How to Improve the Accuracy and Efficiency of Your Sales Planning
By Kevin Hsu - Feb 21, 2017
Anyone who has been in business for a decent amount of time understands that sales planning is crucial. However, many businesses don’t realize the proper approach that is needed in order to reach peak efficiency. To achieve optimal performance, a firm’s sales planning must encompass a blend of data analysis, regulation, and operational engagement. Furthermore, integrated financial and sales planning software strategies must be utilized.
Here are 5 ways to make 2017 the year that your firm improves the accuracy and efficiency of its sales planning.
1. Build a strategy that integrates your financial, sales, and operations planning into one central source.
The first step to peak efficiency and optimal accuracy is a strategy that permits your business to integrate your finance, sales, and operational data together. By pursuing this type of strategy, you are enabling the three areas to work together and plan their budget and sales forecasts parallel to one another.
2. Utilize a cloud-based platform.
When it comes to technology, it is critical that you implement and utilize a standard framework for your finance teams to manage their pipelines and quotas. This helps to ensure that the whole firm’s efforts are effective and, if they are not effective, you can adjust your focus-point to the activities and services that do work. Look for technology that allows you to leverage your CRM system and weigh opportunities based on probability, then integrate that data with your planning system. This process will lead to to increased accuracy in your sales and operations planning and financial forecasting.
In addition to preventing financial reporting errors, a cloud-based sales planning software will provide your firm with increased accessibility, as it enables members of the team to access the data from any device, wherever they are. This instantly increases your sales planning efficiency, while also achieving optimal convenience.
3. Say goodbye to spreadsheets.
Research has shown that nearly 90% of spreadsheets contain some kind of error. If that alone wasn’t a big enough issue, the fact that many small businesses are juggling two or three financial reporting analysis software programs, while mid-level companies may be juggling four to seven, should be.
Excel is a static financial reporting & analysis solution. It is unable to bring together these various programs and therefore creates a breeding ground for financial reporting analysis errors. When companies have data that’s updated in real time for all users, it means less iteration, fewer update delays, and more veracity in the data. In other words, integrating your data into one centralized source through a cloud-based financial dashboard is a genius way of ensuring that fewer reporting errors rear their ugly heads.
With the right sales planning software and financial management solution, you can automate data entry, ensure the highest level of accuracy, and also increase your efficiency. Find an Enterprise Performance Management (EPM) software solution that supports sales planning, and will automatically sync with sales data and remain consistently up to date.
4. Adopt real-time modeling and insights.
Have your financial team utilize advanced technology solutions that offer a compelling 360-degree view of all aspects of the business and spotlight dashboards that can offer a large range of customized data and insights in real time. This will allow you to continuously update key drivers to model current market conditions, so that you can acquire more profound insights into your firm’s future finances and attain far-superior precision in your sales planning.
5. Aim for higher visibility and transparency in your data.
It is essential for you to create a feeling of confidence within your data planning process. In order to have a successful financial planning process, you must engage with business leaders throughout the year and seek to increase your transparency and visibility. One noted way to encourage this engagement is to present better real-time visibility into analytics, trends, and results. By integrating sales planning into your EPM software, you can achieve much higher visibility and transparency, which will increase the reliability of data analysis and inform smarter business decisions.
Sales planning is one of the most essential activities that firms must do. Despite this, most businesses are conducting their sales planning in inefficient and inaccurate ways. A new (and far superior) approach is to find and utilize a sales planning software that integrates your sales planning into your overall financial planning process.
Kepion’s sales planning software provides several key features to ensure the most accurate and efficient sales planning for all firms. It provides:
- Immediately balance supply and demand in real-time at the aggregate or detailed levels and run transparent business rules that directly shows impact on the full P&L.
- Conduct “what-if” scenarios in response to unexpected or unplanned events and determine the best course of action. Compare scenarios on-the-fly, even when master data changes within the supply chain network.
- Have a closed-loop process for integrating plans across Finance, Sales and Marketing. Collaborate with trade partners like suppliers, distributors and customers-all in one place.
- Track participation from all stakeholders in the S&OP process. Create your own workflow process and define performance KPIs to track progress along the way.
Kepion’s Sales and Operations Planning software provides a collaborative real-time solution to accelerate your S&OP process maturity.