Optimal Sales Resource Plan
The goal of an optimal sales resource plan is to achieve your revenue goals while minimizing your sales costs. The result is a plan that tells you how to grow your sales team at the minimum cost, or how much additional revenue to expect from your existing team.
Do you want to drive more revenue with your existing sales investment? How about reducing your sales costs without sacrificing revenue? The secret is Optimization! This can reduce your sales costs by 15%. In our last blog post, we introduced the concept of optimization as it pertains to business in general. In case you missed it, Google defines optimization as, “the action of making the best or most effective use of a situation or resource.” This blog post takes the concept of optimization and extends it to a sales resource plan.
Allocate Sales Budget
A sales resource plan is simply how you allocate your sales dollars to achieve your revenue goal. Primarily, these sales dollars are spread across those employees who carry quota plus those who support sales (Sales Engineers, Sales Ops, Admins). Every year a sales team goes through the process of planning their resources for the coming year (value in shifting to multi-year planning). During this planning cycle:
- You know that you will lose some sales reps.
- You know that their replacements will take time to ramp up to full efficiency.
- You plan to grow your revenue, so you will have to hire an additional sales rep, and they too will take a while to ramp up.
- You consider the fixed costs associated with your sales team.
- You have to plan for variable costs that come with commissions and sales incentive programs.
- You’re not exactly sure how to translate your revenue goals into sales quotas (bookings or orders).
There are a lot of moving parts, how do you capture them and feel confident that you have a plan that will meet your goals?
The simple answer is to spend more money; unfortunately, we live in a budget-constrained world. Instead of spending more money, spend less, or increase your revenue targets. While many of us are tired of hearing, “do more with less,” optimization is the tool that can make it a reality. Optimized Sales & Marketing (OSM) is our SaaS solution that abstracts away the complicated math and lets you determine your optimal sales resource plan using simple inputs and a click of a button.
To get started you need to first gather all of the required inputs:
- Revenue Targets – These are your annual revenue targets appropriately spread over 12 months. Typically, we run optimization three years at a time, so targets for each year are needed. If you expect to recognize revenue from your backlog then you would need to include that too.
- Product Amortizations Schedule – This is required for all the products that your team sells. Typically, there are some products that are recognized into revenue at the point of sale and there are others that are recognized over the term of service. This input is used to translate your revenue targets to the order (booking) targets for your team.
- Current Sales Employees – These are your key resources. It is important to include which position they are in, their start date, their quota, and their commission.
- Sale Ramp Rates – This input has a big impact on the results of the optimal plan. As noted in our blog series on Sales Efficiency, “salespeople’s efficiency ramps over time is critical to achieving your future order and revenue goals.” If you don’t know your sales team’s ramp rates you can use historical performance to calculate them. Calculating these is a feature in OSM.
The result is a plan that tells you when (month) and where (position and territory) to grow your sales team. It identifies which positions should be hired first, and which positions should garner less investment. It plans for departures and will propose new hires as backfills, or potentially in new positions. If given a chance, the optimized plan will efficiently reallocate headcount to reduce cost while maintaining revenue.
If you are struggling to determine which growth strategy is best for your company, an optimal plan can inform your decision. You can use the optimization model to test out different strategies and see the impact on cost and revenue. This is known as what-if analysis. For example, you might be trying to decide if you should make further investment in the Northeast region (New York Area) or in the West region (California). You know you’ve reached market saturation in the Midwest, so you cannot hire more people there. You tell the model to increase headcount in the Northeast on one plan then in the West on another plan. You can then quickly compare the cost and revenue increase between plans and to the baseline plan.
In the end, you will have a sales resource plan that achieves your revenue goals at the minimum cost. This establishes a hiring strategy over multiple years that will save you 15% or more in sales costs. If you would like to learn more about how ORM Technologies can help with your Optimal Sales Resource Plan, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information on optimization, our Optimization for Sales and Marketing white paper offers insight as to how it can cut costs and improve your sales organization.