It’s that time of year again. Annual planning and budgeting season is upon us.
As a sales leader, it’s your responsibility to balance two major tasks throughout the year: keeping your team hitting quota and ensuring the productivity output of your sales reps – and this is no easy feat.
Capacity planning’s importance cannot be understated. It simply makes the entire process of budgeting and forecasting growth targets far more visualized and attainable, setting the pace and reducing uncertainty for the year ahead.
This latest article will offer a 101 guide on the effects capacity planning can have on your inside sales team, breaking down the key considerations you need to take when forecasting and budgeting for 2022.
What is Capacity Planning?
Capacity planning isn’t simply an annual workload review; it’s the bridge between the current state of sales performance and where you want to be in a year’s time.
It’s a process that quantifies the current resources, capabilities, and output of the sales team, in comparison to upcoming revenue growth targets and sales goals – allowing sales leaders to form an actionable plan between the two.
Capacity planning reviews headcount, skillsets, and historical sales performance results to forecast annual revenue growth. It then identifies whether your organization has the resources to meet that target.
Not only will effective capacity planning build confidence and transparency amongst your sales team, it also offers value in a number of key productivity areas:
Capacity planning maximizes productivity performance, making a clog in your workflow, or bottleneck, far less likely.
Eliminates Wasted Time
Effective capacity planning arms sales teams with the knowledge of where resources and time are best spent, allowing you to prioritize specific accounts and slashing time waste.
Capacity planning puts the right people in the right place at the right time. A robust planning process encourages working independence by offering clarity, transparency and accountability across the board.
Like everything inside sales, there’s no room for guesswork when it comes to capacity planning. Rooting your forecasting in gut-feeling just isn’t sustainable. In fact, it’s likely to leave you scrambling to meet top-line targets with unsuited, untrained, or burnt-out sales reps.
The key is to set top-line targets that are both ambitious AND attainable, to keep your sales team motivated and performing across the year. This is where effective sales capacity planning offers the upper-hand.
In today’s fast-moving sales landscape, inside sales operations can’t afford to make decisions based on instinct. Almost everything needs to be rooted in evidence and cold-hard fact. Diving into data insights is the only realistic way to set actionable KPIs and forecast reasonable growth, while also understanding what your team needs to execute and succeed.
We’re not talking about generic, industry-wide data either. We mean clean, rich, and specific data that provides insightful context for your strategy planning. Just because you’ve read online that the typical lead-conversion rate should be 10%, for example, that isn’t enough detail to build your capacity planning around. There are factors to consider here: team size, rep experience, market share, client specification.
The bottom line is, to effectively forecast for the year ahead you need to accurately pinpoint analytics around ramp, productivity, attainment and closed won/lost for your own sales organization. Only then will you have the confidence that you’re assigning capacity in the most effective areas, or scaling your team to see a return on investment.
Pro-Tip: Organize your CRM
Ensuring you have an organized CRM with a strong baseline of historical data will add the extra context and edge to apply this data in meaningful ways. With this added layer of context, you’ll get a realistic, accurate understanding of what your team can already achieve, and form a more insightful view of the investment needed to build on this.