Monthly Archives: October 2018

Sales Planning, Reporting, and Usability: Feature Updates for October

Happy Halloween! fullcast.io’s Spooky Product Updates

It’s been a busy month at fullcast.io as many of our customers start their sales planning process, identifying their capacity needs (how many people they’ll be hiring) and territory planning (where those people are going). The next few months are high-stakes as they prepare for year-in-reviews while preparing for next year.

In support of that, we’ve been working hard on our product offerings and are excited to share updates with all of you to help with your sales planning. Without further ado, here are the key new features we’ve added this month:

Salesforce Integration

Integrating Sales Strategy with execution is the top priority at fullcast.io. This month we automated our Salesforce integration, allowing customers to sync their planning platform with their Salesforce data and push the territory, team assignment, and quota targets they make in fullcast.io back into Salesforce. With this update, fullcast.io seamlessly integrates users’ strategy and planning on the fullcast.io software with the backend execution in their CRM instance.

CRM Modification Reports

Important to sales planning is staying on top of changes in data. To that effect, one of fullcast.io’s additional features in October highlights data changes that occur in our customers’ CRM system, so users who are planning on our platform have up-to-date views of the changes in their CRM system and can act immediately to incorporate those changes into their go-to-market plan. No more re-downloading account information into your excel spreadsheets or other databases – we’ve got you covered.

Balancer, Portfolio Change Reports

fullcast.io introduced a host of new planning-related reports to our platform, including two of particular note:

  • Balancer Report – as users edit their territory hierarchies and assign routing rules/individual accounts to segments and territories, our balancer report gives a clear view in real time of how territories stack up against each other. Stop moving accounts, changing tabs in excel, and refreshing pivot tables – this report shows everything you need to know as you do your planning updates.
  • Change Report – curious about how your portfolios are changing from the plan currently in your CRM to your proposed view for your next fiscal quarter or fiscal year? We’ve introduced a change report to summarize the edits made in the planning process. This allows you to not only to understand the amount of disruption happening, but also share with the sales teams.

General Usability Features

In addition to the updates above, we’ve done a few other improvements and tweaks, including some UI enhancements with our segmentation and target-setting modules. Password retrieval and management are also new, as are a host of new metrics to consider when creating territories.

So What’s Next?

We’d love to share more with you about our future plans. To do that, keep coming back to our blog page or sign up for our newsletter. Or, if you want to chat with someone at the company, fill out this form or send an email to info@fullcast.io.

Sales Process Optimization – Experiment and Refine

Process Optimization for Sales Operations professionals is like a technicians tinkering with a machine – experiment, learn, and improve.

We’ve done a few things in recent posts:

  1. Summarized the Sales Operations Job Cycle, describing the infinite loop of processes in the Sales Ops function.
  2. Dove into Sales Strategy & Planning, which is how a company sets its vision.
  3. Discussed Policy Creation, which is how companies implement their vision, through policy and processes.

The next step in the Sales Ops Job Cycle is Process Optimization. This is the responsibility of Sales Operations to constantly evaluate and improve upon the way a sales organization works, with customers and within itself.

In this post we provide you with examples of process optimization and discuss our Five Steps for optimizing processes.

What is Process Optimization?

Our posts so far have limited Sales Operations to “Strategy” and “Policies.” Any sales operations person knows this is short-sighted – it restricts the view to a “discrete” process. In reality, Sales Ops is constant work, and there’s no greater example than the never-ending activity of optimizing processes.

We’ve outlined a few sales processes below, along with the questions and metrics addressed when optimizing. In the far right column are potential outcomes of projects that optimize processes.

