How do you Bridge the Planning Gap? Connecting Sales & Finance
Author: John Beringer
Companies of all sizes are expected to not only grow their topline, but use that revenue growth to enhance their cash position to finance new market or channel development, reinvest capital towards major investments, or increase profitability. An integrated planning process is critical to achieving growth targets, but the connection between sales forecasting the organization’s planning process can easily become siloed and impede your organization’s overall strategy.
For many organizations, planning begins with sales targets as the tip of the arrow, allowing for strategic and operational decisions to be made based upon expected revenue. When the topline growth target is set, the sales team is chartered with building a sales plan to meet that growth target. This plan can be driven by regional growth targets, headcount, number of opportunities, win percentages, or other factors. This information should be made up of real time and historical data points to answer questions like:
- What is in the sales pipeline?
- How have we historically performed on quota attainment?
- What are the implications if we fall short of our revenue targets?
Updated sales forecasts can be incorporated ad hoc, but often without the detail and transparency needed to make efficient and meaningful decisions. If the organization fails to meet profitability targets, not enough revenue is coming in, expenses are too high, or both, negatively impacting the company’s overall cash position, making it challenging to meet a debt covenant, fund new growth strategies, or achieve earnings expectations. To gain the insight necessary to track progress and adapt to changing environments, organizations are becoming increasingly reliant on fluid, rolling forecasts to compare progress to plan with revised sales forecasting.
Through the intersection of technology and business process, an organization’s leadership team can be empowered to meet their growth targets and hit goals crucial to the overall health of an organization. By building a planning, budgeting, and forecasting model and process that is fully integrated, and based on bottom’s up transactional data (including CRM data for forecast), an organization can finally achieve an enterprise view to manage their growth.
A Technology-Enabled Solution
Connecting the various layers of a planning process relies heavily on leveraging integrated technology. Anaplan is the only platform on the market with the connected planning capabilities to generate the efficiency and speed required to rise in today’s fast-growing market. Anaplan’s ability to integrate seamlessly with CRM leaders such as Salesforce, makes it possible to leverage necessary source information to build an effective forecast and make informed decisions.
In a hypergrowth world, it’s critical to build a planning process that promotes the agility needed to meet your goals. With best-in-class process architecture and technology, you can make this process a reality.