With today’s fast-changing market, it is more important than ever to have the right business strategy aligned across departments—and one that can be course-corrected on-the-fly. Doing so starts with a business plan that’s aligned to the sales strategy. Additionally, sales and operations need access to real-time data in order to quickly respond to sudden shifts in the market.
In this sales performance management webinar, we discussed how using Anaplan in conjunction with Salesforce improved sales forecasting and aligned business units across Lexmark. Details and insight were provided by Robert Bergstrom, Partner at Deloitte, and Axelle Boulard, EMEA Product Marketing and Sales Operations Manager at Lexmark.
Robert kicked off the webinar by sharing some of Deloitte’s sales planning methodologies and best practices, particularly how seeing sales performance management and forecasting as part of the larger organizational strategy for growth is key. As he explained, it is important to have clear KPI targets to get an organization aligned and committed to a growth strategy. Additionally, establishing achievable targets with tangible and significant impact to the company’s overall targets generates a strong commitment from sales management and the front line.
As Robert pointed out, linking strategy to operational planning and execution is a necessity that often proves challenging. Legacy software and spreadsheets are commonly used, but lack the connectivity and flexibility needed to prioritize and optimize initiatives to execute on an operational level. Using a platform such as Anaplan allows centralized modeling of information across the enterprise so that sales directors and managers can see what drives profitable growth, test “what-if” scenarios, and build plans accordingly.
A real-life example best explains how using a platform such as Anaplan can improve strategy, forecasting, and alignment. By integrating data and increasing collaboration, Lexmark is able to develop an aligned forecast on a global scale through Anaplan.
- Data is centralized. Centralizing data significantly improves the order evolution, and for Lexmark, this provided the biggest benefit. Managing the sales opportunities process, from identification and probability, to quoting and demand planning, Lexmark was able to greatly improve the speed and accuracy of the sales forecasting process.
Centralization is also a big win for productivity. Sales reps spend much less time manually entering data, freeing up more time for selling. And with Anpalan, since data is entered only once, there are fewer opportunities for errors, which improves productivity in sales operations and other business units involved in the planning process.
- Collaboration between stakeholder departments is mapped into the tool. At Lexmark, all business units—front line sales, sales management, finance, and demand planning—work from the same data, eliminating version control issues, such as where numbers come from and how current one set of numbers is compared to another. With everyone working from the same view, the forecast is automatically aligned across departments and with the larger business plan.
Also, with centralized data and integrated collaboration, day-to-day updates and processes happen more quickly so Lexmark can react faster to market changes.
For businesses looking to improve the sales strategy process, Axelle takes a granular view—she recommends engaging the sales force in the process from the outset and ensuring they are well trained. As active participants, they can then help drive the change. In contrast, Robert takes a broader view. He recommends connecting the strategy with operations planning and execution, avoiding siloed information and planning, and using a fully integrated platform.
Watch the short webinar for a more in-depth view of how using Anaplan has helped Lexmark integrate the sales and supply chain management process with larger company-wide initiatives, along with details about Lexmark’s Anaplan implementation.
Interested in implementing Anaplan? Read our guide on Anaplan readiness.