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Sales is a Team Sport - Treat It That Way


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Sales forecasts are a critical business tool but many sales teams find them difficult to produce. With much of sales forecasting done in spreadsheets, incomplete data, lack of true pipeline visibility, it’s no wonder according to the 2022 Gartner State of Sales Operations and Revenue Operations Survey that 67% of sales operations leaders agree that creating accurate sales forecasts is harder today than three years ago. Even when a forecast is delivered, company executives often don’t fully trust the information they’re given.

The good news is that as a RevOps, sales professional or sales leader, you have lots of help waiting to be tapped when it comes to creating and delivering accurate sales forecasts. You just need a little tech stack magic to bring everyone all together and support your sales pipeline.

Sales forecasting is a team sport

The primary goal of sales forecasting is to enable better financial planning, budget allocation, and strategic decision making. It isn’t just a sales team product — it requires input from CSMs, renewals managers, operations and rolls all the way up to the C-suite. But if everyone isn’t looking at the same data, those input calls can lead to some wildly inaccurate conclusions. 

Good forecasting is a shared responsibility and so it requires your entire revenue team being on a shared workflow platform. Let’s explore how a shared workflow platform like Salesloft can help you drive an intuitive forecasting process and superior results.

Improving your sales forecast’s efficiency and speed

If you’ve ever dealt with (or are still using) a manual forecasting model, then you know it’s all about spreadsheets and email. You do the forecast in a spreadsheet, then you put it into an email. Next, you send that email to your senior director, who then sends that email to their VP, and that VP then sends it to the GM. Finally, the GM sends it to the CRO. It’s exhausting just writing that out.

“Without a connected platform like Salesloft — where you have Customer Intelligence, Forecasting, and Deals all managed within the same platform and cadence — you have to go to different places to get all the information you need for a forecast, which becomes really cumbersome.” (Katie K)

With a shared revenue orchestration platform like Salesloft, that tedious process is all done for you — which is incredible, right? Once you submit the forecast, everyone can see it, rolling all the way up to the most senior leadership without anyone having to dig through a crowded inbox. 

When everything is manual, leaders have to schedule — and spend precious time in — regular forecasting “check-in” calls with their sellers to make sure they’re on the same page with the deal. Just like Groundhog Day, there’s the repeated, tedious conversations to confirm things like “is Deal A still set to close on X date, and is the next step still to talk about Person B about Topic Y (i.e. pricing)?” 

Depending on the confidence level with any particular team member, a sales leader might also have to go into their email, see what their reps are forecasting, and then take that number and cross-reference the sales pipeline in the CRM to see where they’re tracking to and where they’re falling behind.

When everyone is on a shared revenue orchestration platform sales leaders have that information at their fingertips, in an instant. With a shared sales forecasting tool, you can click on one of your team member’s forecasts and display the deals they’re working on. You can double click down into a deal to listen to conversation recordings, read the AI summary or past emails and hear directly from the buyer how the deal is progressing and what their objections are.

Managers already have so many things on their plate, especially if their revenue team is running lean. They’re worried about skills development and coaching their team members on top of creating and sending a weekly forecast. A shared revenue orchestration platform makes their job so much easier while at the same time making it possible to create a sales forecast that’s both predictable and timely. 

Improving your sales forecast’s precision and accuracy

Sales leaders know making a forecast call isn’t enough. With a shared revenue orchestration platform, your entire revenue team also has the right insights to act on the forecast and deliver it consistently, month over month. 

Plus, there’s greater ability to govern historical revenue data and keep it secure – there are fewer changes of the content, format, and function errors that often happen when a document is shared by many people. 

Here are five ways using a shared revenue orchestration platform like Salesloft can improve the precision and accuracy of your forecast.

  • Full-picture, single-view visibility. Shared revenue orchestration platforms track all interactions with prospects and customers. Both individual reps and sales leaders have the ability to link into all previous calls, AI summary notes, and activity straight from the Deals view. Having that information readily available enables reps to create solid, fact-based forecasts and managers to develop trust in what’s submitted.
  • Real-time, single-view comparisons. With a spreadsheet-based system, you end up switching between screens in order to compare your forecast to actual data. Shared revenue orchestration platforms let you compare your forecast to real-time data points using a single view. For example, you can look at both the expected churn forecast and a live health score to see if things add up properly. When it’s that easy to double-check the numbers, people go the extra mile and the accuracy of your forecasts improves.
  • Safer shared content. Ever labored for days creating the perfect spreadsheet (or borrowed one from your previous gig), only to have someone accidentally paste over a formula and mess up the whole sheet? Shared revenue orchestration platforms like Salesloft give you confidence as a leader that only approved team members can view or edit sensitive revenue data without endangering the overarching body of work.
  • Faster, better input validation. Within Salesloft specifically, the Deal Gaps tool is a quick way to validate trust in a rep’s forecast. If they’re committing to a deal or renewal coming in, but deal gaps reveal that there are too many gaps, you can express doubts and push to adjust.
  • Documented next steps to save at-risk deals. Within your Deals dashboard in Salesloft, you can also add specific to-dos. These can serve as next steps to progress an opportunity or to protect at-risk accounts. This feature helps during opportunity stage forecasting because you can see whether or not the team is executing the things you agreed on to push the deal forward.

Shared revenue orchestration platforms also help users improve forecasts over time using historical insights. In the platform, you can look at your forecast and see how it evolves from one to the next iteration. You can also review what you forecast and see how you’ve performed against that over time. These insights help every team member continue to hone their forecasting skills to produce forecasts with a level of accuracy that improves continuously.

“Salesloft lets you take the critical deals that a company really wants to make sure that their whole revenue team is really well aligned on, and see a healthy view without having to speak to each individual rep about each individual deal.” (Katie K)

Using your sales forecast to improve performance and accountability

We tend to think of sales forecasts as a business management tool. But with a shared revenue platform like Salesloft, forecasts also become a people management tool. 

When your team is new, you wouldn’t expect them to be 100% accurate in their forecasting. But the platform opens the door to improvement. Because it’s so easy to submit forecasts every week — and then review them every week — managers can have brief but highly productive conversations with each seller.

For example, if a rep submits a $70k forecast with $150k in pipeline, that’s certainly realistic. Together, the rep and the manager can look at the deals, understand how they’re progressing, and discuss strategies for closing that business. On the other hand, if you have a rep who’s telling you, “I don’t know how I’m going to get to $20k,” that opens the door for a very different coaching conversation. 

Having your entire team on a shared revenue orchestration platform like Salesloft also helps drive accountability across teams on next steps to save at-risk deals. 

If a deal is stalled, everyone can see what has been done to that point — and what has not. It’s easy to pull in the appropriate person from another team and quickly get them up to speed and involved. Next steps that are agreed upon with the customer are automatically flagged, and the platform supplies reminders to make sure that nothing falls through the cracks and slows down a deal any further.

Start developing better sales forecasts today

It is possible to develop consistent sales forecasts and take action on them quickly, easily, and frequently, without the pain you may have experienced in the past. You just need to bring everyone on the same page, start speaking the same language. In other words, use the same data and make sure that everyone sees the full picture instead of the select bits that are siloed by department or role.

Improve efficiency and accuracy of your sales forecasting methods by bringing your entire revenue and operations team onto Salesloft’s shared revenue orchestration platform — book a demo now. If you already use Salesloft, it’s as easy as assigning your unassigned licenses to your entire revenue and operations team, which you can start doing today.