Who are Sales Planners? Do you have a function called Sales Planning in your organization?
Most companies have a Sales support function called Sales Planning or Sales Logistics or even called Sales Operations. Sometimes in smaller companies, the Demand Planners fulfill this sales planning role.
Sales Planning function plays a key role in facilitating the selling process and to aid and enable the Sales Force to achieve targets, optimize their spend and improve overall account profitability.
So their role has a dual purpose –
1. To improve demand visibility for Sales Management and Corporate Supply Chain
2. To optimize the Spend and improve the ROI on the various spending plans.
On an on-going basis they facilitate the bi-directional communication between Field Sales and Corporate supply chain.
Often the role of Sales Planning function is blurred in the presence of a strong and visible Demand Planning group leading the S&OP process. Sales Planners are relegated to the role of agents and middlemen between the Demand Planners and Sales Managers.
Sales leaders will even use the Sales Planners as shields for Sales Reps from the Supply Chain. In extreme cases, the organization even splits the demand planning responsibility into two –
A) Baseline Forecasting – Demand Planners
B) Promotional Planning at Customer/Sku level – Sales Planners
In such an extreme, no body will own the complete demand plan.
Although the presence of Sales Planning can be a blessing, the role confusion between Demand Planning and Sales Planning can cause many issues including lack of accountability for the demand plan.
How do you interact with your Sales Planning function?
What are the common threads of confusion between Sales Planning and Demand Planning? How do you overcome these challenges?
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