Three tech industry titans accelerate sales decision-making



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“Everywhere you turn, markets are volatile. The pressure is on for leaders to make rapid sales decisions and crunch the turnaround time from the decision point into execution and deployment.”

Those are the words of Heide Van Buskirk, VP sales operations and effectiveness at property rental search engine Rent. In this blog, she is joined by sales experts from contact center as a service provider Genesys and social media channel LinkedIn to explain how they have turbocharged their decision-making processes and given their tech companies a competitive advantage in tough market conditions.

Together, they discuss:

  • Why flexibility is crucial for companies going through a period of change
  • The power of bringing together teams and data in one platform
  • How iterations at speed eases the flow of the decision-making process
  • The importance of forecasting and planning between different data insights and corporate plans

Focus on continuous evolution and flexibility

Rent. connects tenants with property owners and management companies across the United States. It needed a flexible platform to enable it to upscale at pace while allowing for the continuous evolution of the business.

The tech company sought a single, easy-to-use platform to connect:

  • Insights that drive decisions to make the business smarter
  • Decision-making, governance, and cascading decisions
  • Deployment for practical application of decisions in different business areas
  • Evaluation results to feed into future planning

Rent. began with incentive compensation management to motivate its salespeople through the change management process. Its existing system required the manual input of data on several related elements such as bonus programs and people management.

“That's where we really turned an eye toward Anaplan and looked at that as the foundation for how we wanted to run the business going forward,” says Van Buskirk. “It would not only give us the ability to integrate those decisions and those data points, but it would also give us the ability to be very fluid.”

Rent. is now planning ahead and building models to connect sales territories and quotas.

Bring teams together

Organizational silos can hinder productivity, obstruct communication, create a lack of synergy, and mean that duplication is a more likely occurrence. Prince Ayinde, Master Anaplanner and sales productivity manager at LinkedIn, is aware of the dangers of teams working in silo and highlights the importance of bringing different departments and processes together.

Ayinde explains that the talent solution and sales teams were working to the same use cases but using different planning models and processes for:

  • Sales planning
  • Resources
  • Delivery schedule

“The differences weren't stark enough for them to have different models and different processes. They need a bird's-eye, top-down view of what they're doing and where the synergies are.”

He focused first on delivering an agile model for the talent solutions team that he could then “sell” to other teams.

“It was easy for us to go to the sales solutions side and say, ‘Hey, this is the architecture we use, this is how they feel about it, these were the time savings, etc.’” says Ayinde. “And that's how we're bringing the two business lines together as well. So now we're talking a very common language and solving the same problem.”

Speed up decision-making

For Rent., territory planning had always been a huge challenge, involving:

  • Pulling customer-related data from Salesforce
  • Configuring spreadsheets
  • Distributing information to 25+ district managers
  • Managers making decisions around all 200+ sales positions and how they wanted to align

This cumbersome process took around a month, by which time original variables would often change, hampering Rent.’s ability to respond effectively to changing market conditions:

“It was a vicious cycle of never-ending spreadsheets,” says Van Buskirk. “Anaplan is just a phenomenal platform for delivering the right visibility to the right people at the right time — it’s always updated and you can customize it to deliver exactly what you’re looking to deliver.”  

Connect the dots

Van Buskirk is looking forward to “connecting the dots” between Rent.’s strategic plan, prior year’s budget, and next year’s sales plan.

“That’s going to enable us to have scenario planning and modeling that we've never had as a company before,” she says. “I'm super excited about that.”

Implement Connected Planning

Genesys decided a few years ago to drive a cloud-first business model transformation. It sought a platform that could tie together:

  • Finance and sales
  • Customer success
  • Marketing
  • HR and strategic workforce planning

“We need to be able to push this information to the decision-makers up and down our hierarchies,” says John Coplen, VP of sales strategy and planning at Genesys. “As we're iterating, we need that information to just flow.”

Coplen recommends “finding the win” so you can understand quickly how Anaplan works. His team used “really strong model builders” who knew the company inside-out to transform its territories and quota data.

Guide planning and performance

All this background work feeds into sales planning, enabling companies to make more accurate forecasts of where to invest.

Coplen says his “nirvana situation” would be to find that Genesys’s territory and quota plans had been accurate, “and being able to hit our numbers at the end of the year with a very nice, even distribution of who achieved it.”            

Learn more about how these tech companies optimized their sales planning strategies by watching their full, on-demand Anaplan Connect sessions: 

Discover how Anaplan can speed up decision-making and boost sales performance in your organization.