Sales Operations Planning: 2 Great Tools and 4 Best Practices

Last Updated on: 22nd November 2023, 01:25 pm

To avoid wasting money on resources or facing bottlenecks, businesses need to put time into optimizing their sales operations (S&OP). By this, we mean creating a forecast, planning for demand, assessing the supply chain, and finalizing the plan. To help you out, there are countless tools and a series of best practices to take on board – continue reading to find out more.

Tool 1 – SAP Integrated Business Planning

Effective S&OP takes time, and SAP Integrated Business Planning reduces that significantly. You can plan your ideal scenarios and simulate them to check feasibility. By seeing in-depth analytics before you’ve implemented a plan, you’ll save time and become even more productive as a business.

Tool 2 – Oracle S&OP Cloud

Oracle S&OP Cloud is a powerful tool that’s stacked full of templates, which can adapt to create your own sales operations plan. Further, you can easily keep track of each implementation through the dashboard, which is great for accessing KPI insights. Through Oracle’s powerful system, your team can collaborate, and you can easily assign tasks to individuals or groups. Further, by integrating with Excel, workbooks can seamlessly be sent from desktop to cloud.

Best Practice 1 – Take Complete Control

There are countless people involved in sales operations planning, and they need to be guided along the way, especially when communication needs to happen across different departments. Therefore, to manage effective collaboration, you will need to take complete ownership of the project. Typically, the person in charge will be a CEO or senior leader – someone with in-depth knowledge of how the business works from both sides.

Best Practice 2 – Keep Accurate Records

Your S&OP will never stop developing, so make sure you keep records to avoid losing sight in the future. When you keep extensive records, it will save you time because you will never unknowingly implement old and ineffective operations. Further, if a new leader takes over S&OP, they will have a full picture of what’s happened so far.

Best Practice 3 – Keep It Simple

When a task needs completing that involves multiple bodies and will likely result in change, businesses have a habit of overcomplicating everything and making life more difficult. To keep everything simple, engage in sales operations consulting to gain useful insights from professionals. Further, when it comes to analyzing data, focus on the most important areas instead of attempting to understand everything.

Best Practice 4 – Cross-Functional Interaction Is Key

The heart of sales operations is a collaboration between multiple parts of the business, including investors, leaders, employees, and customers. If your S&OP only takes into account the sales time, the end product is never going to benefit the wider company. The best way to ensure cross-business functionality is to be 100% transparent.

When demand rises, an unprepared business will fail to fulfill its customers’ needs because of supply chain issues. However, when businesses take time into putting a sales operation plan in place, the demand and supply sides of a business will be more equally balanced, which will satisfy customers.

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