Category Archives: Sales Operations

Maximizing Q1

Maximizing Q1

You’ve spent Q4 meticulously working through your sales plan. You’ve defined territories, segmented accounts, set targets, and planned roles. The plan is ready to go. Yet every first quarter, rep productivity is at its lowest. 

At the start of each fiscal year, the sales team is unsure of their patch and their quota. The team is so focused on determining their targets and territories, they don’t spend time selling. And as you hire new reps at the first of the year, ramp time and territory handoffs drain momentum

How can you solve this? 

1. Lock patches down a month before the fiscal year. This gives your reps a month to learn their new territory and prepare to jump into Q1. 

2. Use the balance of the month to fine-tune patch and quota for the year. Using current performance is a great way to determine future goals and ensure growth goals are attainable and easily understood. 

3. If you’re planning to hire more reps in the new year, over-carve territories in the planning phase. This ensures your new reps have a territory assigned when they onboard and you’re not removing accounts from existing reps in the first quarter.

4. To offset unproductivity while your new reps onboard, assign current reps as temporary owners to your over-carved territories. Specifying temporary territory ensures a smooth handoff to the new rep.

5. Define a holdout policy for reps covering patches temporarily.  This ensures reps will be credited for a deal if a new rep takes over an active opportunity, motivating reps to work their temporary territory. It also prevents turf wars and enables you to split opportunities.

6. Anticipate ramp for each role you’re hiring.  Knowing the productivity ramp of each role sets realistic goals to manage target versus attainment for the year. 

Sales planning is a stressful, complicated time. It’s easy to take shortcuts or ignore steps that save time in the long-run. Hopefully, these quick tips are easy to implement into your planning process and give your reps the boost they need to hit Q1 at full force. 

Read more of our tips for sales planning.

It’s 2019, Still Segmenting and Planning in Excel

This article was originally published on the Smart Selling Tools blog on August 27, 2019. You can read the original version of "It's 2019, Still Segmenting and Planning in Excel" here.

I shared an earlier post on LinkedIn about the necessity of fast-growing companies to switch their go to market (GTM) plans to stay in sync with their growth stage. What worked at one stage may not work at the next. The customers you served in the past may no longer be the right fit for you, or your product may have evolved to meet the needs of a different customer tier.

Customers or prospects come in all sizes. Depending on the nature of your business, not every customer is necessarily the right fit. In the initial days of building a company, the relentless focus is on the ICP. The team works together to refine the ICP and find fit. When things click, we find our growth spurt and focus on the repeatability of the sales process. Now everyone is focused on making the horses go faster and rarely do teams go back to revisit the ICP. Why is that? The product has probably evolved, your business model has evolved, and there is pressure to change segments. The effort is entirely focused on going upstream and most companies fail. The recent report from CNBC points to how recently publicly listed darlings have struggled to find fit.

Interestingly, these companies have grown, the fledgling sales team has grown, and so has the supporting ops team. They now have a dedicated sales strategy team, yet they struggle. They struggle because the sales strategy team is disconnected from the world in which the sales team operates. The sales team operates in CRM. But the sales strategy team is planning in Excel sheets with multiple copies and versions. The data in the Excel sheet is always out of sync.  You can no longer use the old ways of segmenting your customers once and allocating your best resources to a static set of accounts.

The current segmentation process in Excel sheets is rigid.

We take accounts, filter them against our current ICP hypothesis, add firmographic, demographic, or employee size segmentation, and put our best resources to go work against them. This happens in Excel and after multiple rounds of reviews, we finally update our CRM with the appropriate segmentation and assignment of ownership. In the time it took us to plan, segment, and deploy, the world changed. The salespeople we planned to have in a role or territory have left.  We've created new accounts. The leadership team has decided to find growth in an ICP not in your original plan, and the board is asking more “what if” questions. Your careful segmentation exercise is stale on day one.

This is 2019. You are still planning in Excel?

