Charles Race is executive vice president of field operations at Informatica, an enterprise software company reporting approximately $1.1 billion in sales. He recently spoke with SBI to discuss how he goes about creating the necessary balance to maximize revenue growth by placing the right sales representatives in the right territories. It’s not easy.
Informatica begins by determining the potential of each account. “We started implementing opportunity-based quotas about three years ago,” Race explains. First, he looks at the account, assessing propensity to spend, number of products or solutions purchased, market availability, and other relevant considerations. Then he analyzes the opportunity in the pipeline for the next 18 months. The idea is to understand what Informatica could potentially sell into each account by product line or solution area.
“We need to balance the territories, so the allocation of time a sales representative has in a week goes toward the maximum opportunity and potential,” Race says. Informatica looks at the amount of quota each sales rep should carry, taking into account the level of effort required to go after opportunities.
Race recommends going through every sales representative’s territory as it was originally defined. To gain market share, Informatica needs to grow its business faster than the market. Consequently, the company must identify openings for creating new territories with additional sales reps to go after bigger opportunities.
“You know when you’ve got it wrong only when the reps accept it without question,” explains Race. In the past, the company made the mistake of setting all quotas to be the same. Instead, the key to success is maintaining a consistent quota- setting method, one that explains how the quota is based on data inputs.
At the end of the day, capacity planning in large businesses is hard to pull off. The key is to have a well- thought-out methodology. Slow down and take the time you need to think through every aspect and rely on your methodology to guide your actions.
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