For many sales departments, the annual budgeting process is a matter of taking last year’s budget and making adjustments based on recent events, anticipated market needs and the desired percent increase in sales revenues.
After conducting interviews at all levels of the sales organization, it was determined that to ensure that sales teams are best aligned with the goals of the company, they would be empowered to make changes to how their budgets were to be spent. The total budget amount would not change, but now each sales team would have the freedom to make simple or dramatic changes to where they spent their team’s time and money. Each sales team acted independent from the other teams and thus began the process of unleashing innovation within the sales organization.
A carefully designed multi-step workshop was designed to guide a sales team through a process of:
- Understanding the company’s strategy through the lens of sales leadership
- Reviewing the sales and performance goals for the sales team
- Examining the current sales budget in detail
- Challenging assumptions about what is valued by customers
- Discussing what competitors are doing in their territory
- Assessing the alignment of where the team is spending time and money versus what the company’s strategy says is important
- An iterative process of re-distributing budget monies to better align with the strategy
- Inclusively ensuring that all sales team members are committed to the team’s direction and allocation of time and budget money
The workshop participants had agreed to workshop operating principles, including:
- Open dialogue where every team member’s voice is important and should be heard
- There are no bad questions
- Truth > traditional views (e.g. no sacred cows)
The workshops were customized to be highly engaging. The workshops were at times tense, at other times transformative. The facilitators employed visual and other creative tools to free workshop participants from underlying assumptions and unstated beliefs. Carefully designed discussion questions were used to work through issue identification and resolution. The process of creating a direct line-of-sight between the company’s strategy and budget line-items created ‘aha’ moments.