The end of the year is right around the corner. COVID is exploding, and the future is murky at best. What do you do about making a plan you can defend, makes your management happy, and that drives your bottom line as aggressively as possible while minimizing the risks. Since your board or investors will question your business assumptions, it needs to be a plan to defend with confidence and update quickly if things change.

We have been working with clients for years to help them figure out what is going on in their businesses, whether new products, strategic customers, channel business, or other parts of the company that interacts with customers. Suppose you want to build an aggressive plan based on data and not driven by hope. In that case, you have to have an excellent way to capture what customers are telling you and what is going on in real-time as the market goes through violent changes and everyone is trying to react but not kill their business. Try to build this market picture by talking to sales management and maybe a few key customer contacts. You will get a narrow concept of the situation, and it will only be a snapshot at a specific time that will not get adjusted as things change.

The best way to build a plan that you can manage is to have a system that captures what your team is discovering as they talk to managers and workers at customers. We have created a comprehensive customer and business opportunity management system that captures everything going on across all the customer engagement points in your organization. The course builds a picture of what the customer is doing, what they are thinking about, and what your chance of engagement in their future is on a real-time basis. Management can get information about where things stand on critical programs, what the latest customer discussions and meetings discovered, what the sales team thinks the forecast looks like by part or by customer project, where things stand in the sales funnel for future business, and what the relationships look like to influence your critical customer’s decisions. When you build a plan backed up by this comprehensive new business situation information, you get out of the emotions and strategy based on data.

The NEHANET AOP development process captures everything that has happened to customers in the past year and what they have booked or forecasted for the next few months. The Opportunity management solution assesses where you stand on new business opportunities so you can determine what will drive business growth for the new year. Our AOP process goes the creation of a plan that:

  • Assesses sales for the past 1-3 years to see what has happened in the past.

  • Builds an order profile to predict what the near future should look like and comparison to historical profiles.

  • Categories opportunities based on the current situation on the new business potential and the customer success profile and adds judgment based on your confidence.

  • Assesses channel partner business to identify growth potential or target channel partners for improvement programs.

  • Builds marketing campaign projects to create new business leads and market penetration.

  • Profiles new product introduction plans to capture development milestones and build market penetration growth roadmaps to track for business expansion.

  • Identifies critical strategic customers and creates a strategic account penetration plan with essential milestones and execution roadmaps.

  • Consolidates all the customer data into one integrated database to see what customers tell you from call reports, opportunity status information, and historical perspectives.

When your CRM provides complete customer business profile data, you can build a plan for the year with milestones, you can measure. Business data you can monitor for changes to assess the impact of market changes. New product sales profiles get tied to new product introduction milestones, so sales don’t end up holding the bag when development is delayed.

You can set up a dynamic plan that tracks business results through the year and recommends updates to the project as a customer, program, or product changes happen, and we all know they will happen.

Driving the data plan makes it easy to design the initial plan and then manage the approval and modification process as management adds judgment and goes towards more aggressive goals. When you order the process from a data perspective, you can judge how you can achieve the more aggressive elements of the plan and track how to accomplish them and how you are doing against the program and the stretch goals that get set.

Once the plan is done, converting it into KPI goals for organizations, teams, or individuals is a snap. This gets tracked in the future system, so you are frequently aware of where you succeed and where you need to focus your attention to get improvement.

Annual Operating Plans are an essential part of the business cycle. Having an organized, detailed way to build them based on business data and customer insight is vital to success in the coming very volatile year we are facing. Talk to us to find out more about how we can make AOP planning a data-driven, efficient part of your new year.

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