Who would not want to prevent their sales forecasting process from turning into a nightmare of guesswork based on incomplete CRM data? Sales forecasts used to be almost as much art as science. But in today’s marketplace, ad-hoc account reviews and sales managers’ gut instincts are no longer enough.

What modern sales leaders need is accurate, real-time sales activity data. They need data that is accessible from anywhere and instantly provides insights into their teams’ performance. Using sales intelligence puts a forecast on an entirely different playing field; it allows for greater accuracy, more effective sales reps, improved conversion rates, faster revenue growth, and better planning and improved decision making within your company.

Why Forecast With Sales Intelligence?

It is one thing to turn raw CRM data into colorful charts and graphs for pipeline reviews or quarterly meetings. However, it is another to automatically collect call activity data, track key metrics in real-time, access analytics from anywhere, and get minute-to-minute snapshots showing where revenues will likely be next week, next month, and next year.

Sales enablement tools collect call activity data from the path of every call reps make, delivering the most accurate picture of their activity. Further, they allow managers to turn that data into actionable intelligence that enables smarter forecasting. Without these insights, managers are faced with poor visibility and forecasts based on intuition and gut-instincts, not numbers. The biggest issues surrounding forecasting include insufficient and inaccurate data, lack of real-time data and manually created spreadsheets prone to errors.

Data enables managers to identify key metrics that drive forecasts and build more accurate reports based on these data points. As a sales manager, determine how many calls it takes to get a conversion, how many conversations it takes to get an appointment and how many appointments it takes to get a closed deal. Forecasting is built on sales data and industry trends, and data is especially important. As mentioned, forecasting in spreadsheets or within your CRM leaves too much room for error, while real-time activity data leads to smarter actions and more accurate outcomes.

Access to sales activity data allows for more informed business decisions, and will ultimately lead to increased short-term and long-term performance. According to research from the Aberdeen Group, companies with accurate sales forecasts are 10% more likely to grow their revenue each year. They are also 7.3% more likely to hit quota.

Accurate Data. Improved Forecast Performance.

In addition, real-time data can help improve forecasts by improving rep performance and productivity. Seeing the numbers allows reps to self-assess, providing the data needed to analyze current and past performance.

Further, managers can more easily identify best practices used by their top performers and circulate those internally. Sales data allows managers to spend less time on forecasting activities and pipeline management, and better use their time on activities such as coaching and training.

Just over 40% of forecasted sales opportunities close. Access to accurate data can allow managers to spot early signs of problems in the pipeline, eliminate the guesswork, and help reps improve their conversion rates to close more deals. Overall, real-time data allows sales leaders to better manage their teams, and plan for future growth.

Reach Higher Numbers in 2018

A data-driven approach powered by sales intelligence reduces risk and better identifies opportunities for your team. Further, it creates a culture of two-way accountability between managers and reps—because numbers do not lie. Establishing a more accurate baseline with precise data will enable your team to reach their goals and eventually compete at a higher level.

Past performance is an indicator of the future, and data shows just that. Hone in on the behavior of your reps and establish the key metrics that drive your sales forecasts. Together, these things will not only allow you to create a better forecast but also improve your team’s overall performance, enable them to reach higher numbers, and surpass quota.

Get rid of the risk of inaccurate or incomplete CRM input and give sales managers the tools to improve the accuracy of their data. See, how a sales intelligence system can help you make smarter forecasts for 2018 and improve your reps’ effectiveness and productivity.

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