Instead, you should move accounts in and out of segments based on more granular data like usage, buying signals, content downloads, etc. You should track and weigh these factors to continuously evaluate the “fit” of an account in the segment.  The data should drive the business rules to recommend moving accounts in and out of segments. Maybe the hot logo account you had in your strategic list switched to the competition. That account should move out of the strategic account bucket, and another account with a higher propensity to close moved in. You may need to flag an existing account with low usage to have more account management love. Excel can't accomplish any of this. This requires us to think of automation.

In a world where we have more data than ever, fast-growing companies can’t afford to let their most critical tasks live in Excel. The horses may run fast with all the ops investment in tools to drive rep productivity, but they may be running in the wrong race or going fast in the wrong direction. It’s about time sales leaders looking to stay relevant stepped up and changed the status quo.

RevOps Metrics

Introducing a Balanced Scorecard for Aligning Toward Growth

This post was originally published by Forbes on August 27th. You can view the original article here.

Recently, I came across a post on LinkedIn from Dana Therrien, practice leader of sales operations strategies at Forrester. It highlighted the growth of the RevOps role with titles like director of RevOps, chief revenue officer and chief sales officer. The growth of these titles is aligned with a movement toward bringing disparate operational teams responsible for growth together, at least organizationally, under one leader -- the chief revenue officer (CRO).

The CRO is geared toward driving alignment across teams responsible for the customer life cycle experience: marketing, sales and customer success. The role has become prominent due to the shift toward the cloud in the tech sector, where winning the deal is only the start of the revenue cycle. After that, the real work starts. You have to earn revenue every day. Folks in traditional service industries like hospitality and retail have always understood this. Your customer wants to know "What did you do for me today?"

Typically, the RevOps leader is responsible for driving the alignment of the operations teams across silos to ensure all operations functions are orchestrated in line with the customer journey. The goal of the ops team is to smoothen the customer journey from the time they first became aware of the service to when they are serviced. I call it a journey from "education to wow."

To help with this transition, I created a framework to measure RevOps metrics. This framework drives alignment across every function in the company in support of the customer, from the traditional marketing/sales/customer teams to product/operations and partners in support of growth and revenue goals.

So, what are the RevOps metrics that indicate alignment is working and every single team is aligned toward the customer experience? Below is the breakdown for the first part of the balanced scorecard for the growth-focused RevOps organization.

1. Revenue Metrics

 Book of business by product/geography: What is the total dollar amount of all opportunities by weighted pipeline for all your products and geographies?

Revenue productivity (LTV /(CAC+CRC)): This will give you an insight into the dollar worth of a customer after adding costs for acquisition and retention

A company generating revenue but not growth is less than ideal. As such, I recommend teasing "growth metrics" separately.

2. Growth Metrics

 Net new revenue/Qtr- Excluding recurring revenue: What is the net new revenue earned or booked /quarter?

SaaS magic number tracking: This number reports what you get in customer acquisition for every dollar invested; for SaaS, if it is close to 75 cents on the dollar, invest in more sales resources

Quick ratio: The net revenue month over month, factoring in churn; the ratio is a better way to compare apples to apples

3. Customer Acquisition

Average contract value: This is your ARR or TCV value

The average revenue per user/customer: This identifies segments that are more attractive than others; it will allow us to invest our best resources in the segment that generates the highest revenue

• Average lifetime value: What is the average revenue if a customer is based on the anticipated length of the contract?

4. Top-Line Key Ops Metrics

Percent of market share gain: This is an important metric to track for more established firms; growing firms should ignore since taking market share from an incumbent is not a priority while in the growth stage; however, if you have multiple players and you are close to series C, then you need to start tracking this

Operating margin: Every founder should track it to find the right segment

 Customer acquisition cost (CAC): What is the total amount spent on all sales and marketing costs (people + tools)?

Every CRO is accountable to these RevOps metrics. In the next part of the balanced scorecard, we will look at the top-line metrics each team should track in support of corporate goals.

