The Enterprise Area Sales Manager Playbook is a 1-page view of key activities an Enterprise Area Sales Manager leads as they manage their team and area. Think of it as a guide (not hard and fast mandates) to help you manage your business and optimize results.
The below detail offers additional guidance on how responsibilities and activities are managed, and has been sourced from experienced GitLab Enterprise ASMs and leaders. When thinking about 'what good looks like' in this department, refer to your job family, the field competencies, our manager and leadership competencies, and our GitLab values.
Strategic sales planning is a key activity every Area Sales Manager (ASM) leads for their team - validating that sales team members:
This happens annually. In preparation, you’ll look at how those accounts are distributed across your team and validate our goal of having a fairly equitable distribution across your Strategic Account Leaders (SALs). You’ll recommend territory assignments and quotas and identifying resource requirements to meet and exceed financial targets.
SALs create a new or updated territory plan based on their assignments annually. They present these plans in Territory Plan Presentations hosted by ASMs or VPs, which usually occur twice per year in Q1 and Q3. View the territory planning handbook page and toolkit.
Every Strategic Account Leader in Enterprise Sales should have a territory plan for how they're approaching their patch, and every ASM should have visibility into it so they can help each SAL validate and update their approach. This plan is a high-level, strategic and collaborative plan for targeting the right customers and implementing goals for income and consistent sales growth over time. It includes planning for pipeline generation, partner/channel engagements, and field marketing activities. It's usually followed by the creation of in-depth account plans for prioritized accounts.
While this type of strategic planning is a material up-front time investment, it’s incredibly helpful for a SAL in better understanding their territory and is much easier to update and iterate on over time.
Following a territory plan, a SAL has identified and prioritized the accounts they are going to focus on to reach their goals. For their top accounts, each SAL should prioritze the ones they’re going to create account plans for and agree with their ASM on the level of detail required. Account planning should occur quarterly, if not more frequently.
High-level account plans are often shared using a strategic account plan template, and can be stored alongside territory plans. Detail and month to month maintenance usually occurs in Gainsight in collaboration with Customer Success Managers (CSMs) for expand accounts that have a CSM assigned. CS team members and SALs can build joint success plans in Gainsight and use it to view customer product usage and health scoring.
QBRs happen during the first two weeks of each quarter for the previous quarter. Preparation usually starts about two weeks before that. QBR decks are stored in our Google Drive (GitLab internal only).
Initially, ASMs and CSM Managers may want or need to partner on scheduling and facilitating these reviews, but regular account reviews should eventually become part of an account team's normal operating rhythm. See Coaching Account Planning for ASMs for additional guidance.
Accounts reviews are conducted quarterly (or more frequently as needed) at various points in the quarter, usually over a 2-week period. The extended account team (SAL, SA, CSM, SDR) is encouraged to participate and contribute.
CSM participation is critical to ensure alignment between the account plan and the customer success plan (see What is the Difference Between an Account Plan and a Success Plan?).
Partner reviews are used to make sure the partner plan is aligned with regional sales goals and objectives and covers questions like:
ASMs either host or participate in these depending on who owns the activity (this looks different in different regions and sectors). It’s a best practice have either a bi-weekly or monthly connect with your regional Channel & Alliances team, and support it with a plan of how you'd like to collaborate.
Opportunity consults are deal reviews that focus on helping a sales team member maximize the likelihood of winning and securing the customer's business. They are based on a joint inspection of the "health" of the opportunity's Command Plan and a 2-way dialogue to identify and commit to specific actions that aim to increase the likelihood of success.
Using the Command Plan in an opportunity consult. Every key opportunity, especially for key accounts, should have a command plan associated with it. This gives the business visibility into the opportunity, how it’s developing, and highlights where they can support and coach the SAL on progressing it forward. Our command plan reviews follow the Command of the Message Sales Methodology, and incorproate MEDDPPICC.
Identifying opportunities for a consult. During monthly forecast calls and weekly 1x1s, the ASM and each SAL identify which opportunities would benefit from an opportunity consult and work together to get those scheduled. When possible, the entire account team (SAL, SA, CSM, and SDR) participates in these reviews.
