my network that they can reference, that’s preferable.” 

“When it comes to the multi-channel approach, I don’t like it when someone goes in and likes five of my old LinkedIn posts, and then tries to contact me. That just tells me the SDR hasn’t done their research.” 

“And finally, the material should match the feel of the phone call: quick, snappy collateral. Don’t send a 30-page document - I don’t have time to sift through it.” 

Your work is never finished - even once the phone call has finished.  

The ultimate cold calling podcast

If you’re interested in brushing up on your cold calling skills, every month on our Revenue Champions podcast we host cold calling live workshops. 

You’ll hear some great insights from Josh Braun, Ryan Reisert, Morgan J Ingram, and Dave Bentham - plus live, on-air cold calls. 

Click 👇 to see our past episodes.

Listen to Cognism's cold calling live podcast

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