Sales operations is involved in all aspects of sales. From compensation planning, territory management, sales enablement, and sales forecasting, sales operations is a critical function for every business. It’s no secret that sales forecasting is highly analytical and the most challenging and time-consuming part of sales operations.
Here are 5 steps that successful sales operations leaders follow:
Incorporate Data Science Into Forecasting
The ﬁrst step toward successful sales forecasting is to recognize that data is king. No matter what sales leader you have in your organization, sales forecasts will inherently lack reliability without a data science-based forecasting solution.
Business experience, intuition, and qualitative deal information from a sales leader remains important, but it should only be additional information – on top of predictions made from historical data and trends. BI tools and spreadsheets don’t help you improve your forecast process or predict outcomes.
Deploying a data science-based forecasting solution can help answer questions like this: what changed for past deals when the CEO came in at stage 6, or what happened to deals involving similar products in a similar vertical for a certain rep?
Produce A Bottoms Up Forecast
Using a data science-based forecasting approach means you no longer need to give a top-down guess. Using predictive analytics, a data-driven forecast is created from individual sales reps or teams to the top of the hierarchy, and the forecast is available in real-time at any point in the quarter. In addition, drill-down into any deal and look at why it is predicted to close at the end of the quarter, or why the likelihood of a slipped deal is high.
Track Weekly Forecast Changes
Forecasts are always evolving. New deals come into the pipeline that didn’t exist when the original forecast was made and reps update deals constantly based on new information.
Eliminate spreadsheets and use an automated system to track and review changes in the weekly forecast.
Leverage Automatic Deal Scoring
Automatic deal scoring serves as benchmarks for your sales reps and managers. Are their estimates in the right ballpark? Why does one rep have a deal with a stage probability of 80% versus a data-driven deal score of 20%. Or why is one deal forecasted by the sales rep at $250K, while the data-driven forecast is $127K?
Use automatic deal scoring and insights to drive more productive conversations with sales managers and sales reps, as well as, to stack rank deals for the quarter and prioritize the deals with the highest likelihood to help the sales team exceed targets.
Encourage Effective Sales Coaching
The opportunity to give sales reps constructive feedback should be an integral part of the forecasting process. Using cohort and performance analysis, sales managers can easily provide feedback and coach sales reps on how to improve.
Automated insights can provide sales managers with early warning signs when a deal that was listed as a ‘Commit’ is trending below expectations, thus, allowing managers to step in and make course corrections.
Own Your Quarter!
Aviso’s cloud-based application, Aviso Insights™, empowers sales and sales-operations professionals to Own their Quarter by enabling them to forecast sales, quantify risks, predict future outcomes, and have the confidence to exceed sales targets.Start your 30-day free trial