Traditionally, revenue metrics are tied to sales. More recently, organizations are looking to hold marketing accountable as well. However, I believe revenue is everyone's business. To that end, in the next part of the balanced scorecard for SaaS companies, we will review the set of metrics to be tracked for growth for marketing, sales and customer success, channel partners, product engineering, and operations.

Read more of Dharmesh Singh's Forbes articles here.

5 Considerations For Buying Sales Planning Tools

Buying sales software is challenging, and buying sales planning software is nearly impossible. Most products only offer one point solution and rarely integrate easily with your day to day tools like Salesforce and Slack.  This graphic from Smart Selling Tools paints the picture perfectly.

 

There are thousands of tools for sales teams, but very few tools that tackle all the complicated needs of end-to-end sales planning.  Which tool should you choose? We’re here to help you sift through all the tools on the market by offering our top considerations for buying sales planning tools. 

Let’s start by establishing your goals for the sales planning process. When it comes to sales planning, you have three basic goals:

  1. Designing a realistic and accurate plan that is both achievable and optimized for the opportunity you are chasing. To do this, you want to use as much accurate input data as possible
  2. Designing a plan that is understood and agreed on by everyone. You want both top-down and bottom-up analysis
  3. Designing a plan where assumptions are clearly understood and can be validated. You want a plan that is based on a realistic understanding of the sales environment, TAM opportunity, and recruiting market

Based on these goals, let’s dive into the five considerations that make choosing a sales planning tool easier.

1. Your Plan

Let’s begin by considering the process around your sales planning.  How big is your planning group? Is it one or two people reviewing a plan for a small company, or an entire planning team of stakeholders and departments? We’ll cover how to consider collaboration needs later, but begin by asking how many people will be involved in the planning process to give yourself scope.

Secondly, consider how you’ll build your plan. Are you building off an existing plan or creating from scratch? If the plan is existing, what data will you include? Financial, historical, and HR Data?

How sophisticated is your sales plan? Do you plan informally or do you have specific, detailed steps to work through? If you’re looking to move to a more formalized process, create your plan by setting segmentation, role assignment, territory carving, account balancing, ramp hiring plan, and target setting. You can learn more about the 8 steps in this video.

Finally, consider your reporting needs. Will your organization expect you to report on multiple elements of the plan, or simply the final revenue results? This impacts how to collect, aggregate, and display data so be sure to look for tools that report to the detail and metrics you need.

2. Growth and Scalability 

After considering your planning process, the most important consideration is the size, stage, and growth rate of your company and sales team. Growth impacts your plan constantly so you’ll want a tool that enables projections of team size. You’ll hire roles and expand territories throughout the year, so look for a tool that projects growth into your plan, and measures growth as the year progresses. You’ll also want a tool that grows with you as you scale. Any tool that can make planning more automated, repeatable, and measurable year over year will save your team from manual, repetitive tasks each planning cycle. 

Another question to ask around growth and scale is how much you anticipate your plan changing as you grow. What current stage of growth and competition do you operate in and do you anticipate that changing? Will you be doing quarterly or semi-annual adjustments to your plan, or does your plan cover year-round performance? Depending on the stage and size of your company, you may grow and change at a faster or slower rate so look for a tool that matches your rate of change. A more dynamic company will need a more dynamic tool.

3. Data Hygiene 

Bad data costs companies an average of $9.7 million a year - between 15 and 25 percent of revenue. With costs averaging $100 per out-of-date record, every data entry counts.  About 20 percent of every database is dirty, and with database growth around 40 percent each year, more growth results in more bad data. 

When looking for sales planning tools, it’s imperative to consider how that tool not only implements and measures clean data but preserves data hygiene and prevents bad records from growing with your database. This is much easier said than done. Tools used for routing, account hierarchy building, and data enhancement are great places to look when considering how data hygiene plays a role in your sales planning. 

