Sales planning, whether it’s at a company, department, or team level, is a documented strategy for hitting key targets. There’s no way to consistently execute the sales strategy without a sales plan.
A sales plan should show you where you’re at, where you want to be, and the path for getting there. The best sales plans make it possible for everyone on the revenue-generating team (sales, executive sponsors, marketing, and customer success) to understand the big picture, align on objectives, and collaborate on the same plan to achieve them. In other words, it makes sales execution possible.
It’s no secret that sales planning processes can vary from organization to organization. Sometimes they even differ inside of organizations, across teams. Sales plans can range from being relatively simple to more complex than your tax return. It may be a tactical sales management tool, or it may be a strategic approach that executive leadership leverages for corporate planning.
There’s no ‘one-size-fits-all.’ What is important is that it fits your organization’s needs. As you learn and grow as a company, you will want to advance along the sales planning maturity curve to increase your success and alignment with others. Mature organizations will have a strategic approach to sales planning to ensure accurate forecasting, dynamic and agile workflow, and cross-functional collaboration to achieve top-level corporate goals.
What is the Sales Execution Maturity Model?
Like your children, maturity comes with time and nurture (and maybe some tears). Many organizations start with an Ad Hoc process, and after a lot of trial and error, an organization might find its way to an integrated approach. Some companies don’t ever move past Ad Hoc. It just depends on how much emphasis you want to place on being a more strategic partner to customers.
Stages of the Sales Execution Maturity Model
- Ad Hoc: Unpredictable and lacking clarity. This is the first and least mature stage of the model. At this stage, an organization has no formal sales processes or methodologies in place, and sales representatives operate with a high degree of independence. Sales tools and technologies are used on an ad hoc basis, and training and enablement efforts are minimal. Performance metrics are largely anecdotal, and there is little data-driven decision-making. The sales process is unpredictable and unclear, creating serious forecasting and revenue growth issues.
- Tactical: Plans are created but probably not finessed and tailored to your team. At this stage, the organization has started to develop basic sales processes and may have adopted a few tools or technologies to support them. Sales training and enablement efforts are starting to take shape but are not yet formalized, and reporting is still largely ad hoc. Plans are created but probably not yet finessed and tailored to the team. This stage is characterized by focusing on individual rather than team performance.
- Integrated: Plans are more consistent; technology is in place to help the team be more successful. This is the stage sales and marketing work more closely together, and customer data is being used to inform decision-making. The sales process is becoming more standardized, with a clear focus on team performance rather than individual performance. Performance metrics are becoming more data-driven and objective, allowing for better forecasting and revenue growth.
- Intelligently Managed: Plans inform revenue management and improve revenue predictability. At this stage, there is a focus on continuous improvement, with a culture of learning and development. Sales processes are becoming more sophisticated, with a strong emphasis on collaboration and alignment across teams. Data-driven decision making is a key focus, with advanced analytics being used to drive performance improvements.
- Strategic: This is the most mature stage of the Sales Execution Maturity Model. At this stage, cross-functional teams use sales plans to inform marketing, customer success, and other key functions. There is a strong focus on long-term strategic planning, with a clear vision for growth and a commitment to innovation. The sales process is highly sophisticated and data-driven, focusing on continuous improvement and team collaboration. Performance metrics are highly objective, allowing for accurate forecasting and revenue growth.
What stage of the model does your organization currently function? What are you doing to ensure your team arrives on a Strategic Sales Planning approach in the future? Take our Sales Maturity quiz to find out where you land.
In conclusion, strategic sales planning isn’t just for the fancy-pants sales teams with deep pockets and designer suits. It’s a proven approach to help any organization drive growth and increase revenue. By learning where you land on the Sales Execution Maturity Model developed by Revegy, you can reveal where you need more education and improvement to move to the next level. With the right tools, technologies, and a culture of collaboration, your sales team can achieve explosive growth and become the rockstars of your organization. So, what are you waiting for? It’s time to put on your sales hat and take your team to the next level. Schedule a demo below.
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