Today’s post is by Eric Esfahanian, senior vice president of sales and marketing at Gryphon. Join Gryphon and Selling Power for a joint webinar on October 12, 2016, at 1:00pm ET, “Separating Hype vs Reality: The Top 3 Sales Activities that (Really) Predict Revenue.” This event will showcase great, pragmatic tips on how to predict revenue and increase sales performance.
When it comes to sales forecasting, managers are often left scratching their heads trying to determine which opportunities are just hype and which are reality. There’s a good reason for that since, according to CSO Insights, fewer than 50 percent of deals close as originally forecasted. You might as well just flip a coin to predict revenue rather than going through the traditional forecast grind.
So how can sales managers increase sales forecasting accuracy and spend their time more wisely? In today’s world, this process starts with the proper tools. Here are three steps you can take (with the help of the right technology) to make your forecasting life easier and get the best, most productive performance from all your sales reps.
Step #1: Automate the process of capturing data related to sales activity in CRM.
A great forecast starts with great sales activity data. For example, how many times is a rep reaching out to a prospect? Are those conversations too long? Are they too short?
There is often a direct correlation between a sales opportunity and the activities that led to it. Accurate sales activity data is the most important asset for strong forecasts – and inaccurate data is the greatest liability for weak ones. Unfortunately, industry data from Ventana has shown that most sales reps spend four hours per week manually entering data into CRM, with only about 40 percent accuracy.
As a sales leader, you have to relieve reps from the chore of manually updating selling activities into CRM. If you can first capture activity data automatically, you’ve taken a huge first step to a better, more accurate forecast.
Step #2: Make your life easier by accessing sales-activity data in real time.
The more visibility managers have into the rep’s calling data (captured automatically with a tool like Gryphon), the better they can manage and ultimately improve the effectiveness of their teams and the accuracy of their forecast. However, you need to look for tools that can help you capture (and see) that data in real time – you can’t be expected to comb through dozens of data-laden spreadsheets to find meaningful insight.
This is why Gryphon offers graphical dashboard views of sales activity, compared against your sales activity goals (for example, number of sales calls or conversations made per day). With Gryphon, sales leaders can spend time on what really matters: tracking key performance indicators related to closing business and establishing the foundation for an accurate forecast.
Step #3: Leverage speech analytics to improve the behaviors that track back to accurate sales forecasting.
After you take the initial steps outlined above, you’ll be ready to use speech analytics to delve into the conversational aspects of the sales interactions. With insight into prospect mood, rep script adherence, keywords, as well as phrases that get results during phone-based interactions, managers can better understand why some reps convert and others don’t. This cultivates better sales behavior, puts a halt to bad habits, and bridges the visibility gap between your reps and revenue.
You might never achieve a perfect forecast. However, with the right tools and processes in place, you can use your time far more effectively while also helping your companies build a confident, robust pipeline of business.
Join Gryphon and Selling Power for a joint webinar on October 12, 2016, at 1:00pm ET, “Separating Hype vs Reality: The Top 3 Sales Activities that (Really) Predict Revenue.” This event will showcase great, pragmatic tips on how to predict revenue and increase sales performance.