Let’s face it. The data in your CRM influences a lot of decisions. Sure it serves as a customer database, automating workflows. But it also guides your sales process (stage by stage by stage) and it’s often used in generating your team’s forecast. But do you trust it? Do you feel confident in its accuracy? Completeness? Timeliness?
If you don’t, you’re not alone! In fact, according to Gartner’s survey, less than 50% of sales leaders and sellers have high confidence in their organization’s forecast accuracy.
How’d we get here? CRMs were designed as contact repositories, but they remain disconnected to the majority of digital touchpoints used today. As such, they rely on manual data entry by reps – something that simply does not happen at the level needed for complete data accuracy.
In fact, in most companies, only 10% of sales activities are captured in the CRM. That means only one out of every 10 meetings, contacts, emails, etc. is recorded. Thus, all the decisions reps, managers, and leaders make are based on very limited information.
This lack of visibility into activities that occurred—and the steps that were skipped—results in:
- Reps acting on gut feelings and often miss signs that deals are at risk.
- Sales managers are unsure which deals are at risk, where opportunities for upside exist, and where and when to jump in and coach.
- Sales leaders producing a forecast based on committed numbers that are backed by gut feelings.
The ramifications? Your sales team misses everything from new opportunities to forecast goals.
The Key to Improving Forecast Accuracy Isn’t an Algorithm…
While many people believe the key to forecasting is an algorithm, the number one indicator of deal outcomes is actually rooted in activity. The question is, how much do you truly know about the activity that has occurred on a deal? Is the decision maker engaged? Did it take 15 days for an email reply? When is the next meeting?
Today, most sales interactions occur in digital channels. That means there are loads of digital signals available to be collected and analyzed. Each of these data points shows intent or lack thereof. Individually, they have value, but together, they are a treasure chest that helps you assess the frequency and quality of engagements.
As we’ve discussed, waiting for sales reps to manually enter cumbersome data is not a realistic ask. Instead, automation tools like activity capture allow that data to be captured at the moment of the engagement
This means no more time wasted on deals that have no chance to close. Instead, both reps and managers have a lens into which deals they should be working and where they should cut their losses and move on.
Eliminate Guesswork From Your Forecast
When it comes to improving the accuracy and predictability of your forecast, automating activity capture is step one. It quickly gives sales managers the confidence to roll up their numbers. After all, they have the benefit of working with a complete data set. Yes, all the activities, from everyone that touched the deal.
But the value revenue intelligence platforms deliver goes beyond that.
For example, now that you have complete visibility, sales managers can easily identify blind spots and opportunities to coach reps on deals they are working in real-time. Often, these insights can come from engagement gaps or lack of stage movement. But they can also originate directly from conversations, by using Conversational Intelligence to automatically analyze calls with prospects or customers to capture insights around talk time, keywords mentioned (such as competitors and product features), and much more.
Now that you have the insights, it’s critical to use them to your advantage to more accurately predict your quarter. At InsightSquared, we recommend taking these analytics and correlating them with historical wins and losses to understand the time and resources that are currently deployed and how likely the team will win the deal. We give each deal a Confidence to Close Score that can help guide a forecast.
Your CRM data drives countless decisions across your company, but do you trust it? The archaic practice of forcing your sales reps to choose between manual, cumbersome data entry and spending invaluable time with prospects and customers is not only inefficient but it can also wreak havoc on your forecast.
Free up valuable time and increase the accuracy of your forecast. Get started with a demo of InsightSquared’s award-winning platform today: https://offers.insightsquared.com/free-demo-request.html