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Don't Hinge Your Sales Forecast on Instinct or Assumptions

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Don't Hinge Your Sales Forecast on Instinct or Assumptions

An accurate, real-time pipeline and forecast gives you the upper hand

It's one of the most important things you do, but just days into the quarter it's already inaccurate. Yep, we're talking about your sales forecast. SiriusDecisions recently reported that that only 21 percent of companies achieved 90 percent or greater levels of sales forecast accuracy at 30 days out. With budgets and bonuses dependent on this number, shouldn't you constantly monitor your pipeline and adjust your forecast in real-time?

For most sales leaders, presenting a forecast based on real-time pipeline changes simply consumes too much time and resources. According to Sales Benchmark Index, 37 percent of sales management time is spent on forecasting sales. That means it's almost lunchtime before you're out of the reporting weeds. Using Salesforce to match up current progress against earlier predictions is a very manual hassle, and it's nearly impossible to extract insight on historical forecast accuracy. As a result, your forecast is an idle prediction - it can't iterate in real-time as new data influences its trajectory.

But real-time sales analytics can instantly change the way you manage your forecast. Supercharged forecasting and pipeline analysis allows you to:

  • Monitor deals as they move between stages, or in and out of this quarter's pipeline
  • View your total pipeline at any given time
  • See the pace of deals as they move between stages
  • Compare your current state with historic snapshots

Sounds great. But how does a real-time pipeline or forecast change the way you manage your team? Here are three ways:

  • Shift from reactive to proactive management. With a daily view of total pipeline by stage, you know exactly what activities to focus on, whether it's prioritizing demos and proof of concepts or preparing your legal department to help move contracts along

Salesforce supercharged sales forecast

  • Identify positive or negative trends and unearth their origin. Knowing the origin of pipeline trends helps you focus your coaching where it counts. Identify whether your team is qualifying deal stages appropriately, prioritizing new leads over follow-ups, effectively managing objections or delivering the right references for high-value opportunities.

Salesforce supercharged sales forecast

  • Accurately communicate progress to your executives. The last thing your CEO or board of directors want at the quarterly business review is a surprise. Plus, you need to set yourself up for success in future quarters. An accurate pipeline and forecast allows you to clearly predict if you'll crush or miss your targets. That's the difference between asking for more budget and expanding your team, or working cross-functionally with product and marketing on strategic initiatives.

Written by GoodData Author  | 

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