March 20, 2024

Why does SaaS Sales capacity planning matter?

Vincent Gouedard
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In the Software as a Service (SaaS) industry, sales capacity planning emerges as a strategy to ensure sustainable development. This approach is about aligning sales resources with the company's objectives to maximize revenue potential and operational efficiency.

In this article, we will explore the role of sales capacity planning in driving your business's success, understand why it matters, and highlight common mistakes to avoid.

What is SaaS Sales Capacity Planning?

Sales capacity planning, particularly within the SaaS industry, is a common approach aimed at aligning a company's sales capabilities with its business objectives and growth targets. It involves the planning and management of sales resources. It ensures that the business has the correct number of sales representatives and is equipped with the necessary skills and tools to meet its goals effectively.

Understanding the Basics

Sales capacity planning is essential for SaaS companies using a subscription-based model. This kind of predictable revenue stream requires a well-structured sales team that can acquire new customers and retain and expand existing accounts

Effective sales capacity planning ensures that the sales team is neither overextended nor underutilized. It aims to balance the workload with the team's size and capabilities to achieve sustainable growth and profitability.

But what does this mean for your SaaS business? Sales capacity planning ensures you work toward growth rather than encountering sales bottlenecks. How? There are several methods, but let’s take the SaaS company Outfunnel as an example. 

Highlighted by its Co-founder and CEO Andrus Purde, Outfunnel emphasizes the role of alignment between sales teams and business goals. Purde notes the correlation between team alignment and revenue growth, advocating for sales compensation plans that motivate and unite teams toward common objectives. 

Ensuring this alignment through sales capacity planning boosts revenues and enhances overall compensation. This creates a beneficial cycle for both the company and its employees.

Key Components of Sales Capacity Planning

One of the key components of sales capacity planning is forecasting. It helps determine the volume of sales activity needed to meet revenue targets. Understanding and articulating your product's unique value is equally important to align the value proposition with customer needs rather than the internal perceptions of management teams. 

A strong value proposition should be concise and research-based and should evolve with customer feedback. Identifying the Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) helps in focusing sales efforts on the most promising prospects. You can conduct workshops to help clients define their ICP, using exercises to refine the target customer criteria. 

Marc Roberge, in his podcast, also advises to “Get sales capacity to match demand generation capacity”. By ensuring that the sales team's size and capabilities are in harmony with the volume of leads, companies can optimize their sales process, enhance efficiency, and maximize revenue growth. 

This balanced approach prevents bottlenecks in the sales funnel, ensuring that the sales team is not overwhelmed or underutilized. It facilitates smoother, more effective sales cycles.

Another piece of advice comes from John McMahon, a board member at Snowflake. “Add incremental sales capacity based on incremental (segment/geo) opportunity rather than optimizing for complete coverage.” This approach advocates for a demand-driven expansion of sales teams, ensuring that resources are allocated where they can generate the most impact. It aligns sales efforts directly with market opportunities.

📌 Sales capacity planning focuses on aligning sales force capabilities with business objectives and growth targets to manage resources efficiently. Key planning components include accurate forecasting, a strong value proposition aligned with customer needs, and identifying the ideal customer profile (ICP) for focused sales efforts.  Aligning sales capacity with demand generation and strategically expanding sales teams are essential for optimizing sales processes.

SaaS Sales Capacity planning for your business

Best Practice of Measuring Sales Capacity

Measuring sales capacity effectively is essential for optimizing the performance of a sales team and ensuring that sales strategies align with goals.  Mark Donnolo, author and founder of SalesGlobe, highlights in one of his podcasts the importance of three critical aspects in measuring sales capacity: Sales Time Allocation, Level of Workload, and Quality of Talent

Sales Time Allocation

Sales time allocation involves dissecting the sales process to identify time spent on direct selling, administrative tasks, customer service, and other non-sales activities. 

This, of course, will depend on your revenue model.

But overall, the goal is to maximize time spent on activities directly contributing to revenue generation. Implementing a Sales Time Optimization Tool can help by tracking and analyzing how sales reps use their time.

Level of Workload

Assessing the workload of personnel ensures that they are not overburdened or underutilized. An optimal level of workload contributes to higher job satisfaction and better performance. 

It is essential to regularly review targets and other responsibilities assigned to your teams to maintain a balanced workload. 

Quality of Talent

A sales team's performance depends on the team's talent quality. This includes your employees' skills and experience, motivation, alignment with your company culture, and ability to adapt to changing market conditions. 

Regular training, coaching, and professional development opportunities are crucial to maintaining a high-quality team force. Additionally, hiring practices should focus on finding candidates who complement the existing team's strengths.

📚 To Go Further

Incorporating strategies from other SaaS companies can enhance your sales capacity planning. 

For instance, HubSpot's approach includes trial periods, consistent engagement with prospects during these trials, and delivering demos tailored to the specific needs of potential clients. 

These methods focus on demonstrating the product's value, fostering a stronger connection with prospects, and efficiently converting them into loyal customers. ​

How can you avoid common mistakes?

David Sacks, co-founder of Craft Ventures discussed the common pitfall of hiring sales personnel more quickly in SaaS businesses. Acknowledging the ramp-up time and capacity constraints of sales reps, he advises on the necessity of proactive hiring to prevent growth stalls. 

This delay can lead to existing sales reps reaching their capacity before new ones are fully operational, causing growth in "discontinuous units" or step changes.

It is also important to set achievable quotas. Unrealistic quotas can demotivate your sales team and lead to not hiring enough reps, which makes catching up difficult later on​​.

One of the common pitfalls is not to hire staffing support roles. Sales require support roles like SDRs, Sales Engineers, and Customer Success Managers; they avoid bottlenecks​​. The same goes for the leads, allowing the sales team to meet their targets.

The Importance of Sales Capacity Planning

As seen throughout this article, SaaS sales capacity planning is a strategic framework that aligns your sales force's capabilities with your company's growth objectives

The significance of sales capacity planning can be seen through the growth strategies of companies like HubSpot, Shopify, and Slack. These companies have successfully employed monetization, internationalization, moving upmarket, and product expansion to scale their operations globally

By integrating these growth strategies, they've optimised their sales capacity planning, ensuring alignment with business objectives and maximizing revenue potential​. They adopt a comprehensive sales capacity plan that guides their team growth, helping sales leaders make informed decisions about hiring and timing. This planning process eliminates the guesswork.


SaaS sales capacity planning is pivotal for aligning sales resources with strategic objectives. Effective planning prevents overextension and underutilization of the sales team, promoting optimal performance. 

Drawing from the insights of industry leaders and adopting innovative strategies can further refine this process.

To enhance your SaaS sales capacity planning and gain a comprehensive understanding of your company's performance, consider leveraging Fincome.