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More Accurate Sales Capacity Plans Requires Data-Driven Approach

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Let’s face it, companies miss their sales targets. Sometimes they miss targets for “macro” or environmental reasons like a shift in the marketplace that reduces customer demand or a new competitor unexpectedly entering the market. These macro events are difficult to predict and are the hardest to adjust to quickly. 

 

Other times companies miss targets for execution or managerial reasons like when the sales team underperforms due to insufficient training or a top account churns unexpectedly due to customer satisfaction issues. These events should be addressed by strong sales leaders who identify the issues, get their team the training and marketing materials they need and address the customer’s concerns quickly and effectively.

 

Other times companies miss their targets simply because the plan wasn’t realistic in the first place or because no one bothered to track performance to plan throughout the year. In my opinion, these are the worst reasons to miss sales targets because they are the most controllable.

 

So how do sales leaders get better at planning and monitoring? With data and analysis.

 

Using an application to plan instead of Excel makes it easier to analyze historical sales data for more accurate plan inputs. We recently conducted a research report on sales capacity planning. For it we evaluated a company’s Excel-based plan with that company’s data in the OpsPanda application.

 

Screen Shot 2018-05-31 at 4.08.53 PMThe original plan used a 6 month ramp up time before new hires were able to attain “normal” quotas. Data showed that a 9 month ramp was more accurate. Based on this single difference the Excel scenario required hiring 74 new reps to make the company’s sales target while the OpsPanda scenario more accurately forecasted that 88 new hires were necessary. Of course this company was going to miss their sales target if they only hired 74 reps. The plan wasn’t realistic and set the team up for failure.

 

The OpsPanda scenario also more accurately modeled quota achievement based on data (61% with no overassignment compared to an original 71% with 10% overassignment) and more accurately distributed attrition and new hire timing throughout the year. Success is in the data-driven details.

 

Download the full research report here to see what else had a big impact on plan accuracy.

 

The more realistic and accurate your plan variables are to start with the more useful they are as a yardstick to measure against throughout the year. Using an application instead of Excel takes the SWAG out of your most important plan and makes it easy to monitor your important plan variables throughout the year and course correct if you get off track, which is crazy important.

 

With a little data and a bit more analysis we can all make better plans and make our targets more often. Let’s raise the bar and make data-driven sales capacity planning a reality for all!

 

Jon

Jon Kondo

Written by Jon Kondo

Jon brings over 30 years of sales experience to OpsPanda. Born in New York and raised in Southern CA. Jon credits his first salesmanship lessons back to a family friend who taught him how to better sell car wash tickets using value based selling. Jon's selling career has taken him from walking door to door cold calling offices to executive meetings in boardrooms all over the world. His proudest accomplishments are seeing the people he hired as reps and managers excel in their careers as sales leaders in leading companies. He lives in San Carlos, CA and loves spending time with his wife, three daughters and 2 dogs.