Sales forecasting is important for any business because it gives companies the chance to predict growth and if they spot trends, they can help come up with effective strategies and make decisions to help their business. Furthermore, whilst forecasting is predictive and intuitive, there has to be an element of data-driven quantitative analysis that goes into this exercise, hence having a healthy combination of both qual and quant data is best.
To aid businesses in their quest of producing ratifiable and realistic forecasts, there are tools out there that can help. It is a very crowded marketplace and a number of providers offer useful tools but as the nature of procuring software evolves, the best tools are going to be dependent upon your size of business, usage, location and how you intend on using it. There are, however, 4 simple overarching questions you should ask yourself:
- Does the tool offer dynamic or static forecasts? The former clearly has more value in the start-up world
- Does it, and how does it integrate with other bits of tech and can it import? Data being imported with one click as opposed to manually uploading things can save hours
- Is it collaborative? Look for one that is, and encourages wide team adoption.
- Is it easy to use? New tech can often take a while to bed in so the easier it is to use, the better.
Some pieces of technology I particularly like:
Clari – a great revenue operations platform, and notably one of the largest players in this market. Their support is great too, so whilst there will be a price tag and they are most definitely not the cheapest, you will extract value from their software.
Ebsta – a revenue intelligence platform. UK based and a start up themselves, their whole premise is to track engagement at the deal level i.e. the more engaged you are with more people at a business, the more likely they are to buy. One thing to note is that this tool is to be used with Salesforce to be optimal. If you use another CRM, it does work, just not as well.
HubSpot – great features including forecasting, goals and quota attainment. They recently brought out Sales Analytics as an additional tool which gives you a number of different forecasting sub-categories drilling down into serious detail which can inform your decisions very robustly.
Salesdirector.ai – SalesDirector, a conversational AI assistant, helps give a complete revenue picture and give helpful insights towards scaling the sales team. Also, pipeline visibility helps companies identify challenges and areas for growth. It also offers suggestions when a new pipeline is needed.