4. Stakeholder Management

On average, 5 departments are involved in the sales planning process, resulting in multiple, individual stakeholders.  HR assists in planning how many sales reps and sales support staff will be hired. Finance sets financial targets. Marketing sets goals for market engagement, product features, and pricing. All these decisions are incorporated into the plan, reviewed, and revised before the plan goes to market. 

Sales planning tools must enable these stakeholders to see current numbers and data, review proposed plans in real-time, and offer feedback transparently. While email chains and collaborative documents are a starting point, next-level sales planning utilizes collaborative, transparent tools that give all stakeholders visibility into the plan before it’s launched. 

5. Segmentation

Each year, companies enter new markets. Those markets could be geographic, or expansions to Enterprise accounts, broader industries, different product lines, and tiered pricing structures. These market changes can be fast and sudden throughout the year, so sales planning tools should be equipped to handle changes with agility. Having a tool that can reassign reps based on account size or territory will save you hours of time and effort. Look for tools that enable you to customize deal size and product usage to better calculate ARR and customer segments, as well as tools that map out territories and assign reps.  This kind of customization and agility will ensure your sales plan stays accurate even as market changes force your plan to adapt.

A Final Word

Before we summarize, let’s talk about planning in Excel. While on the surface Excel planning appears straightforward, the reality is the spreadsheet format is two dimensional. It’s nearly impossible to organize and pivot view between your segments, territories, teams, and channels on a single page. At best, you can look at a matrix view of the information. A good, dedicated sales planning tool enables you to easily dissect your plan from all lenses that drive growth, which is needed when scenario building. Moreover, planning in Excel doesn’t allow you to improve your process and incorporate learnings each year. 

The best sales planning tool will improve your handle on data, collaboration, and execution agility. It’s important to consider your planning process, the growth and scale of your company, your data hygiene, stakeholders involved, and the markets and territories you’re operating in. These considerations will ensure the tool you choose meets the needs of an agile, collaborative sales planning process. 

Hopefully, these considerations have clarified your approach to choosing a sales planning tool.  If you haven’t seen the fullcast.io sales planning tool, contact us for a friendly, informative demo.

Read more tips for sales planning.

What's Next for Sales Ops

What’s Next for Sales Ops?

This is a condensed discussion about the future of Sales Ops originally aired on May 22, 2019 as a webinar discussion between Dharmesh Singh, CEO and Co-Founder of fullcast.io, and Nancy Nardin, Founder of Smart Selling Tools.

Nancy: How has Sales Ops evolved and what can we expect in the future?

Dharmesh: Sales Ops is on a transformative journey. It originated as a commodity function and has evolved to be a capability. As it continues to play a role in strategy and growth, it’s now starting to be considered a competitive advantage.  As a commodity, Sales Ops was designed to handle non-selling burdens so reps had more customer-facing time. It managed data entry and administrative burdens. But in the SaaS world, there is rising complexity of sales resulting in more role specialization.  Sales has become more sophisticated and as companies start to scale, growth takes priority. The lense for sales as a cost center has changed into sales as an investment. Companies have established true partnerships and relationships between both sales and sales operations which is why sales leaders and companies see sales operations as a capability. They realize they need functional expertise around systems, reporting, process, and compensation.  Sales Ops no longer serves as a generalist role. It now requires subject matter expertise to drive business effectiveness. As this function continues to grow, companies will see Sales Ops as a competitive advantage. Mature teams are undergoing this transformation. There are advances in technology, access to big data, and even greater complexity in sales organization as companies become more account-based. Sales Ops is becoming a strategic weapon that allows companies to use sales operations as a driver of growth beyond just marketing, sales, and customer success.

 

Nancy:  As Sales Ops manages more business growth, how do you see role specialization developing? 

Dharmesh: Roles specialization no longer only happens in field facing functions like inbound sales. There is also complementing role specialization in sales operations. Sales Ops used to be where you moved anyone not talented in sales. Now, that role is specialized and you need people with deep data knowledge who can understand business and strategic growth. It is now a core competency, not simply operationally doing whatever a company needs. The diversity of titles and roles we now see within Sales Operations demonstrates that increasing specialization.

