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Revenue Operations

A Blueprint for Doing Annual Sales Planning the Right Way

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Is it too early to start your annual sales planning process? Believe it or not, you’re probably behind schedule. Join Werner Schmidt, CEO & Co-founder at Lative, George Erskine, CEO & Managing Partner at Candescent Strategies, and Jeff Ignacio, RevOps Co-op Instructor and GTM Expert, as they discuss the anatomy of a good sales planning process.

“If you’re not thinking about annual planning in July, you’re falling behind.” - Werner Schmidt

Planning ensures that companies make informed decisions and are prepared for challenges. The most successful companies excel at planning. Understanding the anatomy of a good planning process can help you align and your unify your sales, marketing, and customer success teams to achieve efficient, scalable growth.

Anatomy of a good planning process

“It’s not enough to say you want to grow, you have to be specific and prescriptive.” - Jeff Ignacio

What’s the best tool for creating a solid foundation during sales and revenue planning? Use a RACI (responsibility assignment) matrix to ensure that all roles and responsibilities in the planning process are covered. This avoids gaps and overlap, which can lead to inefficiency and finger pointing.

As part of your responsibility assignment, make it clear who’s actually empowered to make decisions on your planning team. If your CFO or CEO can’t attend, their proxy should make decisions for them or come back quickly with an answer. This streamlines the planning process and can stop the cycle of second-guessing. 

Finally, set clear deadlines. The impact on your company, especially the sales organization, can not be overstated. Compensation plans rely on all previous dependencies like marketing plans, segmentation, and your strategic focus. Plan to have these precursors in place by November.

Communication and change management

Smaller companies can suffer from siloed communication and activities. The CFO and CEO will talk about what they want to see from sales next year, but don’t always include the RevOps team in their decisions. 

You must break down these silos of communication, especially with RevOps. They operate as the mechanics and plumbers of the GTM org and are equipped to recommend better tactics to accomplish your revenue goals. 

Communication is nothing without a change management plan. It doesn’t have to be complicated; an annual revenue planning calendar and a timeline is easy for everyone to follow. Aim for biweekly communication, even if it’s just a quick check-in with a few bullet points. This will keep everyone aligned. 

Best practices for formal checkpoints: 

  • Include all key stakeholders (CEO, CFO, CRO, CMO, Head of RevOps, etc)
  • Avoid too many sessions, they leads to delays and analysis paralysis
  • Clearly outline decisions that need to be made before/during each meeting 

Key planning deliverables

“Don’t fall into a false sense of security that, if you’re the one who set the deadlines, it's okay if you miss them.” - George Erskine 

At the end of your sales planning process, your team should be able to deliver these key deliverables for the new fiscal year: 


  1. Financial plan and budget
  2. Revenue strategy “plan of record” 
  3. Sales and marketing capacity models
  4. Systems, tools, and process change plan
  5. Annual company kickoff plan
  6. Quotas, compensation plans, and territories issued and signed off

Need some help?

Struggling to set deadlines for key deliverables? Don’t worry, our panel has done the hard work for you. In early August, schedule your revenue planning kickoff meeting. By the end of October, be ready to review your initial revenue plan with your CEO and CFO. Watch the full webinar for a comprehensive calendar.

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