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The Importance of Forecasting for Better Sales Results

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Getting to the Real Numbers

As a sales rep, you’ve got a heavy load to carry. Every time you’re asked to commit to a forecast number, you wish you had a crystal ball. “What’s really happening with this customer?” How far along are they in the sales cycle?” What are the chances they’ll make a purchase decision in the next 2 months?” Instead, you end up guesstimating when the deal will close and end up applying fuzzy math to your forecasts.

Sales forecasting is the process of predicting future performance based on past performance. Companies that devote resources to in-depth forecasting are increasing the likelihood of success, and those that forecast, ultimately perform better.

Companies that adopt the right technologies have the competitive advantage in capturing real-time analytics on buyer behavior. Without answers to questions like: When is the best time to reach out to a customer? … Did the customer open an asset download post-sales call? … What is the customer’s immediate need as based on her buying stage? … It becomes hard to arrive at real, tangible numbers to improve the forecasting process.

How You Can Make Better Decisions with Better Data

Your success largely depends on how accurately you can forecast your sales. Analytics can make you more empowered in the process of effectively uncovering and benchmarking closing rates based on the buyer’s level of engagement and where they are in the sales cycle. If your sales exec is hounding you for results, having access to this data arms you with the kind of knowledge that would enable him or her to understand your progress without the need to interrogate you when sales aren’t coming in. This is why Sales Enablement (SE) is so important. The application of the right technology can consistently capture data and make for better forecasting. This not only benefits you but allows your sales exec to work with you on reaching your quarterly, monthly and yearly goals.

Using SE to Your Advantage

Top performers are using SE to capture customer insights. They are empowering their reps by enabling them to become more effective at forecasting purchase decisions. SE works for the benefit of marketing teams as well, enabling them to set timeframes that predict closing rates at each stage of the buyer’s journey while making it possible to assess the effectiveness of their marketing assets.

With analytics that make it possible to compare data across the entire sales team, your sales exec can see how you fair out when it comes to your performance. Are you realizing success with post-sales call emails and are you producing engaging presentations during the face-to-face interaction?

Sales Enablement is the most effective solution if you want to take out the guesswork out of the Marketing and Sales process. Before the adoption of effective sales enabling technologies, sales and marketing execs were working with guesses. Sales performance was a black box for them. Today, SE is a means by which sales reps can improve their closing rates. It is the closest thing to a crystal ball.  What’s more is that detailed sales forecasting helps teams develop sales strategies and leave execs with time for big-picture solutions. Sales forecasting will give you real revenue numbers and will show you what you can expect with the budgets that are currently available to you. Tracking and predicting the behavior of consumers is the basis for successful customer engagement, and the information you will gather as a result will address unmet customer needs and will work to abandon trends that scale down your sales efforts. And what was once a biased best guess and a black box for sales execs, is today a means of improving closing rates.  Sales Enablement is the closest thing to a crystal ball used to help sales reps make buyer-predicted forecasts.

Facing challenges when it comes to accurately forecasting sales results? Perhaps you need to implement the right analytics strategy to predict customer behavior.

 

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