An accurate sales forecast is vital for business success. Learn how organizations can improve the forecasting process and common mistakes to avoid.
We’re witnessing a revolution in how we view CRM. Today intelligent enterprises are using AI to boost CRM capabilities, thereby delivering higher ROI to customers.
Traditional CRM needs to fit more tightly into the broader sales process and encapsulate the ease-of-use that consumers associate with the Amazon sales experience. AI can also connect disparate sales data, delivering intelligent recommendations to help sales organizations gain a competitive advantage.
Forecasting and pipeline management are perfect places to start this return to value.
Ground control to major sales: Pipeline management and sales forecasting
If you manage a sales team, you know that effective pipeline management is key to delivering a good quarter.
But it’s also the place where many organizations fall down.
Relying on traditional, legacy CRM technology doesn’t solve this problem. Expecting sales reps to manually input data results into outdated systems – or worse – enter inaccurate opportunity information – leaves your organization in the dust. According to CSO Insights, 47% of salespeople are too subjective when selecting a pipeline stage and value. Too many sales reps either withhold information, are too optimistic, or are overly pessimistic.
Many sales managers know this, of course, but don’t have enough hours in the day to go beyond the CRM, inspecting every deal and joining every sales call. Instead, they turn to lengthy forecasting calls or unpleasant rep interrogations, attempting to get the true story on the forecast, and also creating an unpleasant work environment.
Sales forecasting is tied intimately to pipeline transparency. If you aren’t sure whether a deal is going to close, and for what amount, your total forecast, the sum of all committed deals, will miss the mark.
Connecting all of your sales data, inside and outside of CRM, and employing AI purposefully can paint you an accurate picture of your relationships, pipeline, and forecast.
Rev up your ROI
A modern solution for sales forecasting and pipeline management includes the ability to monitor CRM deals and correlates relationships, deal activity, and other engagement metrics taking place outside of CRM.
Through AI models, a deal score is generated, deals that are in trouble are flagged, and actions are prescribed to advance deals forward. Each of these tasks is automated, without asking reps to log every phone call, email, and meeting.
Pipeline management becomes more transparent and sales managers can maximize their limited time coaching reps, rescuing deals, or laying the groundwork to have deals close in the next quarter. Sales reps trust the sales process and enjoy an improved sales experience.
Forecasting also becomes more accurate thanks to AI – in fact, customers note it’s “scarily accurate.” Intelligent forecasts predict which sales reps are too ambitious with their close date or deal amounts, and highlights who lacks pipeline to hit their number.
Finance, operations, business planning, and even supply channel management all benefit from accurate sales forecasting.
When your forecasts are accurate, pipeline transparent, and sales reps are focused on the right activity, your CRM ROI goes through the roof!