No matter where you start doing things differently it will be a journey without final state of perfection. My personal experience in software industry started with empowerment, trust, investment and an innovative environment - all invaluable assets to be successful and certainly something to secure to back your own digital transformation!
The New World of Work offers more than saving commute time and a better CO2 footprint for the individual. It´s certainly more than saving office space, reducing travel cost and increasing employer attractiveness scores. Optimizing work and life for more productivity means a fundamental change of habits - professionally and privately.
The problem is not the problem. The problem is your attitude about the problem - Do you understand me?
Let´s not confuse, the digital transformation of our work- and lifestyle remains a cultural challenge, a social responsibility and it mandates innovation in leadership approaches. What may work on an individual- or team level requires a more systematic effort to organizational structures. Conventional Change Management is not sufficient to address the topic says Barbara Josef, Partner at 5to9. It requires general management attention to orchestrate the cultural transformation and realize the productivity potential. All functions from IT, Finance, HR and the Line Organizations need to be onboard and synchronized. Make sure, you keep it simple and rational in your approach to policies.
"Now that it's definitely not cool anymore, it feels safe for me to start tweeting as well ..."
During my career, I had the pleasure to work in mobile workplaces, use flexible- and drop-in offices, collaborate during intense travel, perform in international roles, manage remote teams, lead business in distributed environments and experience diverse cultures. Still, I keep exploring, learning, optimizing and innovating my environment - always aware that there will be no perfect time to try new things.
The next big transformation in sales is within reach. Therefore, I dive deep into Artificial Intelligence to further benefit Business Insight and, I look into seamless channel integration to imagine teamwork with our future colleagues, the AI Bots. If sales can add value to customers through well articulated procedures, repetitive activities and standardized offerings, than the combination of new technology with experienced sellers will lead to new exciting ways of customer experience.
Account Planning means planning for results. In a number driven world of sales, the decomposition of an aspired revenue goal is psychologically the first step to accepting the challenge. While SMART goals and respective objectives may well fit on a small napkin, they by no means are the plan. I would even argue that it is the wrong end to start with - relevant account plans are starting with the customer.
In recent years, Business-to-Business sales has evolved in various dimensions, redefining how we engage with customers:
Account Planning is a reflection on the evolution in sales but even more, so it is a yardstick on the sophistication of your teams work - what a great coaching opportunity or moment to personally benefit the customer relationship in form of executive sponsorship.
Imagine the business potential of getting the perception right by moving away from a necessary evil and abandoning the disrespect which a napkin implies.
How come, we seem to struggle with predicting our potential future business attainment? – We are dealing with a so called “Information Inefficiency”, a risk sourcing from an information deficit. It means we don´t know what will happen until it happened. So, in theory gathering information and managing deals on time will mitigate this risk and our forecast accuracy problem is solved.
However, the subject is far more complex since we are dealing with people, organizations and respective underlying political dynamics. Science refers to this risk category as “Alignment Inefficiency”. It describes the domain of risk sourcing from conflicting interests and -incentives within an organization. This important fact makes Forecast Management an interesting cultural aspect and sets it apart from sheer business discipline efforts – Forecast Management is all about Leadership!
Unarguably, the sales teams play a key role in mastering the forecast accuracy but we should not confuse Deal Management accountability on Seller level or Pipeline Management accountability on Management level with Forecast Management ownership on Leadership suite.
Forecasting is a team sport which, when done properly involves your whole organization to varying degree. Teaming up for success requires your people speaking the same language. Are your teams using the same taxonomy, following the same standards in assessing the business and is the final forecast puzzle seamlessly fitting together as one, ultimately reflecting the organizational commitment?
Sellers know their customers and deals best. The Bottom-Up approach is a good start but how do you assess required information without additionally distracting your motivated sellers from what they like best, doing business? – Seller Readiness and Deal Coaching are the first priorities. Getting this right, in right dose, is your ticket into a predictable deal management and a solid forecast foundation. The Best Way To Predict The Future Is To Create It!
When talking about the next level -the sales management assessment- we are already into the usual conflict of interest – ambition or reality. Clear answer: ambition belongs into the budget, business plan and the actual deal management, while reality is the main ingredient to the forecast. The Risks (Timing- and Alignment-Risk) remain as variables in the decision making. Having variables means options and scenarios to be considered during the forecast assessment.
Will the Risk deal offset another Upside or will the Risks/Upsides add up? … Do I have to adjust my P&L now, based on my Forecast or will the available resource still improve the business outlook in current business period? – It´s not easy but it all requires a deep understanding and clear sight on your business to get it right.
The view from the top in an organization provides us with the 360-degree view on the business to precisely navigate the curvy road ahead. Looking back on historic data and trendlines is tempting but also dangerous in anticipating the future. We easily miss the game changing moment in our market. Mark Twain well framed it: “History doesn't repeat itself, but it does rhyme.” Even more so, it generates a false sense of security which distracts from analyzing current business dynamics or going deep on deal progression.
Strong management commitment, insights on operational risks, specific deal challenges and visibility on the underlying decision making processes should equip us well to take a balanced decision on our forecast and conclude orchestrated corrective action on our business to come.
Finally, measuring Forecast precision is a helpful indication when it comes to supporting a continuous organizational learning process. Using it as an organizational goal, it triggers counterproductive corrective action on the symptoms, not on the cause.
The Forecast ought to be your uncompromised view on the future, it will not change the weather nor your business but it allows us to choose where to go or which action to take – cultivate your Forecast integrity with caution, don´t allow to compromise it with dishonesty nor load it with wrong ambition.
You can shoot the frog for bad news but like it or not, your Forecast accuracy is ultimately reflecting the level of trust within your organization.