Sales Operations Leaders spend a lot of time forecasting. Whether it’s a couple hours each week or long sessions every few months with executives and members of other departments, predicting the future is a big part of the job.
But for such a mission-critical operation, most organizations report that they aren’t happy with their sales forecasts. All too often, Sales Operations Leaders find themselves trying to climb out of the Reality Gap—that shadowy place between the predicted results and the actual outcomes.
The reason for this much-repeated misstep? Vague and informal selling processes fail to yield the kind of data that Sales Operations Leaders need to make accurate forecasts.
The sales process consists of everything that gives the salesperson deep knowledge of what the product does, who needs it, where to find a lead, how to cultivate an opportunity, what to offer, and when to close. A well-defined and thoroughly-executed sales process becomes a treasure trove of valuable information for Sales Operations Leaders.
Salespeople might not love the prospect of meticulous reporting, but such a robust sales process benefits them as well. By applying granularity to the process, each steps flows more easily to the next, accelerating the pipeline and boosting the win-rate. Stronger forecasting also generates realistic quotas and better attainment, leading to more rewards overall. As salespeople become more engaged with data-collection throughout the selling process, the Sales Operation Leader is able to gather useful metrics from both sides of the equation. For each action the salesperson takes, the potential customer also takes an action. Whether that action begins with a “Yes” or a “No,” this is the dimension that gives real depth to your analytics.
Strong and accurate sales forecasting is informed by these two sets of behaviors: the seller’s and the buyer’s. A sales forecast that’s based only on historic outcomes won’t give you real-time insight into existing opportunities and the win-rate you can expect from them. For that, you need analytical tools that integrate both sides of the equation—a step-by-step look at the place of every opportunity in the sales process, synced to each response from the potential customer along the way.
To see how you can apply insights from your organization’s sales process to make better forecasts, book an Obero SPM demo.