How should operations folks tackle their end of year projects? This was the theme of the last DataFox Sales Operations Meetup of 2017.
The October Meetup featured a panel of sales operations professionals including: Michael Podolin, Sales Ops Manager at Mode Analytics, Jake Bauch, Sales Ops Manager at OneLogin and James Drees, Director of Sales Ops at Lean Data. The qualified panel shared their tips and tricks for 2017 reporting & analytics, territory design/redesign, and actionable tactics for 2018 sales planning.
Here are the top takeaways from the discussion:
What are some essential end of the year projects?
The primary end of year tasks centered around automating tasks where possible, cleaning data and of course forecasting for the coming year. A major aspect of improving efficiency includes building out dashboards for sales and marketing alignment.
“I am focusing on getting rid of some of the process that slows reps down and taking the stuff that is manual and automating it,” explained Podolin. “I want the stuff that took a month last time and to take five minutes this time around.”
Territory realignment and design is also an essential end of year task. At LeanData, Drees did an analysis to see where sales was focused and found that reps were far too concentrated in just one area.
“We took a look at where we were doing our business and it was only the Bay Area,” said Drees.
To fix this, he decided to realign territories. Step one in this process is determining how much different accounts are worth. Territory realignment or design can then be determined with a more nuanced approach, rather than just raw data, like number of accounts per rep. This results in more equitable territories and ultimately greater sales success.
Forecasting is an essential end of year task, but shouldn’t be left to just the fourth quarter
Forecasting should be an adaptable model, not a fixed goal. In Q4, forecasting becomes more strategic and granular, but the forecast should be updated throughout the year.
“I am big believer that what you want to see at the end of the year, shouldn’t only show up at the end of the year,” said Podolin.
Goals for 2018?
To say sales operations folks are revenue focused and numbers driven, is an understatement. It’s no surprise that goals for 2018 centered around growth goals and how to achieve them.
One common tactical shift in strategy that the panelists discussed at length, was doubling down on their existing customer base to increase margins and revenue by upselling existing customers.
Similar to the traditional sales process, cross-selling and upselling existing customers requires account prioritization, timing outreach, and balancing the tug-o-war of who should get what account.
Goal setting can range from headcount, to actual revenue growth to more tactical objectives, ultimately though, all goals were ultimately tied to getting revenue and product as far as possible by next year.
Stay tuned for updates about next year’s theme and the date for our first Meetup of 2018!