It’s always best to have a plan. Assessing your team’s capacity and planning assignments and due dates accordingly, and having procedures in place for managing assignment coverages, are both critical for minimizing disruptions and keeping projects on track.
In this article, we will discuss what capacity planning and assignment coverage are, why you need to stay on top of changes, tips for coverage assignments, and why you should be keeping these topics top of mind when it comes to your GTM plan.
What is Capacity Planning?
At its core, capacity planning is a supply and demand issue: you balance the available hours your teams have (both total and each day) against each project’s needs, as well as other factors such as the project’s labor budget and the demands of stakeholders such as the client.
Using this information, you determine how quickly the project can be done without compromising other projects or incurring too much overtime and allocate your team member’s hours accordingly to ensure the project is completed on time.
Capacity Planning & the GTM Cycle
Capacity planning is a key part of any GTM (go-to-market) cycle. Operationalizing your end-to-end cycle is vital since a lot of companies continue to pour resources into manually planning and executing this cycle, which pulls team members away from projects that build your business and bogs them down with unnecessary administrative tasks.
By taking your plan and having the infrastructure in place to deploy it quickly into your operation systems (such as your CRM, customer relationship management, or HR system) you can save your team time and allow them to focus on what they do best: their jobs.
By investing the time and energy it takes to operationalize your plan (including clearing any backlogged tasks) upfront, you can save time later on. Look for ways to simplify your process and, ideally, implement push-of-button delivery. The days of deploying your GTM plan only once per year are over, so you need to ensure you have laid a solid foundation that will support your business and your team as the plan changes.
Why You Need to Stay on Top of Changes
Even if you weren’t planning on making any dramatic changes, sometimes circumstances change, and you have to adapt: maybe you need to pivot to remain competitive, maybe you have to deal with employee turnover, maybe you have to change tactics when selling in a new territory, maybe you have to navigate a merger or acquisition.
There are all kinds of activities that can affect the composition of your plan throughout the year, and having a two or three-week deployment cycle that needs to be completely revamped every time you need to modify your plan eats up a lot of time and energy that should be spent on business-growing activities. By investing in operationalization, you can respond to market changes faster, helping you maintain a competitive edge.
The holy grail of operationalization is self-service: Your sales ops team shouldn’t need to get involved at all; instead, you should create or adopt a system that allows your sales managers to handle any changes themselves, as long as those changes are compatible with your GTM plan. By allowing the sales managers to make changes themselves, you can empower them to be more self-sufficient since they don’t need to wait for your sales ops team to handle the changes. This helps improve efficiency and reduce or even eliminate help ticket backlogs.
The self-service model is also great because it empowers your reps and sales managers to handle tasks according to what is most critical or urgent for them, not what the higher-ups consider to be the most important or urgent. This ensures that tasks and issues are triaged correctly, reducing downtime and preventing backlogs while your reps wait for issues to be addressed.
However, for this self-service model to be successful, you also need to invest in education: Your sales managers need to understand the impact any changes will have on the whole system.
What are Coverage Assignments?
Having Right People for the Job
Coverage assignments can refer to ensuring you have the right people (with the right skill sets) on your team to handle the different roles you need to cover your various accounts. For example, you might have an account team that includes a salesperson, a sales account executive, a sales engineer, and a product specialist. Which types of people you have on which accounts may vary between accounts depending on the needs of each account.
Dividing Your Sales Team by Market
Assignment coverage can also involve creating multiple sales teams focusing on different markets or business types (such as having an enterprise-focused team and an SMB focused team). Ideally, your goal should be to ensure that all of your customers or prospects in your different accounts or segments have the appropriate sales resources assigned to cover any deals or other interactions you may have with that customer.
For example, if you have a customer who deals with a lot of healthcare providers, you will likely want to make sure their team includes someone who has experience working with healthcare providers and can offer appropriate insights.
