Anaplan for Sales

The opinions in this article are 100% my own personal expression and I have been no way paid or incentivized to create this material

 

This September, I had the privilege and the pleasure to attend Anaplan’s Smart Business Tour here in San Francisco. Normally I don’t personally write about particular products or businesses, however the fantastic experience I had at the event coupled with what Anaplan is doing for sales professionals; generated enough impetus within me to take the time to write a quick post.

My particular affinity for Anaplan comes from industry circles where the software is highly regarded and personally, where the current CMO, Grant Halloran is a much loved and well respected IT game changer from my native country of Australia.

For my readers who are unaware of where Anaplan sits in the market – Anaplan is a high-level corporate performance management software which is much loved by financial controllers and supply chain managers – but has developed a comprehensive offering which touches many key areas of a typical enterprise business.

Given my expertise, the area which I was most interested in deepening my understand of was in the sales realm and I have to say I was thoroughly impressed by what I saw in a live demonstration by Rowan Tonkin – another fellow Aussie and Practice Lead for Sales & Marketing Apps.

Anaplan assists the end client with nine fundamental tenants of sales performance – these are sales capacity, account scoring and segmentation, territory planning, quota planning, deal construction, sales forecasting, crediting performers, incentive compensation and sales accruals. Many of these are technical sales functions typically are misunderstood, misreported and underutilized by most organisations I have worked with.

The element of the Anaplan offering for sales which I found most intriguing was how they are paving the way in sales forecasting; something myself and other VP level sales professionals often struggle with. Forecasting normally involves multiple decision makers internally to derive appropriate metrics and make underlying assumptions. With a solution like Anaplan – the excel spreadsheets of the past should be thrown out the door and organizations should take advantage of having data aggregate into one centralized and easy to use platform.

There are numerous reasons why I think a platform for simply sales forecasting alone is important, however I’d like to touch on a few with respect to Anaplan helps solve these issues.

Often as sales leaders; countless people with our hierarchy are involved in decision making; from regional managers to leaders managing particular teams in verticals or core business functions like BDRs/SDRs, mid-market account executives e.t.c. Anaplan’s tool offers seamless collaboration between teams for greater results and provides accountability for each of the relevant stakeholders. Chasing down commits can always be tough and is something I don’t want to do manually if technology can help resolve this typical pain.

Sales is also highly seasonal and the variability of common modelling inputs makes what-if analysis extremely hard. I like what I saw here and honestly would like to dive into the platform more to see how I could join other large brands like Motorola who are using Anaplan to solve these problems.

Furthermore, I think the Pipeline Sufficiency section of the Anaplan sales app is a fantastic tool which decision makers can use to locate where they may need to drive pipeline change to meet expected targets. Often this is something we don’t look at until post-quarter results, so having this presented to us dynamically with the ability to respond in real time before the chance of failure is a feature I feel is amazing.

On a more granular level, the tool is extremely sophisticated in the way that it can identify and attribute sales lag on particular deals – which I find extremely valuable for highlighting areas to improve through coaching & supportive sales enablement. This couldn’t take place without the high level of detail Anaplan prescribes to categorization of data – with deep insights into parameters like region, lead source and team members involved in the sale cycle.

At the end of the day – fantastic and clear visuals combined with Salesforce integration (plus other providers) made me truly rethink the way I go about sales as a science and look forward into diving into the solution more into the future.

 

About The Author

Dailius Wilson

Dailius Wilson is the 24 year old founder of WolfofYorkStreet.com – helping the world's top SaaS companies to optimise their sales and marketing efforts. Dailius is currently a Director at TrustRadius and a digital blogger at increasemyonlinebusiness.com. Dailius was named as one of the Top 30 Entrepreneurs in Australia for 2015 by Anthill Online and was ranked in the Top 100 SEO Experts in the World. Dailius has also been a guest on the Ellen Degeneres Show and has over 10,000,000 views on Youtube