Nancy: The big trend in business now is consolidating  marketing, sales, and customer experience under a new umbrella called “Revenue Ops.”  Describe this trend and its impact.  

Dharmesh: At the end of the day, business is not only about generating revenue, but also profitability. You can create revenue but not growth. That is why GrowthOps has also emerged as a trend in addition to revenue ops. Both Revenue Ops and GrowthOps result from businesses realizing the strategic nature of growth. It’s no longer just about sales, but building a repeatable, scalable growth driving machine.   If you were a VP of Sales with infinite money to invest, you used to invest in a sales role over a back-office function. The backend guy was viewed as a cost. But now, sales thought leaders no longer look at Sales Ops as a cost but a wheelhouse to grow revenue. Sales Ops empowers companies to win bigger deals, make deals faster, and renew more deals. This is the crux of Revenue Ops - using process and data to drive strategy and create lasting growth.

To watch the full webinar conversation, visit our video page.

Three Priorities of Focus For Sales Transformation

Nancy Nardin of Smart Selling Tools interviewed fullcast.io Founder and CEO Dharmesh Singh for her series on Transforming Sales. Dharmesh explains how trends in sales ops are driving growth. Nancy is the founder of Smart Selling Tools which reviews sales tools and provides resources for sales professionals.  You can read the original interview here.

NANCY: WHAT ARE THE TOP AREAS OF FOCUS IN THE NEXT 12-24 MONTHS FOR ORGANIZATIONS THAT WANT TO TRANSFORM THEIR SALES ORGANIZATIONS?

DHARMESH: I think the first priority is taking control of the tool stack. There has been an explosion of tools in the sales ops world and we feel that today, sales operations professionals are spending more time integrating systems than performing sales operations.  It’s death by a thousand tools. Moreover, most tools aren’t integrated with each other, so you get point solutions that solve a niche need but are not really helping teams grow. Sales organizations are dynamic by nature and if they invest in tools that do not accommodate and align an evolving sales team, teams will outgrow the tool. This has tremendous impacts on sales teams.

The second transformation is Data Governance. CRM is now the source of corporate truth. It aligns and integrates all customer-facing functions from pre-sales to post-sales. CRM should be treated as an enterprise database, and as with most enterprise databases, it’s only as good as the data within it. Teams looking to transform sales organizations need to invest the time to define and enforce policies for data entry and data lifecycle within CRM. Today most CRM instances are in the wild west age of data governance. The lack of trust in the data is holding sales organizations back from taking advantage of their CRM investment to its fullest capacity.

Finally, thinking about integrating operations with your go-to-market plan. Today, operations teams responsible for daily sales execution chores are disconnected from the overall sales go-to-market team. These are two separate functions in most organizations and it’s imperative to integrate and ensure they are working in cadence as the go-to-market evolves. Successful organizations align their resources rapidly to meet the requirements of an evolving go-to-market as change cycles become shorter and competition in the marketplace increases. Companies that build agility in their go-to-market with execution ability will succeed.

NANCY: HOW SHOULD COMPANIES DECIDE WHICH APPROACHES TO SALES TRANSFORMATION ARE RIGHT FOR THEM?

DHARMESH: Take a data-driven approach to making decisions. Sales operations teams are typically working in silos, disconnected with the needs of the executive suite. Successful sales organizations use sales operations as a strategic lever for growth. An investment in sales operations can exponentially help scale sales beyond just adding headcount.

We have created a GrowthOps Framework that we think can help teams think through metrics to drive alignment from the CXO to the sales ops team. The metrics in the “Grow” row are the top-most metrics for most organizations. They should be the north star for teams working on metrics in the “Optimize” row to drive alignment.

NANCY: WHAT ARE YOUR TIPS FOR ENSURING THAT TECHNOLOGIES CONTRIBUTE TO SALES TRANSFORMATION IN A MEASURABLE AND IMPACTFUL WAY?

