Post by Stephen D’Angelo, Aviso’s new President of Worldwide Field Operations
There is strong evidence that sales leaders are shifting from reliance on gut instinct and feelings about deals, to using data to drive their business.
This shift affects key sales processes, including delivering forecasts, conducting pipeline and deal reviews, and executing QBRs. This new way of running the sales org is not only evident among the younger generation of leaders, either. Some of the biggest converts are experienced CROs and VP of Sales who are in my circle, and who’ve been driving revenue as long as I have.
I’ve been selling software and leading organizations for over three decades. I’ve been through two IPOs and two M&A plays, and have led teams that included hundreds of sales and operations people. Prior to joining Aviso, I led a global team selling into the world’s largest financial services firms, including Morgan Stanley, NY Life, Prudential, State Farm, UBS, and Wells Fargo. I had the opportunity to work with C-Level executives in these firms and in the last 12 months, an increasing number of our strategy conversations were around how to use data and machine learning to make sales organizations more successful.
Even leadership at financial services firms, who are often slow to embrace new technology, expected their sales teams to deliver answers they could back up with data. These conversations were clear signals that a shift was occurring.
Changing expectations have led to a new mindset, and created demand for using data to provide insight into age old sales questions. Questions, which until recently, have been answered using inexact estimations.
When Michael Lock, Aviso CEO, asked me to join the team, the decision was an easy one. I was amazed at how Aviso applies industry-leading technology and Artificial Intelligence to make key sales processes smarter and more productive. Aviso provides what the senior executives I worked with had needed for decades – smart management of forecasting, pipeline reviews and deal reviews. What I saw in front of me was software that transforms how sales organizations lead their teams, and enables sales operations to deliver more value to the entire organization, in a fraction of the time.
With Aviso, sales leaders know exactly how much revenue can be attributed to different parts of the business, including “bluebirds” or deals that will open and close within the quarter. They utilize real-time data delivered via dashboards, so that preparation for forecast calls is cut in half, and they can easily see the strengths and weaknesses in their forecasts.
A graphic representation of how their quarter will unfold is at their fingertips, as well as clear indications of what’s standing in the way of hitting plan, and if a team, product or region is forecasted to miss their number, it’s clear by how much and what to do to fix the forecast.
The future has arrived. This is the age of the data-driven sales org, and I’m now part of the team that’s delivering leading edge technology to winning sales teams at customers like Splunk, FireEye, MongoDB and Zuora.
I believe this new way of accurately projecting sales data with AI will also make its way into boardrooms. Over the years, I have been in way too many board meetings where CEOs and CFOs provide enthusiastic storytelling when speaking to the top line numbers they expect to achieve in current and future quarters. Other than spreadsheets and CRM reports, executive teams don’t have reliable sales projection data, and they often default on what they want to see, again influenced by gut feeling and instinct, rather than reality. I see a time in the very near future when board meetings will have dashboards revealing AI-based projections for this quarter and quarters ahead. With his information, gone will be the days of “forecast storytelling.” Board members and VCs will have clean machine learning data to understand the health of the business and make more informed investment decisions.
Drop me a note at email@example.com to learn how your team can improve forecast accuracy, make smart selling decisions to close more deals, and leverage AI-driven insights to maximize impact.