Thoughts on How to Set Sprint Iteration Cycles for Agile Sales Teams

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In my posts on Making Sales Agile I discussed the concept of how one might optimally map an Agile framework onto a sales process. In agile development, a Release is a set of functionality that is delivered usually in a series of Sprints. In the context of agile sales, I proposed that the Release is the revenue the sales team “delivers” at the end of a series of sales Sprints.

That then leaves the issue of how to set the Sprint iteration intervals. In a product development process, the Sprint length should be long enough to produce something of value and demonstrability. Too short an interval and you run the risk of not making meaningful progress between the Sprints. Too long an interval will result in the loss of agility and will revert the process back towards a “waterfall” model. A Sprint length of 2 weeks seems to be the universally adopted iteration length for software development teams utilizing Agile development methodologies.

However, when operating a sales process in an Agile framework, I have found that 1 week Sprint cycles work well for software sales. Firstly, most sales organizations are used to holding weekly pipeline reviews. Secondly, the volume of prospect and customer activity in most software organizations makes a 2 week interaction interval too long to keep on top of and react quickly enough to fast moving sales opportunities and their associated ups and downs.

That said, in my current professional situation, we have a one day Sprint Interval! This can get tedious at times as we review the entire pipeline every morning, but it does give us a tremendous amount of agility and productivity with gives us a superior operational advantage over our competition.

Once you have decided on your Sprint iteration intervals, you need to think about who will be a part of the as well as what you will cover at the Daily Scrum meeting and periodic Sprint Reviews. This also leads into consideration of what tasks go into the Sprint Backlog and what Artefacts or tools will be used in measuring and improving the sales process and team’s productivity. I’ll dive into those topics next. In the meanwhile, please feel free to send me your comments or questions on anything I have covered in the past few posts, as well as any interesting observations or experiences you have had in utilizing Agile methodologies for sales or marketing.

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