DHARMESH: I recommend folks to go back to the metrics that matter and track to see if they are driving the right behavior. Focus on the process and policies that you want to enable before picking a tool. We have seen success for organizations that take the time to define process and policies before jumping into tools. The tool is a means to an end. Many teams make the mistake of signing up for the newest, shiny toy without taking the time to see how it fits into their go-to-market plan and what policies it will enforce.

NANCY: HOW IS YOUR SOLUTION TRANSFORMING YOUR CUSTOMERS’ SALES ORGANIZATIONS?

DHARMESH: Our platform approach allows teams to bring their sales planning and sales operations together for the first time.  We now have a unified view of how each team is supporting the overall sales motion.

Teams leveraging fullcast.io’s platform are finding that they are able to:

  • Shorten their sales planning cycles and react faster to market changes
  • Build integrated, collaborative sales plans that drive transparent decision making
  • Reduce dependency on IT with the ability to make CRM changes
  • Cut down on ad hoc custom code in Salesforce systems
  • Enforce sales policies consistently across the organizations, resulting in cleaner data and better decision making

NANCY: WHAT ARE SOME GOOD RESOURCES IF SOMEONE WANTED TO LEARN WHAT QUESTIONS TO ASK, WHAT OTHERS ARE DOING, OR OTHER FACTORS RELATED TO SALES TRANSFORMATION?

DHARMESH: Fullcast.io has built a community for sales and sales operations leaders. We’ve hosted meetups around the country and plan to host more in the coming months. These meetups have covered everything from career growth in sales operations to best practices in sales planning. We source our community for topics and listen for pain points we can address at our events. On a more daily basis, we’ve launched the Growth Ops App and a LinkedIn Sales Ops Community group for those looking to connect with other sales operations professionals, ask questions, and share ideas. You can find the Growth Ops App in the app store and request to join the LinkedIn group here.  As one of our community members put it, sales ops professionals often stumbled into their role and make it up as they go, so we’re committed to providing resources to empower sales operations teams and help them unlock growth in their companies.

Policies: What They Are and How They Function Within A Software-Defined Ops Framework

The definition of a policy from Wikipedia states: A policy is a deliberate system of principles to guide decisions and achieve rational outcomes. A policy is a statement of intent and is implemented as a procedure or protocol.

What do all of the below have in common?

  • No smoking within 20 feet of this building
  • RCW 46.61.050 – Obedience to and required traffic control devices
  • A dress code
  • Password must contain numbers
  • An email address is required to create a contact
  • A “No Parking” sign

These are all examples of policies. We are surrounded by policies in our daily lives and most of us (reluctantly) follow them without knowing they are policies. We use them to guide our decisions in daily life. Policies help produce predictable outcomes as well. In the business world, policies help us avoid risks and/or increase the predictability of a process.

Take a minute to think about several policies you use or follow in the workplace. A good example of a workplace policy is a dress code. Focus on one policy and now think about how it shapes the decisions you make. If the policy didn’t exist, what would you do? How does that differ from the outcome the policy intends to achieve? If you ask your neighbor what before and after decision they made, it would be a fairly good bet to say that the outcome of the decision made without a policy in place is different from your outcome. Yet it’s also a safe bet that you and your colleague are both wearing closed-toed shoes to work on a hot summer day.

It’s important to understand that policies do not just stand on their own. If we zoom out to look at the larger picture we will notice that policies are components of a capability or the ability to do something. Let’s take the example of driving. We want the capability to drive. That’s easy enough, give us a car and we are good to go right? Well, what do we do with the car? If we want to get from point A to point B, then we need a process, and if we want to get from point A to point B safely, efficiently, and effectively, then we need policies. The process itself is the act of driving. Turning on the car, stepping on the gas, turning the vehicle, etc. The policies are the rules of the road that keep everyone from colliding into each other.

