The New Forecast Flow

Having an accurate sales forecast is critically important to the business. As these numbers roll up to the executive team and board members, many decisions are made from them including future investments, product launches, hiring and strategic planning.

But the challenge remains: forecasting accurately is hard.

There are many variables that contribute to the challenge of rolling up an accurate forecast on a consistent basis. If you’re relying on Salesforce to diagnose your forecast, you can’t see why or how the commit/best case opportunities have changed. Even if you have the in-house expertise and work with a business intelligence team to diagnose your forecast, getting your hands on that analysis in the moment, on demand, is hard. Often times what happens is sales and other business leaders are pulling data into Excel and trying to reconcile forecast numbers across multiple Excel files and versions. It’s hard to keep track, it’s time-consuming and by the time answers are uncovered, the data is likely outdated.

For a sales manager, director or head of sales, it’s difficult to understand what is happening to their forecast in real-time. Without this insight, it’s nearly impossible to take corrective, proactive action, whether that’s in the form of coaching their team so they can roll up more accurate numbers, or adjust the forecast appropriately before it rolls up to the executive team and the board.

What we are left with is business leaders spending hours in Excel and relying on their intuition before their weekly executive meetings. Certainly, that is not how smart, strategic business decisions are made—based on someone else’s gut feeling.

To help sales and business leaders overcome these challenges with accurate forecasting, InsightSquared has introduced a new report called Forecast Flow to provide instant insight into how and why your forecast is changing. Our sales analytics solution pulls your historical CRM data in real-time to show changes in your business over time and where you are at today.

With the Forecast Flow report, you can see exactly how your commit, best case and overall pipeline has changed over any period of time. Very quickly, you can break down the deals that you had committed, and understand where they are today. What pushed? What did we pull in? What did the team move in or out of commit? What deals are still committed but changed in value? What did we win (or lose)?

With this kind of information, you can take action immediately, and demonstrate with clarity why and how your forecast changed.  You can also pick up on trends, such as do we have a habit of pushing committed deals into the next month/quarter? Further, you can filter down to understand how each region, territory, product line, or business unit is affecting the forecast.  

This is the kind of information necessary to drive better results and productivity across teams. With this data, you can walk into your next executive or board meeting and back up your forecast with confidence and hard numbers, not intuition and gut feelings.

Want to learn more about our new Forecast Flow report or how InsightSquared can help you and your sales team forecast more accurately? Reach out to us here.