4 tips for sales planning success in 2024
Lead with confidence and achieve your quotas with these agile, connected go-to-market planning insights.
The Sales Management Association recently reported that firms without effective sales planning processes in place see fewer reps achieve quota and are 40% less likely to achieve their sales objectives.
There is no doubt that there will be many twists and turns ahead with upcoming elections across the world, a global economy still in recovery, and major conflicts in Europe and the Middle East affecting trade. However, there are always opportunities to be found, and with the right planning, forecasting, connectivity, and ability to be agile in the face of change, sales leaders can look forward to a prosperous year.
Below are some of the top sales and go-to-market planning insights we heard from some of our industry-leading customers at Anaplan Connect events last year.
1. Get your data in order
An integrated approach to go-to-marketing planning consists of multiple workstreams occurring in tandem — market segmentation, territory, quota, sales capacity, and incentive compensation planning. All these workstreams require accurate and complete data to drive more confident decision-making. That’s why before any planning gets underway, getting your data in order is crucial.
Move away from spreadsheets which can be unreliable, susceptible to human error, and out-of-date, and develop a strong system for gathering and standardizing data in a single hub to make it usable across every facet of your go-to-market planning.
2. Stay agile and adaptive
No matter how organized you are, changes will always happen whether they are market and economic movements or product changes, so it’s important that you are agile enough to make changes within your plan and test and fine-tune those changes continually at scale, up and down the organization.
Throughout the year, monitor, analyze, report, and adjust the execution of your plan as needed. Often, many teams and tools are involved in these efforts. Planning is most definitely a team sport. For example, many planning activities have important tie-ins to marketing, human resources, customer service, product, and finance that will also need to iterate and refine the plan.
3. Align your business priorities
Make sure all your business units are working toward the same end goal. Working together on planning helps prevent attrition because sales reps are happy with new territory assignments, quotas, and management hierarchy. It also helps to ensure teams from across the organization are aligned to the shared objective of maximizing revenue and profitability across the customer lifecycle, from prospect to happy client.
To unite teams with a shared planning goal, you can develop a project management framework with clear roles and responsibilities. A common matrix for assigning roles is responsible, accountable, consulted, and informed (RACI).
When setting quotas, many analysts and experts suggest a combination of top-down and bottom-up methods. This hybrid approach encourages a collaborative negotiation process among finance, sales operations, and sales management, which can result in more realistic and achievable quotas.
4. Understand your workforce
To get sales right, it first takes a reliable view of assigned quotas. Next, it takes analysis of past performance by seller — average win rate, deal size, deal velocity, or other metrics relevant to your business. Lastly, it takes data and insights into your workforce.
Out of all your sellers, how many are fully ramped, how many are new hires, and how many are still open headcount? How many do you expect to be promoted or leave the company? Gathering and organizing all this data can be daunting, particularly if it needs to be repeated across multiple geographies, product lines, or other dimensions. Yet it is essential for making informed decisions around hiring and training — key levers for sales performance.