While it may not be very glamorous, sales operations play a critical role in a company’s success. No matter if you are working with (or scaling to) a couple, dozens, hundreds or thousands of sales reps, how a firm builds its sales ops framework and utilizes its sales and operations planning software is key.
After many years of seeing what works and what doesn’t, I am going to share my thoughts on how to build a strong sales operations framework and the best practices for structuring it in a way that sets you and your firm up for success.
Utilize Rolling Budgets for Fiscal Year Planning
In this article I laid out five tried and tested methods for better revenue forecasting because everyone knows that getting your revenue forecast wrong is one of the most disastrous mistakes a Sales VP, CFO, or CEO can make. However, preparing an exact revenue forecast and annual plan is almost impossible for firms in these rapidly changing times. They often become outdated as soon as they are completed. The biggest question that firms need to ask themselves is “how do we mathematically determine the best allocation of limited sales resources?”
In order to build confidence in your financial planning process, and not receive cynicism from those who are in charge of creating it, from now on you must utilize rolling budgets. Instead of being an annual activity, rolling forecasts happen in a more regular and frequent manner. Whereas annual budgets include hundreds of line items, rolling budgets solely focus on the key business drivers. For this reason, while annual budgets may bog you down, rolling budgets work as forward-looking mechanisms that will step in as an early warning when your plan has sailed off course.
Pay Special Attention to Your Sales and Operations Planning Software of Choice
Selecting the right Sales and Operations Planning Software for your medium-sized business can be an overwhelming task and potentially one of the reasons why your boss did not want to upgrade in the first place. In order to minimize the chances of making a wrong decision when selecting the right CPM Software for your medium-sized business, you can follow these steps. I harp on a lot about paying special attention to your system of choice, but it really is the most important component. Don’t feel bad about being exceptionally picky when choosing your tools. Whichever firm you approach, make sure to specifically ask for references in your industry, similar company size, or area of expertise.
Consider Sales Channel Productivity
When working in B2B markets, revenue forecasts regularly need to reconcile with the company’s sales resources. The only way to work out pragmatic revenue targets is by understanding what can be accomplished and how quickly salespeople can convert prospects into customers. So, since sales force productivity, closing rates, and a realistic number of potential customers must be taken into consideration, effective territory and quota planning must be a precursor to revenue forecasting. The definition of a lead is likely different for sales and marketing, so ensure that you develop a definition that both groups agree on, before designating who nurtures the lead through each stage of the sales process.
Have a Well-Defined, Transparent Sales and Marketing Process
Just like in all relationships and major business initiatives, frequent communication is the key to achieving long-term engagement and results with your sales operations. When developing your framework, make sure to focus on adopting an approach that ensures communication touch points throughout the year. Planning in advance when you and your associates are going to touch base encourages input and refines processes and workflows. The most successful sales ops framework that yields the most accurate numbers is one that is grounded in highly granular customer, sales rep, or pack size modeling. These types of bottom-up approaches allow for greater insight and comprehension of how small changes in underlying assumptions affect revenues.
Kepion Sales and Operations Planning software aligns your supply and demand decisions into a single unified process. Accelerate the maturity of your S&OP process by empowering planners to collaborate across business functions, understand financial impact with what-if scenarios and easily adjust planning models.