By Andy Miller and Dino Di Palma, Managing Partners

In the early days of the COVID pandemic, many companies were in a “wait and see” mode with a timeframe of “returning to normal”. As we now find ourselves two years into the pandemic, many of our clients are asking, “How do I create a FY22 sales plan when our outlook is still unknown?”

We are advising our clients that creating a data-driven sales plan, and making a few big bets, can make the difference in their sales trajectory.

We asked our clients to look at three topic areas:

Understand what has changed in your customers behavior, and are those changes permanent?
Create different scenarios with clear “If -Then” statements.
Double Down – key bets can yield big results in FY22.

Let’s look at some key points on each of the above three topic areas:

1. What has changed in your customer behavior?

There are several categories of questions to address to best understand how your clients have adjusted to the ‘restart’ and the subsequent phases of the pandemic. Has the pandemic created clear winners and losers in your customer base? Has it impacted behavior or buying patterns? The answers to these questions will enable you to shift the proper resources and efforts to focus on delivering solutions to those who have benefited from tailwinds. More than likely these pattern shifts reflect the new normal such that marketing messages and sales motions should reflect this understanding.

2. Create different scenarios with clear “If – Then” statements

Trying to create a sales plan or forecast has become increasingly challenging, it has become more of an art than science. Budget plans were replaced by “COVID plans”, which were then again replaced by a “new re-forecast”, sometimes with multiple iterations. We have recommended to our clients to create different “if- then” statements that imply varying levels of impact on your business. An example, we are living now with the Omnicrom variant. “If” the current surge has a sharp downturn by the end of Q1 and global cases return to a new normal, this may allow businesses to return to the office, the supply chain issues resolve, and the monetary policy tailored to inflation then a more normal forecast can evolve. But in the scenario that FY22 is further challenged by new variants that disrupt businesses ability to execute properly, then that requires a new focus on planning. Of course this depends on what industry you are in, and what verticals you can sell into. However, whether it be Enterprise B2B, Carrier, Software of Cloud, FY22 represents if at all based on what we have learned in FY20 and FY21, a flexible multi layered approach to forecast and planning.

3. Double Down

With all the uncertainties, clearly there is enough information now of what industries, geo’s and verticals have either been harmed or been buoyed by the headwinds/tailwinds of the pandemic. Armed with that information, our clients are identifying new patterns in customer behavior to your business that with sufficient targeted investments can help in achieving the stretch or ceiling goals. Verticals such as Health Care, FINSERV, and Retail have robust opportunities for our software/cloud CX customers, and with hybrid work here to stay in one form or another, CX is a very compelling growth market in FY22 and beyond.

Those that take a data driven plan, with key bets on the proper growth oriented customer verticals will clearly be able to weather whatever variables are thrown at us in FY22.

Our True North client base is seeing unprecedented growth opportunities, and we are excited to collaborate with them in the new year. If you have comments or suggestions around how to best plan or forecast in these unprecedented times, share with us.