Hitting that magic number: 10 tips for sales ops leaders


Kevin Markl

Sales Solutions Manager

Lead with confidence and hit your 2024 sales number with strategic, agile sales planning aligned to the customer journey and corporate goals.

How will your sales team remember last year? Shrinking customer demand? Longer sales cycles with more scrutiny? Smaller lands and higher customer attrition? Maybe more positively by adapting your sales, marketing, partner, and customer success strategy to stay focused where you can win? However good, bad, or ugly last year was for your sales team, it’s time to lead them onward (and hopefully upward).  

With Anaplan’s ongoing global series of Connect events, we’ve invited our industry-leading customers and partners to share their strategies for more effective sales planning in a volatile world. Now that you’ve gotten your territory, quota, and compensation plans in the hands of your reps by sales kickoff, read on for the top 10 go-to-market (GTM) planning tips from our customers to help you stay ahead of the competition in 2024.

1. Put your planning data in the hands of your salespeople

You spend months gathering your SPM data, evaluating multiple scenarios, securing all the necessary approvals, yet all you give your reps is a sales letter and comp plan? 

Put your planning data in the hands of your reps, sales engineers, sales development, customer success, partners, and more to enable strategic account planning, account white spacing to close pipeline gaps, customer retention and renewals planning, estimating variable compensation down to a line item, forecasting deals, coaching reps, and much more. 

Hear how insurance and risk management leaders motivate their reps with sales incentives and planning data throughout the year to maximize productivity and revenue to hit their number.

2. You’ve rolled up a sales forecast — now what?

An accurate real-time sales forecast is more than calling your number to the board. It drives decision-making across your business from financial revenue forecasting and long-range planning, to demand forecasting and integrated businesses planning, sales capacity and strategic workforce planning and much more. Get your sales forecast wrong and you risk setting revenue targets and downstream quotas that are too high in the year ahead.

Learn how a leading technology organization relies on agile and accurate sales forecasting for more effective sales planning and decision-making across the business.

3. Measure your plan effectiveness throughout the year

Sales plans must be responsive to both your corporate strategy that evolves every few years and ongoing shifts as market conditions impact your corporate strategy and the customer journey fluctuates. Frequently evaluating and measuring plan performance against your actual plan and multiple potential scenarios will help you pivot faster and stay one step ahead of the competition.

Uncover how a market-leading insurance firm measures plan effectiveness and gathers rep feedback to adjust their plans to get the right behaviors out of their field.

4. Annual sales planning is dead

The world and the markets you operate in are changing fast. If your sales plans fail to focus customer success, SDR, solution consultants, and sellers on the right markets, accounts, and opportunities (with achievable quotas), you’ll miss targets, increase attrition, and drive up your customer acquisition costs.

Hear how technology sales ops leaders plan multiple times a year, modeling scenarios and forecasting future outcomes to stay aligned across sales, marketing, finance, and HR to keep reps focused where they can win.

5. Stop building your plans and planning processes from scratch

If you’re rebuilding your planning processes from scratch every quarter, semi-annually, or annually, you’ll strain the limited operational and analytics capacity you have and lack the agility to respond more effectively to internal and external changes. 

Discover how an electronics manufacturer eliminates time-consuming, inconsistent, and inefficient sales planning processes by planning all their data in one place, refining their sales plans using modeling and scenario planning to make better decisions, and then iterating as they go.

6. Respond to change faster to stay ahead of your competition

Change and uncertainty is pervasive across every GTM strategy in every industry, from tech layoffs and manufacturing supply chain disruptions to climate change impacting insurance and volatile global inflation. The faster you can adapt to change in your markets and your customer journeys, the more productive your sales teams are to hit your number.

Learn how a prominent financial services firm adapted their compensation plans, sales targets, launched new products, and more — in a matter of days not quarters — in response to market factors like covid and fluctuating interest rates.

7. Build trust and transparency to maximize your sales performance

Accurate and timely data is critical across the entire GTM planning process such as sales capacity planning. How you execute on that plan to bring the right salespeople on board at the right time — according to RepVue, more than half of reps don’t trust quotas before getting hired — to how you distribute your plans to your salespeople makes all the difference. 

A multinational IT services company needed all their data in a single tool that everyone sees to improve decision-making by leadership and also justify why plan changes will maximize productivity rather than taking money away from sales reps.

8. Planning is a team sport — stop duplicating your efforts

Getting effective plans out on time requires ongoing collaboration between sales leadership, management, and sales operations as well as stakeholders across finance, marketing, and HR. With limited planning capacity and time to deliver, eliminating duplicative efforts is critical.

Learn how a B2B-cloud software leader brought sales, finance, and HR together, from working on three separate sales capacity and headcount plans, to a single data hub with real-time data, modeling, and collaboration to reach decisions faster.

9. Keep your GTM plans aligned to corporate strategy

Your territory, quota, headcount, and compensation plans are each small levers of your overall GTM strategy and reflect how you will chart your path to revenue and achieve your annual business and long-range strategy. 

Learn why a top sales strategy leader moved their GTM planning out of spreadsheets to iterate their plans during and across planning cycles to stay aligned to their corporate strategy.

10. Plan in one place to drive optimal results

Sales organizations have an average of 27 different sales tools. Ineffective planning results in poor execution through your sales stack. Learning how to work with so many disparate tools and technologies, including adoption, connecting data, and keeping reps focused where they can win, is critical.

Learn how an industrial equipment supplier realized greater efficiency and better decision-making by doing their GTM planning (market sizing, account segmentation, territory, quota, sales capacity, and sales compensation) in a single platform rather than disparate tools with siloed data and processes across regions. 

Ready to learn how to level up your sales and GTM planning in 2024? 

Coming soon to a city near you: join us for a day of connected inspiration from your industry-leading peers.