Take a moment and think about the worst intersection of traffic in the world. The middle of this intersection is packed with vehicles all trying to go in different directions. Inch by inch each vehicle creeps forward, progress is slow. Why is the traffic like this? How did it get this way? It’s not unreasonable to think if everyone just followed the rules, they wouldn’t be in this traffic nightmare.

Now imagine a pristine intersection with stop lights and all vehicles are stopped at a line before the intersection. When the light turns green, the vehicles get to zoom off to their destination since the intersection is free of other cars trying to go in other directions. What differences do you notice between the two scenes?

  • The second scene is more efficient than the other
  • Cars are able to get to their destination quicker
  • The drivers and passengers are more likely to arrive at the destination without a ding in the car
  • There is less frustration and confusion

How does any of this relate to Sales Operations? A Sales Operations organization without policies or stop lights, will operate much like bad traffic. Sales reps will fight against the system or if there is no system, then they may just do whatever they want. They will look for the loopholes, like driving on an open sidewalk. It will take longer to arrive at the destination, and sometimes the destination just becomes so unattainable a rep will give up. Policies in the driving world keep the intersection clear, thus increasing the efficiency of getting to the destination, which would increase the chance of arriving at the destination. Policies in the business world grease the wheels of the process and help guide us to a predictable outcome like the attainment of a revenue goal.

In Sales Ops, a considerable amount of time is spent putting together a go to market plan. Back in our Strategy and Planning post we learned that our GTM strategy is how an organization plans on getting to its revenue goal. The plan is the process of getting to the goal. Policies are implemented to help maintain focus on the goal and make the “how” of how to hit the goal easier by taking the guesswork out of some decisions. We’re not saying no policies no goal. Policies just increase the predictability of hitting the goal. Every VP of Sales would tell a Sales Ops org to implement policies if it increased the likelihood of them hitting their goal by 5%.

In the short-term, missing a revenue goal may seem like not a big deal because the thought is that you can always double down on the efforts to make up the revenue in later months. However, as we will discover in the next couple of paragraphs, quickly adopting a plan to make up for the miss may not be as easy we might think and we can now kiss that revenue goal goodbye. Try telling your VP of Sales that. The likely scenario is the organization spending the rest of the year trying to catch up. Everyone knows the long term implications of missing a revenue goal, but something that often gets overlooked is that the faster you move, the less policy gets enforced. Policy drives focus in decisions, and therefore a lack of policy can lead to a chaotic feeling. Decisions take longer and they are less predictable. The more chaos in the culture of an org the more employee churn.

As we alluded to in the previous paragraph, this problem of policies goes a step further. Coming back to our driving example, there is a difference between a policy that is hardcoded into the process and a policy that is extracted from the process and is able to adapt to the changing conditions. The best example here is speed limit signs. We see these signs everywhere. They are permanent and don’t change. They are hard-coded into the driving process. Getting a speed limit sign changed requires a lot of time and energy. It starts with a request, a traffic study is performed, then an agreement on the new limit is made, new signs made, and a crew will then change the signs. By the time all that gets completed, the original conditions may have changed. In business, they definitely changed.

The solution to this problem is extracting the speed policy from the process and giving it the ability to adapt to the changes in driving conditions. In major cities around the world, we are beginning to see electronic speed limit signs. As the density of traffic increases or the weather worsens, the speed limit is changed on the fly. This allows the traffic to quickly adapt to the change in policy, keeping vehicles and people safe, while keeping the traffic moving. Any business interested in building a well organized intersection that allows for efficient and rapid progress towards a goal, then policies should be a part of every process and capability established. These policies need to be dynamic and adaptable to changing business conditions. This means we need to think about how to extract our policies from the processes we currently have in place. This concept gives rise to defining policies using software. Software-defined policy is the equivalent of the electronic speed limit sign. They give you the ability to quickly turn a new strategy into execution in the CRM.

Policies are an important aspect of a capability, as they help define the rules of the process. They help with decision making. They create reliable outcomes, establish predictability, and allow your organization to scale and adapt to the changing business environment.