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When it comes to setting up your team, and your company, for success, the formula is simple: The best way to have a great year is to start with a good plan. Because annual planning is key to any business’s success, our webinar broke down the process into easy-to-follow steps. In case you missed it, we highlighted key takeaways for you here.


1.  BEGIN WITH THE BASICS. To set realistic and achievable departmental goals, you’ll first need to understand company targets and budget, and how those factors will impact your team. You may also need to consider macroeconomic factors as certain industries may be impacted differently depending on going on in the world as a whole.


2.  REVIEW THE PREVIOUS YEAR. To get a realistic perspective on what you can accomplish in the new year, it’s important to reflect on how things went the previous year. Here are some things to consider:

    1. Was our onboarding program successful? Why or why not? What were the metrics?
    2. What was the level of customer satisfaction? Metrics might tell a different story; you may be losing customer satisfaction while meeting objective targets and need to recalibrate.
    3. Will any goals or objectives carry over into the new year?
    4. Was your team under- or over-utilized?
    5. Review standardized templates and update accordingly.


3.  START PLANNING. Identify the goals and changes you want to make and aim for three to five targets. This will allow you to prioritize as the budget pans out and you can reduce accordingly, coming away with two to four goals for the year. For each goal, you’ll need to determine resources required, budget, measurable outcome, and timing:

      • Resources: Will this goal require only my team or help from others?
      • Budget: Will you need money for contractors, new equipment, new software, etc.?
      • Outcomes: What is the measurable outcome of this change or goal? What will determine its success or impact? How will it benefit the company?
      • Timing: To accomplish this goal, when does a process need to start? How long will it take to see results?

By breaking down each goal, you’ll be able to present a succinct package to leadership and fellow colleagues showing how your goals align with corporate goals, and how much money and how many resources will be required to accomplish them. 


4.  MAKE YOUR FORECAST. It’s imperative to plan before you forecast as you’ll need topline targets, company goals, and an understanding of your and other teams’ initiatives. Why? Because other teams’ goals may have a direct impact on your own. For example, your sales team might decide they want to increase the attach rate of onboarding programs to customers. This could impact how many projects or people your team needs to support. Understanding the bigger picture allows you to determine realistic targets and goals. Other considerations when forecasting include:

    • What is your “new business” revenue target for the upcoming year?
    • What is the existing business attach rate?
    • What is the average customer value from new business?
    • What is the attach rate per onboarding segment? For example, if you have three different product lines, you’ll need to determine the attachment rate for each and how many projects you’ll need to support on an ongoing basis. 


5.  REMEMBER: FORECASTS ARE NOT FORTUNETELLERS. Forecasts aren’t meant to be perfect. Instead, your goal with a forecast is to be within an acceptable range for your business and/or personality, based on individual risk tolerance. Some helpful forecasting formulas for beginners include:

    • Total New Business ARR / Average Customer Value = X New Customers Per Month
    • X New Customers Per Month times the Attach Rate to Opportunities = Number of Projects
    • Average Quantity Purchased by Existing Customers

Bottom line: Always do a gut check. If the numbers don’t feel quite right, make adjustments manually. 


6.  DETERMINE YOUR RESOURCE NEEDS. Resource planning is similar to forecasting but you’ll need a forecast before properly determining your resource needs. Considerations include:

    • Average number of projects per person 
    • A running total of active projects, including how many will be completed and how many will rollover
    • Actual utilization rate (i.e., your team is currently running at 70% capacity and you want to get them up to 90%, meaning you’ll have 20% additional capacity for new work)

A simple spreadsheet with months or quarters listed at the top and a list of all planned resources can help calculate your needs. Consider the following equations:

  • Number of Starting Projects + Number of Completed Projects + Number of New Projects = Total for the Month
  • Total Projects for the Month / Average Number Per Person = Number of Resources Required

If you follow these steps, you should come away with three summarized one-sheets: a
Department Goals and Budget Request, a Forecast of Projects, and a Resource Plan. These summaries open the door to great communication with leadership and colleagues. You’ll have a straightforward set of requests to show what your team will accomplish and what you’ll need to succeed in meeting those goals.