Run consults every week. ASMs should be conducting multiple opportunity consults every week (though not necessarily with the same SALs). Sometimes these reviews follow the standard opportunity consult format. Other times, these reviews are working sessions that include the ASM working with the SAL and/or account team to collaboratively complete the Command Plan for a given opportunity. And other times, the ASM may choose to hone in on one or a few specific areas of the opportunity (this may especially be the case for follow up opportunity reviews).
Some ASMs also choose to conduct opportunity consults with a group to incorporate peer review and feedback (either during regularly scheduled team meetings or as separate meetings). Consider the below framework and iterate as you deem appropriate:
Find Clari and Salesforce resources for these reviews in the Enterprise Area Sales Manager Playbook. The following forecast & pipeline review cadence is recommended:
Quarterly Business Reviews (QBRs) provide a great opportunity to conduct Month 1 CFQ forecast & pipeline reviews, so you likely don't need a separate review. At the end of Month 1, the ASM should encourage SALs to clear out pipeline opportunities from the CFQ forecast. Entering Month 2, all CFQ opportunities should be in either Best Case or Commit. If they are not, the forecasted close date should be pushed out.
Month 2 and Month 3 forecast & pipeline reviews are typically scheduled for 2 hours. Ideally, the Month 2 review takes place ~30 days after the QBRs, and Month 3 reviews are scheduled about ~30 days after that (but not in the last 7-10 days of the quarter). See the Out-Quarter Forecasting and Pipeline Reviews section below for additional guidance.
In-Quarter Forecasting: Every week, ASMs must review the team's Commit & Best Case opportunities and submit their forecast. ASMs should work with their teams to ensure that the Single Source of Truth (SSOT) for Best Case and Commit deals is in Salesforce.
Out-Quarter Forecasting and Pipeline Reviews: As outlined above, out-quarter reviews typically take place in Month 2 and 3 of the quarter. Each SAL has 15-20 minutes to cover the following topics:
We have detailed guidance on Sales Forecasting, Opportunity Management, and using our tools to review on the internal handbook page. Guide SALs to the Clari cheat sheet and #sales-support Slack channel for additional support.
Coaching and mentoring happens throughout the development of your team member, as well as during business as usual activities like territory planning, account planning, sales calls, prospecting and pipeline reviews, opportunity reviews, and the list goes on and on.
ASMs should focus on providing coaching and mentoring in a collaborative and proactive way. Examples include but are not limited to:
ASMs routinely participate in sales calls with their new SALs or with SALs working on extremely complex, strategic, or high-impact deals including:
Last but not least, ASMs also assess their teams annually following the Performance / Growth Matrix.
All team members go through an onboarding journey by segment and role. View the SAL onboarding journey here.. In it, SALs are assigned the following activities:
ASMs should work with new SALs to develop and monitor progress against their 30/60/90 day plan, set clear performance expectations, and provide regular feedback during the onboarding process.
Always be recruiting! As outlined in the Winning Top Talent portion of the GitLab Field Manager Development Program, the importance of effective recruiting to GitLab's continued growth and success cannot be understated. ASMs should meet regularly with your Talent Acquisition Recruiter (exact cadence will vary based on hiring needs) and should also be comfortable and confident in selling the amazing opportunity here at GitLab.
Career development is the lifelong process of managing learning, work, leisure and transitions to move toward a personally determined and evolving preferred future. As a manager you should:
Start by encouraging them to create an Individual Growth Plan and then go over it together.
Manager effectiveness is important to GitLab’s continued ability to attract, develop, and retain key talent and deliver scalable, efficient growth. In response, the Corporate L&D, People, and Field Enablement teams collaborated to launch programs to equip managers with a foundational set of skills & practices for effectively managing remote teams across GitLab’s field organization.
Manager Challenge: The Manager Challenge addresses your specific needs to understand the qualities of a good leader and to master practical leadership styles that empower you to become a confident people leader. Effective leadership is grounded in your understanding of powerful interpersonal skills that inspire performance, communication, team member retention, and motivation to achieve results.
Field Manager Development Program: Managers participate in a series of quarterly training & reinforcement exercises throughout each fiscal year. While there will be formal training elements, a large focus will be on social learning (learning from others) and practical, real-world application to convert knowledge to action. Learn more on the Field Manager Development Program handbook page.