Maximizing Customer Experience While Minimizing Costs
From a sales team and strategy perspective, you also want to make sure that you are covering all your bases without spending more money than you need to and eating up your budget. Maximizing customer experience while minimizing costs is a bit of a balancing act, one that good assignment planning aims to address.
Minimizing Overlap Within Your Sales Team
Assignment coverage is also critical for minimizing overlap (and potential conflict) on your sales team: you want to make sure that you don’t inadvertently assign two sales reps overlapping territories, verticals, or other categories or give your highest performing sales rep a batch of low potential leads while leaving your newest member to handle your most profitable accounts.
Good assignment coverage can also help address one of the most common complaints in the sales industry: the loudest team member gets the best leads and most support, while quieter team members are left with less-profitable potential leads and less support simply because they aren’t as vocal.
As Your Organization Grows, Consider Verticalizing & Specializing
As your organization grows, your roles are going to become increasingly specialized, which is why you may want to consider verticalizing. This involves breaking your sales team into sub-teams by vertical: One team focuses on targeting government agencies, another focuses on the financial sector, etc. This allows each team to develop and hone strategies that help them sell your products or services within each vertical. And depending on how technical your product is, you may also need to hire and train product specialists who can support your other sales team by providing technical insights and expertise. In these cases, specializing is a great way to enhance the customer experience and can help turn leads into closed deals and repeat customers.
However, you are likely to have fewer specialists than general sales reps on your team, so you need to have a plan and system in place to share those resources amount various teams and accounts to ensure the maximum amount of success for each account or lead. Though there are many excellent approaches to resource sharing, we find many companies tend to rely on the deal parameters approach:
For example, if you have a multimillion-dollar deal come in, then it makes sense to bring in your product specialist and assign it to your top-performing salesperson. However, without clear guidelines in place, who gets to call on that additional support might be whichever sales rep is the loudest, not whichever rep has been assigned an account that would benefit most from the additional support.
Defining & Enforcing Policies is Critical
To avoid this type of scenario, you should develop a set of defined policies on how things are done. This is also critical for handling scenarios such as re-assigning accounts when a sales rep leaves. With clear policies in place, your sales ops team won’t need to get involved because your sales managers will have the knowledge and power to handle these sorts of tasks themselves instead of waiting for someone in ops.
As organizations get larger, it is more likely that your sales ops team won’t know everything that is going on from a staffing standpoint on the sales manager and sales rep side, so they might not even realize an account is inactive right away and your organization has already missed out on a lot of new opportunities. By developing and enforcing policies, you can create a consistent, repeatable process designed to handle disruptions like staff turnover quickly and efficiently, minimizing or even eliminating downtime and helping ensure you aren’t missing key opportunities or neglecting customers.
How Can Fullcast Help?
Creating a capacity plan that is flexible enough to shift with your business and accommodate changes in your GTM plan and creating clear policies around capacity assignments are both critical, but even the best plans and procedures can’t shine without the right tools to support them.
Fullcast is a holistic platform designed to handle your revenue operations and empower your team by streamlining your GTM planning. Fullcast handles it all:
- Quickly and easily build segmentation and territory models using the power of our AI engine.
- Design your selling roles and coverage model with ease, and push to Salesforce with the push of a button.
- Setup targets such as MBOs and KSOs for your organization using a team, territory, and product perspective.
- Setup and collaborate on quota planning across your organization.
- Easily build out and manage your proposed organization chart and quickly compare your current and future states.
- Self-service makes it easy for your sales managers to move and change accounts, territories, coverage, and quotas themselves.
- Empower your reps so they can hit the ground running with the capability to set up territories and quotas on day one.
- Quickly see the impact of role changes, quota changes, and territory moves on key KPIs without the need to wade through obscure and possibly out-of-date spreadsheets.
- Tracking productivity and performance is easy, giving you valuable insight into your teams, team members, territories, and products.
Are you ready to take your capacity planning and assignment coverage strategies to the next level? Book your Fullcast demo today!