Process Examples Considerations Optimization Outcomes
Lead Routing – How are leads currently routed?
– Is our capacity maximized across segments?
– Metrics: sales cycle, close rates, coverage, pipegen, sales qualification
– Leads are re-routed to under-utilized resources, improving close rates
– Re-allocation of marketing resources means higher ROI
Sales Stages – What happens at each stage? (e.g., Qualifications, Demo, Additional Sales Support)
– Metrics: time in stage, deal size, close rate, sales cycle
– Sales resources adjust to different sales stages and decrease sales cycles
– Earlier demos improve close rates and increase deal size
– New requirement for qualification yields better pipeline quality
Marketing → Sales Handoff – What constitutes a qualified lead?
– How and when does a handoff happen?
– What data is stored/ processed?
– Metrics: close rates, deal size, deal type, deal source
– New definition of “qualified lead” yields higher close rates and shorter sales cycle
– New handoff process yields bigger deal size and greater account continuity
Renewals – How often is sales &/ or customer success engaged with customers?
– Metrics: customer engagement, QBR
– Better customer engagement yields higher renewal rate
– Greater Sales relationship yields more “upselling”
Quote-to-Cash – How are quotes created?
– What pricing exists for whom?
– How are discounts handled?
– Metrics: sales cycle, deal size, close rates, cost-to-serve
– New software implementation reduces cost to serve, increases customer LTV
– New pricing processes improves deal size and reduces sales cycle
New Account Creation – How are new accounts created? What fields are required, by whom?
– Where is new data from? When to use various data sources?
– Metrics: # new accounts, data quality (missing fields, duplicate accounts, etc.)
– Change in process allows faster account creation, and more prospecting opportunity
– Improved data quality means greater clarity through downstream analyses (i.e. AI-based forecasting tools)

Each of the above examples outlines a different process in the sales organization, and there are many others out there. Maintaining a good grip on each is challenging, and requires a lot of effort from all stakeholders.

So, How Do You Do It?

Below we have the 5 key steps for Process Optimization in a Sales Organization:

  1. Establish Your Goal – Are you trying to get close to the customer? Do you want to maximize Sales? Come up with goals that can be measured. Defining your goal and tying a metric to it allows you to evaluate later steps in a rational way. Note the initial value of the goal you set does not matter as much, since you’ll be revisiting later.
  2. Experiment – Have an idea that might work, but no evidence? Test it out! Here is a great article by Harvard Business Review that discusses how to set up a business experiment and test a hypothesis. Setting up the right test can quickly validate whether an idea is valuable to your business.
  3. Analyze Results – You’ve completed your experiment, and want to know the results. Did it work? Well, look at your metrics (remember, you set a goal in Step 1 that had them?) – comparing your test group’s results with a control group benchmark, or an industry benchmark, allows you the perspective you need to determine whether the idea worked.
  4. Replicate Successes, Eliminate Failures – Simple. Take the ideas that didn’t work and get rid of them – either to never see the light-of-day again, or put them on a shelf to try again at a different point in time. The successes? Roll those out across the company, aligning key stakeholders to own accountability.
  5. Repeat Steps 2-4 – Process optimization is a continuous cycle, after all, so it’s back to step 2 to continue tinkering and iterating on processes to improve where possible.

These steps work across processes, and allow businesses to make better and faster decisions.

One important thing to note – this tinkering should happen with as little disruption as possible, and only where the potential gain outweighs the cost. Tinkering for the sake of it can disrupt the daily motion of a business and cause more harm than good.

How does fullcast help?

At fullcast, we are a company of sales process optimizers. After years of working through broken processes or unintegrated sales tools ourselves, we developed a streamlined platform that grows as your business does, and is flexible as you develop your own business design and rhythm.

Take some a couple of examples:

  • A $2.5B IT Organization has moved its sales planning process completely out of spreadsheets and into our Design Platform, allowing unprecedented collaboration, planning, and system integration.
  • A $50M CPG Company has reduced sales administrative work by over 50%, allowing more interaction with customers and more time to sell.
  • All of our customers have simplified their sales processes, reducing wasted time working in their CRM and freeing up more time to sell.

Is your business overwhelmed with processes that keep it from growing like it should? We want to help. Reach out at info@fullcast.io or leave us your information here and we’ll reach out.

Sales Policy Creation – Linking Strategy with Sales Operations

In recent posts we have been answering a question we get a lot: “What is Sales Operations?”  We have defined the roles and responsibilities of the Sales Operations job, and have started looking at each of those responsibilities.

We last looked at Sales Strategy & Planning, which is how a company sets its vision and lays out the path to get there.

In this post we dive into the next step: Policy Creation.   We’ll focus on “What (are Sales Policies),” “Why (do we have them),” and “How (do we make them).”

What are Sales Policies?

