In today’s business climate, many companies are struggling with setting quotas, creating sales budgets, or conducting precise Sales & Operations planning when using spreadsheets. Therefore, more and more attention has recently been paid to the use of cloud services to collect more accurate insights based on data analysis and improve Sales & Operations planning. We bet that this is true for your company too, so we will share with you # proven tips for improving your sales and operations planning.
1. Pick up the right software tools
The tool you will use must meet the following requirements:
- it is designed specifically for planning;
- the solution is flexible enough and able to model the unparalleled complexities that exist across the whole S&OP process;
- it is suitable to operate in the environment of high speed and complexity of today’s business;
- it fits with your company’s specific business operations;
- it’s an easy-to-deploy solution;
- it must be able to evolve with your company, etc.
But most importantly, these software tools should allow your company to practice more dynamic planning and selling policies, improving their flexibility to a rapidly changing supply and market chain and quickly responding to both external and internal changes.
To achieve this, you can use dynamic guided selling, an approach focused on sellers that allow sales teams to get complete visibility into the organization’s deals and pipelines, control over the whole sales process, and make the most of data when selling.
One of the most advanced modern solutions for that is Revenue Grid’s guided selling tool that includes a set of features essential for successful Sales and Operations planning and gaining more predictable operating performance.
Revenue Grid’s pipeline visibility feature simplifies company’s sales and operations planning, offering significant opportunities for both sales leaders и sales reps, allowing them to:
- analyze S&OP metrics to understand sales and develop best practices;
- gives a clear picture of the health of your pipeline, multiple key metrics, and reasons behind increasing scores or dropping sales;
- allows you to instantly see where a deal stands, allowing to understand where the supply should be at for various products;
- receive contextual alerts that help to guide salespeople toward the best choice;
- remove guesswork, help your reps to adhere to the established sales process, and increase predictability of deals;
- integrates directly with Salesforce, which helps to simplify incorporating it into everyday operations.
2. Comprise S&OP in your Strategic Plan
This is a very important step that will allow these two processes to benefit from it. Your Strategic Plan is focused on achieving long-term goals, which, in turn, will create a solid platform for the more accurate company’s S&OP.
On the other hand, S&OP allows the organization’s management to understand how various functions work, which helps in creating effective and relevant long-term strategies.
3. Visualize sales trends and metrics and update your plan in real-time
Another critical step for connecting accurate S&OP is to create a unified repository with key metrics. Make these metrics available to different departments of the company so they can instantly get a detailed view of the accomplishments vs plan and overall performance, and access their progresses.
Keep in mind that automatic visualization of sales trends and metrics has a positive effect on your ability to forecast.
4. Get executives involved
Involve all departments of the company (Finance, Marketing, Sales, Product Management, HR, etc.) in the process of connecting S&OP: explain to them the most basic benefits, make sure they clearly understand that everyone will have to go through a long trial and error.
Try to clearly define for them all the intermediate stages of this process, delineate who is Responsible, Accountable, Consulted, Informed (RACI). Create a unified calendar to show that activities for achieving results are being completed on time.
The most important thing is to instill in the staff the Culture of Continuous Improvement.
5. Consider tertiary factors that influence supply and demand
Beyond supplier capabilities and customer forecasts, you need to define what external factors affect supply and demand and try to calculate their potential impact.
For example, companies delivering goods to retail stores when Walmart opens a new one can use past history to calculate the impact of demand on existing customers in that area.
You will need a similar perspective on the supply side. For example, a supplier of a critical component may start controversial contract negotiations with their union. Thus, you should identify & qualify alternative suppliers long before this happens!