Kevin Josephson, Manager, Deloitte and Denis Giuliani, Vice President, Marketing and Sales, Lexmark, shared the stage to share how Lexmark used Anaplan to improve their sales planning and execution in the HUB 2014 “Sales Forecasting: Detailed Visibility, Real-Time Trends, Instant Cost And Margin Analysis” breakout session. In implementing Anaplan, Lexmark’s forecasting project had the following objectives:Stay tuned for more highlights from HUB 2014, and check out our archive of conference presentations on SlideShare.
- Define enterprise-wide processes, key metrics and application portfolio
- Define specific capabilities to be successful in a solution-selling environment
- Change Lexmark’s tools to better align with how we want to engage with customers and partners in a solutions led engagement
Creating a Lightweight, Easy Forecasting ProcessSales forecasting was challenging for all stakeholders prior to deploying Anaplan:
- Sales Reps challenged by managing a manual process, duplicate data entry, and a lack of a closed loop
- Sales Management challenged by an often inaccurate view of pipeline, variation in sales reps’ forecasting abilities, manual processes due to lack of standardized pricing, ineffective demand planning, and dealing with late stage surprises or missing/inaccurate information
- Finance challenged with inaccurate revenue projections, and not being aligned with the Sales and Demand Plan
Defining an Effective Sales Forecasting ProcessSince implementing Anaplan, Lexmark is able to integrate their data and functions to help develop an aligned forecast both Sales and Finance can use. Key to this is their five-step forecasting process:
- Manage Sales Opportunities. Once a sales opportunity is created in Salesforce, opportunities are driven forward by sales rep, and they manage early and late stage opportunity forecast data.
- Sales Review. Anaplan is used to identify opportunities to include in the sales forecast, with sales rep input, and adjust rollout schedule. This stage is critical to ensuring sales force buy-in and accountability.
- Geographic Demand Review. Anaplan used to determine opportunities to add to the demand plan and financial outlook.
- Global Consolidated Forecast. Anaplan used to give sales management a comprehensive global view for global review and sign off.
- Reconcile to Actuals. Anaplan used to compare forecasted data to actuals, and adjust business rules and assumptions to address consistent accuracy challenges.
Key Lessons LearnedAny rollout, regardless of how successful, always has learning moments to take away. Kevin and Denis shared theirs:
- Understand data accuracy and challenges going in to identify what data elements may need adjustment in Anaplan.
- Start with getting the process right — and use Anaplan as a catalyst for process improvement.
- Understand your user-base and design UIs/dashboards as pointedly as possible.
- Training, especially for sales, needs to be ongoing and repetitive, and available on-demand.