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Pure Storage unleashes data to build territory and quota plans faster

Data-storage leader optimizes annual sales planning, freeing sales managers to focus on closing business rather than administrative tasks

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Finding the best accounts to target—and building 500+ sales territories and quotas based on them—stole time from Pure Storage’s sales leaders when they could least afford it. Using Anaplan’s New UX and Optimizer, sales planning at Pure Storage is now fast, visual, based on data, and not an administrative burden. Anaplan also provides a platform for ongoing territory management.

The amount of time spent [on territory and quota planning] has been dramatically reduced.

Jason Augustine, Senior Director, Sales Planning

Having hundreds of thousands of accounts in a CRM system seems like a good thing—until you need to decide which ones to pursue and how to balance the workload. That was the challenge faced by Pure Storage, a maker of data storage solutions with 7,500+ customers worldwide and $1.64 billion in annual revenue. Pure’s ratio of accounts to salespeople was huge, particularly for commercial and corporate accounts, but choosing those worth pursuing wasn’t consistently driven by the data.

There was another challenge: In Q4, when sales leaders were busy finishing out the current year, they were also planning for the coming year. “Their focus should be on selling, closing deals,” says Jason Augustine, Senior Director, Sales Planning. “The last thing they want to be doing is spending time in a system that they see as an administrative burden.”

Augustine and his Sales Operations team set out to make their existing Anaplan-based territory and quota planning solution work harder and be easier to use. They rebuilt it in Anaplan’s New UX, and added Anaplan Optimizer to the territory-building process. The result: improved coverage, optimal territories, and lists of accounts prioritized by their propensity to buy rather than guesswork.

To help front-line sales leaders understand territory and quota drivers, key metrics such as bookings, quota attainment, and territory penetration are summarized on a single page. Another page lets them define territories and set quotas on an interactive worksheet. Tools for scenario analysis and approvals are a click away. Among the outputs: a chart of the top 20 accounts in each territory. “A manager can give that to a rep on day one and say, ‘These are your best accounts to focus on,’” says Balrit Singh, Senior Manager, Worldwide Sales Planning.

Bookings data and a host of account attributes are pulled automatically into Anaplan from Salesforce, and three-plus years of reps’ attainment history is imported from Pure’s compensation system. “The New UX gave us the freedom to take all these data points and visualize them in a way that was consumable,” Singh says.

Anaplan Optimizer allows that data to drive territory creation. Optimizer uses advanced algorithms to determine the ideal territory design based on shared objectives and user-selected constraints such as territory type, segment, vertical, and geography. Creating 500+ territories and evaluating and assigning accounts to them could take days before Anaplan, but with Optimizer the best options can be identified in minutes.

And that makes sales leaders more productive. “The feedback from the field has been extremely positive,” Augustine says. “Very specifically, we’ve heard that the amount of time spent [on territory and quota planning] has been dramatically reduced.”

Ultimately, the Anaplan solution will turn sales planning from an annual chore into an ongoing process of territory health evaluation. Singh explains it this way: “You are allowing the managers to use Anaplan not just as a planning tool, but more-so [to] manage my business.”