April 15: (Sales Strategy & Operations) Day of Reckoning

Day of Reckoning: “the time when one is called to account for one's actions, to pay one's debts, or to fulfill one's promises or obligations.”

April 15 marks an important, but frequently overlooked “forward inflection point” in the annual cadence for marketing and sales organizations.

Sure, the taxes are due. But for sales strategy and operations teams, April 15 is ~ 100 days into the new year AND ~ 100 days from the beginning of the 2014 budget planning process (uggh, already ? ).

As with filing our taxes, the April 15 milestone is marked by:

  • Close the books on the prior year
  • Measure what worked, what didn’t work
  • Consider strategies for current (tax) year and beyond
  • Pay your taxes (…or collect a refund).

On the measurement front, a proactive Sales Strategy & Operations group will mark the April 15 occasion to measure and learn. The annual budgeting process is likely to commence in the next 90-120 days and you will want to be armed with quantified results to inform that process. For instance, did your sales organization …

  • … Implement some pilot programs in 2012 ? Measure them and be ready with scale / stop recommendations.
  • … Realign the territories at year end ? Your sales force should be well through the ‘disruption’ phase and gaining significant traction. Who is lagging ? What customers remain under-covered ?
  • … Implement new (training / technology / messaging … fill in the blank) programs ? Measure the incremental sales and ROI, and be ready with scale / stop recommendation for each program.

More strategically, when is the last time you took a hard look at your sales force size ? Right now is the perfect time to raise that question and consider whether or not to evaluate your sales force size. The marketplace changes every day, has your sales force size and structure kept up ? Product lifecycle, new products, new competitors, financial considerations, etc. all have an impact on the value your sales force generates.

The second quarter is the perfect time to analyze and critically evaluate your sales and marketing investments so that you are ahead of the annual budget planning process. Be sure to know what to keep, cut, defend and reallocate.

Strategically, Axtria can help you evaluate your sales force size. The next blog posting in the Sales Strategy and Ops series will cover the Six Classic Sales Force Sizing Approaches. Happy to compare notes with you to determine if you need a (continuing with the tax metaphor here) 1040EZ, 1040 full form, or complete audit of your sales force investment.

Tactically, the Axtria team is great at measuring sales and marketing program ROI (topic for another day / series).

Remember, if you are in Sales Strategy & Operations, you are already working too damned hard (your taxes on top of 1Q incentive compensation payout calculations …).We can help.

Tags: Blog, SalesIQ, Sales force effectiveness, Buzzwords, Sales Strategy & Operations

Charlie Thompson

Charlie has 25 years of experience in health care, financial services and management consulting. He has a blend of marketing, financial and operating experience, especially in the development of technology and analytical intellectual property to find, win, keep and grow profitable customers.

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