Cloud-based cybersecurity firms must react instantly to potential threats — or lose their revenue and reputation. But these same companies must also address an internal threat: the lack of execution due to insufficient planning.
A detailed annual plan creates a roadmap for the coming year, aligning sales and support resources with company goals. Staying focused on revenue growth and achieving strategic targets will be easier with a robust plan that is informed by data, rigorously tested and calibrated to the operational capabilities of the organization.
Our technology client, a firm specializing in threat detection and response solutions for enterprise-level businesses, required detection of sales inefficiencies that drained sales productivity and performance. They called on Alexander Group because of our technology sector credibility, reputation with investors and relevant work with industry peers.
This client faced a variety of challenges. First, their legacy segmentation criteria were deemed too complex and subjective. Poor governance allowed for the trading of accounts between segments creating mismatches between seller capability and account opportunity. Lenient breakpoints between their Enterprise and SMB segments also created unreasonably high account loads per rep.
Second, the company experienced high cost of sales due to a heavy overlay model, with some functions contributing to substandard performance. Unclear rules of engagement exacerbated the problem and resulted in inefficient expansion and renewal motions.
The company also consistently missed growth targets. Insufficient account executive headcount, exacerbated by delayed hiring and ramp-up challenges, contributed to lower aggregated productivity. Finally, lean operational investments restricted the company’s ability to optimize comp plans, territory designs and quotas.
The client needed an annual plan that created a new foundation on which sales and support resources would be structured and deployed with maximum efficiency. The new model would also require revised incentive and enablement systems to improve the company’s competitive positioning for top-tier sales talent.
First, we benchmarked the client’s resourcing, performance and productivity against relevant XaaS peers. This analysis also included sales compensation benchmarking, pay-for-performance and pipeline analyses, lead mix reviews, and interview insights.
Next, we assessed their go-to-market strategy, structure and management using Alexander Group’s Revenue Growth Management System. Finally, we developed initial recommendations for more efficient coverage and a greater focus on deal execution.
Alexander Group co-developed a detailed, bottoms-up GTM plan across critical workstreams including segmentation, coverage, organizational design, sizing, territories, quotas and compensation design. At the request of the CEO, Alexander Group presented the FY23 GTM plan to the Board of Directors during the Annual Operating Plan meeting to ensure top-down buy-in and support.
Specific modeling included a segmentation model, headcount capacity model, bookings pro-forma model, commissions cost model, territory design in AlignMix mapping software and a quota model.
Without a strategic focus, it was clear that sales rep efforts created wildly fluctuating results.
For instance, our assessment revealed two prevalent gaps.
In North America, where most of the business exists, the average growth ACV per rep was $1.4M, but the median growth ACV per rep was $760k. The data showed that seemingly strong productivity was masked by uneven performance. For instance, only some sales reps achieved 90-110% of the goal. Therefore, the company lacked a “productive middle” cohort that could drive meaningful revenue.
Second, a lack of discipline around closing opportunities and poor CRM hygiene created an inflated pipeline. There were thousands of phantom accounts, and the average duration of an open opportunity was 352 days that ultimately created ~$110M of unreal pipeline.
A focused annual plan required clear objectives, obtainable goals and practical solutions. Based on these planning guidelines, our project recommendations included five key improvements.
Crafting an updated segmentation model focused on new, objective criteria, including customer spend, fortune rank and employee count. These criteria aimed to increase focus on enterprise accounts and reduce account loads to minimize coverage white space. This new focus would result in Tier 1, Tier 2 and Tier 3 segments with separate vertical carve-outs for Public Sector and Financial Services.
For more information or for help with your go-to-market planning initiatives, contact Alexander Group’s technology practice.
Alexander Group understands your revenue growth challenges. Since 1985, we’ve served more than 3,000 companies across the globe. This experience gives us not only a highly sophisticated set of best practices to grow revenue—we also have a rich repository of unique industry data that informs all our recommendations. Aligning product, marketing, operations and finance efforts behind a successful sales organization takes insight and hard work. We help the world’s leading organizations build the right revenue vision, transform their organizations and deliver results.
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