An Accurate Sales Forecast means you know where you are and where your team is going, and how you’ll get there. Why do so many sales people and companies fail to get their sale forecast wrong?
CSO Insights reported in their annual survey that 54% of the deals forecast by reps never close.
I have been selling for 20+ years across four different continents, built the CRM for a multi-billion dollar company. I have personally faced the sales forecasting problem. Most sales leaders I know, would love to get their forecast accurate, but the truth is, you and I have all seen great sales monthly forecasts fall apart, often just one week quarter end.
According to SiriusDecisions, 79% of sales organizations miss their forecasts by more than 10%.
An accurate sales forecast is not a best guess or a rule based system. Most sales forecasts fail because:
- Data is not available in the CRM
- Most Sales leaders that I have interacted with use a Rule based system which states for example - sales person met 65% of their target past 3 Qtrs so in all likelihood this person would meet the same % of their target this Qtr OR
- Another example of rule based system - every sales persons pipeline in the company should be 4X their targets to meet their targets.
- Weighted Pipeline - again a rule based system
- Too much weightage on BANT
Rule based CRM's are databases which gets updated when the sale rep wants to.
What do you need to get forecast accuracy? What's in your control?
- CRM data, but most sales people hate entering data into their CRM. When you force sales rep to enter data, either its just when the opportunity closes or its junk data or worse falsified data. How do you get authentic CRM data?
- Real-time sales team interactions - Since sales people hate entering data, most of the data gets entered into the CRM at the time of deal closure and by that time all intelligence is lost. How do you know which contacts/ accounts the team is interacting with?
- Accurate Commit calls/ Forecast Calls - Since data is not readily available to managers, commit/ forecast calls are not accurate. Maximum time in the commit call is spent on status updates, understanding what did the sales rep did last week/ fortnight. How do you get the right data for commit calls?
- Action Items during commit calls and take them to closure - Most notes/ action items are taken over emails/ notepads and when the next commit calls happen, teams members would have lost the whole context. How would you track the action items to closure?
- How many new opportunities got created and compare the same with the sales cycle. How do you know the sales rep is not sand-bagging opportunities?
Rule based system doesn't work for sales forecasting because each sales person is different.
Why do companies rely on Relatas Sales AI for their sales forecast?
- Relatas - Sales AI is first of its kind No-Interaction-Data-Entry CRM. Relatas automatically collates data from emails/ Calendars/ calls*/ SMS* and uses Artificial Intelligence to understand that data.
- Real-time Sales Interactions - The biggest challenge for the sales managers is to understand if their team is interacting with the right contact for the right opportunity / account. Since Relatas automatically captures the interaction data, the same is readily available for the sales Reps and their managers. One of the biggest benefits our existing customers have seen is interaction increase with their prospects and customers post Relatas.
- Weekly Commit/ Forecast Calls - Relatas moves your weekly commit calls from Status calls to Strategy calls. Since all the data is readily available, Relatas understands the same and then shows you the deals at risk that impacts your pipeline and helps you focus on the right deals.
- Action Items - At Relatas, we have put a lot of thought, working with global sales leaders to get the usability right. All the information that you need is readily available at the click of a button and then you can assign tasks and follow up on previous tasks directly from the commit call screen.
- New Opportunities created - Relatas helps you understand if the sales pipeline is strong for each sales person in your team to meet their quarterly targets. Relatas also alerts the managers if there are any anomalies in the interaction pattern.
Relatas uses Artificial Intelligence to successfully predict your sales forecast for each of your sales team member.