The beginning of Q1 is a busy time for those in the sales operations world. The usual cadence includes finalising year end figures, updating systems with org chart changes and new account assignments, issuing new quotas and commissions plans, putting final details on sales kickoff. Much of this rush happens as many changes can’t be implemented till the last year finishes.
Its become even more evident to me how critical is to have a clear and concise plan ready to put into action as soon as the year begins. This is even more critical than issuing timely compensation plans, I think. Knowing what accounts to chase, how to interact with other teams and what products to position is a lot more critical then knowing if your target will be $1.1 or $1.2 million this year.
I think the minimum to start off the year should be:
- Account Segmentation – this could be a variety of methods – Client/Prospect, Enterprise/Commercial/Channel, Strategic/Growth/Opportunistic, Tiered (by rev/size/etc), Industry
- Account Assignments
- Clear rules of engagement – cross-regional splits, inside sales vs field sales led
- Ensuring CRM and Marketing Automation systems are setup to support lead routing and make it transparent which accounts belong to whom
- Go to Market Strategy
- Clearly defined products for each targeted market segments
- Account plans for strategic and growth accounts
- Appropriate staffing plans matching skills and experience against desired sales behaviour
If these items aren’t in place by January it often results in confusion for sales and ultimately lost time in front of prospects. That being said I think the key message is that it is never too late to have a plan or start planning for next year.