Are You Forced to Use the Word ‘Why’ More Often Than a Three-Year Old?

By Michael Lock

The Value of AI-Driven Forecasting and Automated Rollup

If you are a VP of Sales, CRO or sales operations executive, you probably keep your eye on the forecast number and watch for hot spots that might break out. As you get closer to the weekly forecast review meeting, the word “why” begins to play in every conversation you have. You dive deep into the data and send a series of messages across the company that ask things like:

“Why did that deal progress or push?”
“Why are we still behind in Asia?”
“Why is our new product sales number sluggish in the NY territory?”

Two hours before the meeting, you find yourself without the answers you need, and you start diving deep into the spreadsheets and CRM reports. You ask yourself: “Why don’t these numbers ever match?” or “Why are there so many layers of judgment reflected in this number?”;  “Why does the Southwest Territory Manager always sandbag?” You’re trying to figure out why certain deals are in or out, while you make an educated guess about the value of run rate business.  As you drive home, exhausted and unsatisfied, you ask yourself: “Why didn’t I follow my childhood dream and become a fireman instead?”

There’s more than one type of fire  

But, you’re not a fireman. You’re a VP of Sales. You’re on the hot seat for individual forecasts, territory and product forecasts, the status of and forecast value of specific deals, products, categories or territories. In addition, you need to know how your forecast stacks up against the number and whether you should be signaling to the CEO or CFO that they’ll need to develop answers as to “why” the number is what it is in time for the next board meeting.

When you start to feel the heat, you may ask: “Why can’t I get a clean rollup and a forecast that I can trust?” You depend on data from a variety of people in a variety of places, with a variety of judgements across the levels of the organization. To make things more complex, your reps are constantly changing deals and you’re forced to pull data from several systems, run calculations based on weighted averages and use gut feel to determine which deals to include which to exclude. You need to know where the splits are, and what the run rate number is going to be. In the end, you communicate a forecast number that you have marginal confidence in­–an you hope that the fire line holds.  

Next week it starts all over again. At the end of the quarter, you can plan on hotter fires and repeating the firefighting process every few days.

The need for specialized firefighting equipment

Enter AI-driven forecasting and with an automated roll-up capability.  According to a 2016 study by Ventana Research, using the right, purpose-built tool can streamline the forecasting process from end-to-end and produce more reliable data.  Most organizations are now looking at adding a dedicated forecasting solution because CRM and spreadsheets are insufficient and were not designed for complex forecasting. Ventana reports that almost three-quarters (73%) of organizations that have adopted a specialized forecasting solution have improved their outcomes in sales.

Aviso is a pioneer in AI-driven forecasting with unique capabilities such as automated rollup of complex sales forecasts. Unlike CRM or other tools, only Aviso can manage forecasts across very complex sales organizations with multiple products and geographies. Key capabilities include:

  • Personalized, highly flexible automated rollup of all regions, territories, reps and deals with real-time CRM data.
  • Expert handling of splits and overlays
  • The ability to view forecast judgement from every manager in every level of your organization.
  • Accurately forecast performance of products, regions or territories with drill-down capabilities and reports that give you the specific information you need.
  • Deal-level forecasting that allows you to track which deals are in, or out of the forecast.
  • AI-assisted Aviso deal scores that are calculated using past performance and machine-learning algorithms.
  • The ability to forecast run-rate business.

You can’t provide answers to today’s forecast questions without an AI-driven forecasting tool.  With it, you can confidently produce the weekly forecast and keep the forecasting fires under control.  When your three-year old asks you why you work at an office rather than at the firehouse, you can say that you put out fires every day, just different kinds of fires than the guys in the yellow suits with the big red truck.

See how Aviso can help