3 min read

Why move sales capacity planning to the cloud

Kyle Welling

Solution Architect

In part two of Anaplan’s five-part webinar series with the Sales Management Association, Kyle Welling, Solution Architect at OpenSymmetry, joins Rowan Tonkin, Head of Sales and Marketing Solutions at Anaplan, to talk about why and how organizations should transition their territory management and sales capacity planning to the cloud.

Currently, it’s the end of the financial year for many companies—and for your sales reps, it’s a very hectic time for closing business, which often requires the help of sales operations teams. At the same time, these teams are also in the midst of their planning processes, which are done in inflexible, massive, and disconnected spreadsheets—data needs to be gathered from multiple sources, then consolidated in spreadsheets to determine quotas and territories for the new year, a process that takes a considerable amount of time and effort. Given that they are doing this in the middle of the busiest time of year for sales teams, planning is often a moving target.

Once the sales ops teams have completed their planning processes and the goals are finally communicated to sales reps, the numbers typically are already out of date and disconnected with the broader company goal, which may have changed based on Q4 results. On top of that, sales leaders are unable to make changes to territory assignments or quotas in response to market changes, potentially losing out on revenue midyear. Compare that to statistics showing that quotas deployed before the first half of Q1 have the ability to increase your revenue by two to seven percent.

After talking to many of our clients, OpenSymmetry has found that most organizations share common pain points when it comes to territory management and sales capacity planning. The challenges generally fall into the following three major buckets:

1. Having a poor process.

With any plan, but particularly with a sales plan, you must start with defining a goal. Without a goal, your team won’t have something to work toward. At OpenSymmetry, we often hear from our customers that sales reps typically don’t receive their initial quotas or territory assignments until well in the first (or even the second) quarter of the year.

In the webinar, we polled attendees to determine how they set initial goals for their sales reps. Almost half (46 percent) said they use a top-down approach, while 43 percent base it on prior-year performance. Others set goals based on a weighted index (22 percent), bottom-up sales potential (20 percent), and fair share allocation (15 percent).

Ideally, goals should be set using a solution that can calculate targets based on business and market conditions—and that solution should allow changes to shift as the market or business shifts.

2. Motivating a demotivated sales force.

The late and out-of-date information tied to a poor sales planning process causes a ripple effect through the sales force. Lack of transparency and trust are big issues with a spreadsheets-based sales plan as sales reps don’t have much insight, if any, into how their goals are set and territories are defined.

Imagine being assigned a low-potential territory with an unattainable quota while a colleague receives a ripe territory and the identical quota. Pretty demotivating, right?

But with a cloud-based platform like Anaplan, sales reps can gain full insight into how territories and quotas are determined and where the numbers came from, building trust that their goals are fair and realistic—thereby improving motivation and reducing turnover as a result.

3. Overcoming the high cost of sales.

Without a proper territory management and sales capacity process in place, companies risk missing out on market potential. Sales leaders need access to accurate, real-time data to determine, for example, whether the right amount of marketing dollars is invested into the right segments of the market. That same data can also help determine whether the right number of sales reps are assigned to a particular territory to maximize both revenue and rep performance potential.

Companies today are slowly realizing that spreadsheets are no longer the be-all and end-all—and they’re moving to technology solutions like Anaplan that enable them to, for instance, align their territory strategy to significant shifts in the market so they can act on opportunities while hitting their numbers.

Interested in learning more about territory management and sales capacity planning? Watch the full webinar.

In the meantime, see part one of this webinar and blog series, which talks about account segmentation and scoring—and keep an eye out for the full five-part blog and webinar series in the coming weeks.