Ever hear the saying "great ingredients make great food"? Well, its no different in the world of sales. When it comes to hitting sales targets the ingredients you use will be the difference between a great month/quarter/year or a mediocre one. Yet, many sales leaders focus on pipeline, opportunities, and leads as their key ingredients for success; and while these components are important, they're only the half of it (the gravy on top of the potatoes if you will). The other half of the recipe calls for salespeople and sales capacity; these ingredients that determine if your goals are even realistic in the first place. Afterall, having a healthy pipeline without the right resources to close deals is just as bad as having frosting without a cake to put it on. Here's a simple recipe every sales leader can follow to be in a better position to achieve their bookings goal.
Step 1: Create a Viable Resource and Capacity Plan
Identifying how you will achieve your sales targets is no easy task; you could spend months running scenarios, gathering current and historical data on ramp, attrition and time to hire, and/or arguing over how many leads marketing needs to deliver to make the plan work. The first thing you should do after deciding upon (or in some cases being assigned) a target is to see if you have the sales capacity to hit that goal (insider tip: you can use our Free Scratchpad to do this). Once your sales capacity has been established, determine if you need to add or reduce your headcount and when you need to do so (taking into account ramp and time to hire) in order to achieve your targets. The results of these calculations should be included in your plan.
Check out our Resources for 2018 Planning for some tips on getting this right.
Step 2: Combine Your Plan With Your Actuals
Traditionally, companies create a plan and bake it for 365 days (they build it, yet never alter or adjust it throughout the year), but with dynamic markets and increased competition, its now becoming a best practice to monitor your plan against actuals frequently. By tracking your initial plan against your actual sales performance, you'll be able to pinpoint any deviations and course correct before it derails you from hitting your bookings targets.
We recommend checking your actuals against your plan at least once a month, but if you're consistently missing your targets, checking on a weekly basis might be a better option for you.
Step 3: Analyze Sales Performance & Take Action
Following Steps 1 and 2 will allow you to spend less time on the initial planning process, which in turn gives you more time to analyze important data, including sales strategies and business processes. By identifying and evaluating the impact that factors like attrition, ramp and untimely hiring have on your sales capacity, you'll be able to derive the right strategy and approach to ensure success in your team and business.
This fundamental recipe will help establish a strong sales foundation. Once you know what your team is capable of, the rest can be rolled into (and your sales team can roll in) the dough.