Coming out of sales planning season at the end of 2013 and transitioning into making it a reality in 2014, can be an intimidating process.  As the new year begins it’s important to stay on top of the new processes, new methodologies, and new strategies that were put in place to ensure that they are realizing the returns that were expected.  There is nothing worse than getting off to a slow start that leaves you scrambling to catch up right out of the gate.

Sales PlanningTo ensure that these anxieties are not repeated year after year, you need to put repeatable business processes into place to generate predictable outcomes.  In order to do so you need to have an automated lead to money process.  By automating your processes, and having each step of your sales and marketing strategy intricately aligned towards common business objectives, you eliminate many of the manual errors that typically creep into the planning process.

In our last post we looked at the first step of the lead to money process, lead management.  In this post we are going to take a deeper look at the second step, planning with territory and quota alignment.

Sales Planning in Lead to Money: Maximizing Territories and Aligning Quotas

The second step of lead to money, sales planning, is a vital step that requires sales, sales ops, finance, and marketing to all come together to be successful.  Sales needs to be involved to ensure they have the right people, in the right place to reach their targets.  Finance needs to ensure that quotas are assigned in a realistic way, based on the actual value of territories to ensure that company objectives and revenue targets can be reached.  Sales operations is required to ensure that each department has the tools and process they need to make the most accurate projections and models possible, so there are no surprises down the road.  And finally, marketing needs to be involved so that they can ensure they are providing the right marketing resources to each territory to maximize the potential and ensure that each sales rep is fed with the proper amount of qualified leads.

Tapping into Historical Data

Leveraging an automated territory and quota planning system allows you to pull in historical data from disparate systems to better understand their true value.  During the territory planning process, it is also important to be able to run simulations and model changes to coverage, prior to going live with changes, to eliminate surprises.  Understanding the potential of each territory will drive better efficiencies in assigning sales capacity, marketing efforts, and quota assignments.  It is critical to avoid a scenario where you have some sales reps that are overwhelmed with leads and others that are starving for more.  Assigning territories based on value, rather than geography, will help limit the chances of ending up with the aforementioned undesirable scenario.

Once the territories are properly valued and assigned, it is time to align equitable quotas to the territories.  Aligning territories and quotas will lead to motivated reps, striving to attain their individual targets, instead of leaving your reps scratching their heads trying to figure out how they can possibly hit their unrealistic target.

Proper Sales Planning Leads to Proper Sales Enablement

Another important benefit of having properly valued territories is being able to fairly evaluate sales reps, apples to apples.  When territories are simply assigned based on geography it is difficult to understand why one sales rep is successful and another is struggling.  Taken at face value, you would assume that the sales rep that is reaching quota is a better sales person than the rep that is not.  In some cases, when territories are not valued properly, quota attainment is not a good indicator of a sales rep’s effectiveness.  However, when territories and quotas are aligned based on true value, it is easier to identify top performers and low performers, because you are comparing them based on the same potential.

Using territory and quota planning to better gauge the effectiveness of each sales rep will allow you to better enable them with the coaching, training, and resources they need to be successful.  In our next blog post we will take a closer look at how to use lead to money to better enable sales.

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