Courtesy of TopOPPS
Jim Eberlin, Founder & CEO
HOW TO BECOME
YOU’RE LEAVING MONEY ON THE TABLE!!!
The ROI of reaching a high level of sales forecast accuracy can be incredible if you
follow the guidelines in this blog. Research that we acquired here at TopOPPS
from Gartner, Aberdeen and CSO Insights shows that by applying these
principles, you can have an increase of 11% to 13% in Quota Attainment,
Forecasted Win Rates, and Revenue Plan Attainment. On a $10M quota for the
sales team, this could mean $1.1M to $1.3M in more revenue. And that’s
increased productivity without spending more on marketing or adding sales
MAKE FORECASTING EFFECTIVE
Get on top of the forecast early and stay on top of it. Before we get into how, you
have to understand why. Two things come from getting on top of the forecast
early – win rates will go up and sell times will go down. This is due partly to getting
alignment and better allocation of resources on the right deals early on. This
helps make an impact before a deal goes dark or you lose them to a competitor.
And, once you get the forecasting accuracy down so that you can predict earlier in
the sales period, you will improve processes. When you are better organized and
know what’s going on in the pipeline and sales process – you can concentrate more
on what works and measure effectiveness better.
What’s interesting is that best-in-class still miss the forecast on average of up to
11%, even right before the end of the sales period according to this research. This
article will help in outdoing best-in-class.
OBSTACLES TO FORECASTING
So what are the challenges to achieving best-in-class sales forecasting? According
to the research, the following were the biggest obstacles:
Insufficient and inaccurate data on current deals in the pipeline – this
certainly does not support any reporting or analytics.
Overconfidence (I call this Happy Ears) or Sandbagging (this is usually due
to fear of accountability).
Lack of accountability on sales forecast – sometimes managers just give up
and don’t rely at all on a sales reps forecast – trying to figure it out for
themselves and forced to be ultra conservative.
Lack of help from manager – managers that are overburdened have to
triage their help and coaching. And without empirical data to support
what’s happening, their coaching is not as effective.
Can’t understand probability of closing – this could be due partly to #2, or it
could be because it’s a new seller that’s ramping up.
No formal process or lack of rigor around sales pipeline stages and exit
MITIGATE OBSTACLES AND BE ACCURATE EARLY
The following four steps are necessary to be best-in-class in forecasting and to get
out on top of the forecast early.
1. Regular RepManager
Regular pipeline meetings between
manager and seller are a must – and
something most companies do at least
weekly in order to scrutinize deals
that are being worked. Aberdeen’s
research shows that 71% of
best-in-class forecasters do this but so
do 67% of the others surveyed that
are underperforming. So, what do the
world-class forecasters do different
than the others? See 2, 3 and 4….
2. Standardized Rankings to Classify
All Sales Opportunities and Leads
Elite sales organizations are much
more rigorous on how they classify
and rank sales opportunities. They
use data driven alerts to guide the
right kind of behaviors in order to
qualify opportunities better as they
pass through the sales funnel.
Everyone is on the same page on how
they rank and classify and have
confidence that the pipeline is real.
3. Process to Improve Discovery
Activities to Better Predict Deal
World-class selling organizations
outperform other companies by
following formal processes that allow
them to separate good from bad sales
opportunities and to focus the
attention of sellers on the right
activities at the right time.
4. Automated Reminders
Modern sales analysis and artificial
intelligence helps management and
sellers understand the results of what
happened in sales pursuits
historically. Artificial intelligence
from applications such as TopOPPS
can inform sellers with intelligent
prescriptions to better align
resources, plan better and act in time
to make an impact.
BEST-IN-CLASS LEVERAGE THE RIGHT SOLUTIONS
By implementing solutions like ours, managers and sellers can be best-in-class in
sales forecasting. Being best-in-class also means they are having better coaching
conversations and their reps are consistently doing the same things that they
need to do in order to advance a deal. So, what’s the good news to being
best-in-class in sales forecasting? The good news is that teams are better
organized causing win rates to go up and sales cycles to be reduced.
If you’d like to see how our customers are using artificial intelligence and
prescriptive insights to achieve best-in-class sales forecasting,
complete this form
or call us at (877)737-7976.