Category Archives: Sales Forecasting
How do you get the most out of your CRM for Sales Forecasting?
If you were an early adopter of Customer Relationship Management (CRM) technology, you probably found it to be an expensive, complex tool that often fell short of delivering on expectations. Today, CRM is easier to use, more cost effective, and a must-have for managing nearly every aspect of business data.
Now that you either have or are probably considering a CRM system, how do you get the most out of it? Here are five tips for leveraging your CRM for sales forecasting to gain greater confidence in sales forecast accuracy:
5 Sales Forecasting Techniques to Improve
The key to improving the accuracy in sales forecasting rests with knowing what you need to measure to find out what you want to know. With today’s technology and the near ubiquity of Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems, it’s more important than ever to give forethought into how you construct your sales forecasts. Otherwise, the data that you get from your time and technology investment may not be what you need to make the right decisions or achieve a real difference in results.
Here are five things that matter most in sales forecasting:
Don’t bother with CRM if you don’t have a sales process. Without an effective sales process in place, how can you trust your CRM technology to provide relevant insights into where deals are stalled or progressing in your pipeline? How can you begin to measure verifiable outcomes and assess the performance (or coaching needs) of your sales force? How will you recognize leading indicators of customer engagement and gain greater confidence in forecasts? There’s an old saying: If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will take you there. Without a sales process, the metrics you pull from your CRM will often be just numbers. Forecast with metrics that matter. Many sales forecasts are built on probability analysis using weighted metrics. The scenario might go something like this: My historical win rate for opportunities in Stage Two » Continue Reading.
Landing New Logos: Small Improvements to Make a Big Difference in 2014
How many new logo accounts do you need to land in 2014, how much will you to invest to achieve your objectives, and what can you do to get more bang for your buck?
Landing new logo accounts is essential to the health of any business. As hard as we try to maximize the potential of existing accounts, there will be some natural attrition over time as personnel and priorities change. New logos help build your base of accounts to expand, and landing new logos is an indicator of your relevance in the market and your ability to compete.
1) Start by knowing your personal close ratio and that of your organization:
Top performing companies — 46% average close ratio Average — 29% average close ratio Lagging — 19% average close ratio
2) Take your preparation up several notches. Build your industry, company, and stakeholder knowledge and prepare insights and ideas to share with your clients.
3) Know where your clients are in their buying cycle and look at your sales process through their eyes.
4) Ask informed questions that indicate you have knowledge and experience to share and to motivate your clients to engage with you. Focus on the “why” and “why not” questions, not just the “what.” Understand as much as you possibly can about the business outcome before your visit and probe to understand the decision process, access the executive, understand the risks the client is concerned about and value you must be proved.
5) Ask who the competitors are, what their solutions include, and then ask the tough questions to find out how the customer feels you compare to the competitor.
6) Speed up your responsiveness — when a client asks for something, find out when he or she needs it and beat that time frame. Anticipate and deliver before the client asks for it.
7) Find ways to take the load off the client to keep things moving. For example, if he or she says “Let’s set a phone call to…” not only set » Continue Reading.
Sales forecasting accuracy hit an all-time low of 46% in 2012. Just about every business and industry experiences peaks and valleys in their sales cycles, but, even with large investments in sales and marketing automation technology, the problem is getting worse and not better. Did you just throw good money after bad in hopes of achieving sales forecasting nirvana? What on earth is going on?
There are two consistent views about sales forecasting, both fraught with their own pain. Either sales forecasting is inaccurate and unreliable, or it is accurate and useful but time-consuming.
Possible causes for ineffectiveness and inefficiencies in sales forecasting:
Companies have some basic issues that can’t be easily addressed, which impacts the process of forecasting. Companies are using arbitrary confidence factors that create more pain than successful results. Companies do not have a forecasting process in place and are not using their resources to ensure closing the sale.
The “basic issues” mentioned in the first bullet could be faulty processes, metrics, or behaviors. This segues into the second bullet regarding confidence. How honest are your sales reps when reporting probability and timing of sales? Do they inflate or overestimate the numbers so as to look good (or not as bad)? It’s understandable that this can happen from time to time, but are there serious repeat offenders?
Questions and ideas to consider that will resolve forecasting issues: Take » Continue Reading.