Sales Policies are the rules that govern sales organizations as they go through their daily motion.  Policies guide how business gets done – how people interact with each other, what to do in certain situations, how technology systems work and integrate, and a host of other things.

Is a sales organization split by industry, where certain people cover healthcare companies while others cover financial services? Sales Policy.  Are there rules that a salesperson can’t move an opportunity to the next stage unless they’ve spoken with a particular person at a company? Also a Sales Policy.  What about needing manager approval before offering a discount? You guessed it – Sales Policy.

Sales Policies exist everywhere in a sales organization, and a well-operating company ties its policies closely with its Sales Strategy and general business priorities.  Take, for instance, the goal of getting new sales reps up to full productivity.  There are many policies tied to ramping new reps, and we have listed some below:

  • Business Objective: Introduce new Sales Reps to the Organization as quickly/effectively as possible
  • Example Policies (including, not limited to):
    • Onboarding: New reps need to complete certain training before taking on accounts.
    • Account Ownership: New reps manage a certain type of accounts to start.
    • Account Handoff: Old reps hand off accounts to new reps in a certain way.
    • Incentive Compensation: New reps are paid a  certain way in the first few months.
    • Quota Target: New reps have a certain quota target in the first few months.
    • Existing Opportunities: Opportunities that another rep created are treated a certain way.
    • Tasks by Stage: New Reps complete certain tasks at different stages of a sales cycle.

Policies exist for every business priority, and align tightly with company strategy to move everyone in the same direction.

Why do we have Sales Policies?

Creating Sales Policies is a critical component for putting strategy into action.  No matter how good an idea is, or how defined a company’s vision, unless there are tangible ways to implement it then there will be little chance of success.  Sales Policies ensure that sales activities align with the company strategy.

Take the example that we provided above, where a company is trying to reduce the time that it takes to onboard a new rep.  What if there is no onboarding structure? What if there is no policy for experienced reps handing off accounts to new hires? Sales managers and sales operations staff will tell you – managing without policies in place causes significant headache, detracts from the company’s goal, and hurts performance.

Many of our customers have shared experiences with us that show issues when there are no policies.  In one instance, eight collective hours of manager and rep time was wasted in a dispute between two sales reps that worked the same deal.  Who should receive credit? Everyone had an opinion, and no one agreed.  In another instance, a company outgrew a policy that let every rep see each other’s territory.  It made sense when there were 5 reps, but not with 30, and it became an issue when everyone began looking over the fence to see what accounts other people had.  This brings up an important point: Issues that arise from lack of sales policies also become larger as a company grows.

Bottom line: create sales policies! Doing so prevents issues from coming up, and allows people to focus on the important things.  We recommend creating an official “Sales Policy Handbook” that lists every policy in one place, so everyone can refer to it when questions arise.

How do you determine the right Sales Policies?

Creating the right sales policies is important to a company’s performance.  Poor sales policies are as bad, and sometimes worse, than no sales policies at all.  Company’s creating new sales policies should follow these steps:

  1. Consider your Business Priority. What are you trying to do? Hopefully this is a natural flow from Strategy & Planning.
  2. Brainstorm potential policies across Sales Ops functions. Policies exist with Sales Enablement, Data Governance, Compensation, Account Ownership, Territory Assignment, Account Handoff, and many others. Make a list!
  3. Evaluate policies on their attractiveness and achievability. Select most attractive and most achievable across all functions
    1. Attractiveness: will this policy significantly help us get to our business goal?
    2. Achievability: is this policy possible, and low relative cost to the business?
  4. Consider how your policies will change as your company does. A Sales Policy Document is a living document and changes as a company does. The more flexibility you can have in your sales policies from the beginning, the better.

Following these steps will make sure your sales policies, and by result your teams, align with your business priorities to drive performance and growth.

Where does fullcast.io stand?

Sales is dynamic, sales teams are constantly evolving, and companies need strong platforms to support that.  At fullcast.io we believe this starts with the policies – that the best way to build scalable sales organizations is by implementing the right sales policies and aligning them with go-to-market strategy.  Our software platform and business partner services support that goal, and allow companies to elevate their sales operations functions to focus on driving and sustaining growth.

Interested in learning more? Email info@fullcast.io.