The end of the year is quickly approaching and as we get ready to say goodbye to 2016 we are reminded that it is a good time to start thinking about how your sales operation is going to function in 2017. As an ICM customer there are certain things you can do now to ensure you hit the ground running in the new year. We’ve pulled together a small list of items questions to help you prepare for designing your comp plans for the new year.
1) Build the Sales Ops Calendar
Start with your end goal in mind by documenting all of the critical milestones for your team. Discuss the responsibilities of each person and estimate the lead time you expect for each milestone. This will help you work backwards and prioritize the most important and lengthy components first. Setting an effective start date for each task (don’t forget to build in a buffer should one component take longer than expected!) will help you stay on target and you should know at a glance where you are at in the development.
Ask yourself: Does the 2017 calendar need to reflect new quotas, territory realignment, rate changes, new pay structures, plan changes or new products? Have we discussed the details of each? What are the next steps to move any of these items forward?
2) Develop a Communication Strategy
Sales operations do not exist in a vacuum, you need to have clear, consistent, and effective communication amongst all levels of your sales organization. Before you roll out your compensation plan changes ensure they have been vetted by Human Resources, Finance, Information technology, and your Vendor Partners (that’s us!). This will assist in making the transition in 2017 as smooth as possible and minimize your risk of plan delays. Change Management is a MUST for successful roll outs – consider implementing a comp plan sign off process that acknowledges new rates, territories and quotas, and where the plan structure or reports have changed you may want to schedule some sales force re-training to get everyone on the same page.
Ask yourself: Has everyone involved been informed of the changes? Is their acknowledgment auditable and will anyone require additional training?
3) Stay Ahead of the Curve
Identify the crunch time(s) and see where you can shift effort to smooth your team’s day to day utilization. Your ICM system uses an effective dating functionality to automatically implement and retire rate plans – this means you can load anticipated changes into the system long before they are required.
Ask yourself: Can you anticipate plan changes far enough in advance to capitalize on the effective dating functionality of your ICM system? If so – have you allocated time to the individuals involved to initiate these updates?
As with any transition it is always a good idea to involve the key stakeholders early and expect the unexpected – but with enough planning and process your ICM system will adapt to your changing business needs. Don’t hesitate to reach out to us with any questions you have to help keep your system running smoothly.