How do you create a sales forecast? If you are still looking at numbers reported by reps and keeping your fingers crossed that they will hopefully hit their quota, it’s time to make a change. Thirty percent of salespeople say closing deals has gotten harder compared to 2 to 3 years ago – leaving sales managers with a challenging job. However, if you are constantly looking at guesstimated numbers and reports for answers, here are a few things that can help you improve sales forecasting and predict revenue more accurately.
Behaviors to look for that help predict revenue and improve sales forecasting:
The best indicator of long-term sales success is looking at the sales activities that were conducted by reps. That’s right. What your sales reps are doing everyday matters to what happens in a few months.
44% of salespeople give up after one follow-up phone call.
To most accurately assess the daily activity of your team, utilize a sales activity dashboard to access a window into the activities that are predictive of success. That way managers gain assurance that day-in and day-out, reps are generating meaningful activity that is indicative of victory down the road.
The average sales cycle has increased by 22% in recent years. This is because more decision-makers are involved in the buying process.
The reality is that all a pipeline report shows is an opportunity that you may or may not be able to have real control or influence over. A rep can call a client and apply some pressure to move a deal more quickly, but there is nothing that a manager can do, systematically, to move all these opportunities. Rather, what managers can do is access data in the form of heatmaps, and analyze call attempt frequency and the best times and days to reach out to prospects to give reps a leg-up on progressing deals through the funnel in a timely manner.
Creating a sales forecast; the real value is in the data.
Your job as a sales leader is to hire, coach, train, and retain the best and brightest performers. How does that happen? The real secret to success is in the data generated by reps every working day.
Continuous training gives 50% higher net sales per employee.
If you can understand the activity your reps are generating (both the quantity and the quality), you will know what sustained success looks and sounds like. To gain better forecasting insight, consider using a tool with targeted speech analytics. Speech analytics allows managers to listen in on calls in real-time. That way, leadership can identify any problem areas reps are facing and provide coaching before they become bad habits. For forecasting, this allows managers to understand why certain reps may be moving deals faster through the pipeline than other reps due to the quality of their conversations.
Spending on sales enablement technology has increased by 69%.
It is easy to over-complicate things, but any manager should know which daily activities and behaviors get results, and which do not. With the help of a sales tool, identify and multiply the behaviors indicative of sales success to optimize the performance of your team and accelerate revenue generation at your organization.