[guestpost]This guest post is brought to you by Salesforce and Anaplan.[/guestpost]
As a sales leader, you are asked to hold a tremendous amount of knowledge about the deals in your pipeline.
With each rep and each territory, you need enough information to estimate deal maturity and the likelihood of deals closing.
Yet period after period—and despite your sales forecast—your team ends up scrambling to close deals in the final few weeks.
Some inevitably close late or lose momentum entirely.
The trouble with this is not only that deals slip, but that inaccurate forecasts can have a cascading effect across your organization.
Inaccurate forecasts mean that finance cannot accurately gauge the cost of sales or budget implications, HR will not know if the sales org needs more headcount, and the supply chain cannot accurately forecast demand.
Work smarter, not harder with AI-driven forecasting insights
The data in your CRM can tell you a lot. Time to close, average deal sizes, sales reps assigned to key deals—all of these are variables in your CRM that can be mined for insights.
Imagine being able to take the guesswork out of forecasting.
By leveraging a new integrated solution from Anaplan and Salesforce, you can now analyze opportunities across your entire book of business, generate predictions that can help you stay focused on your most likely deals, and share a more accurate sales forecast with the rest of the business.
Putting your enhanced forecast to work
To get the value out of a more accurate sales forecast, you not only need analytics; you need the ability to take these insights and make smarter sales decisions.
By combining Salesforce Einstein Analytics with the Anaplan Connected Planning platform, you can take Opportunity data from Sales Cloud and commitment data from your Anaplan forecasting models, and then leverage Einstein to provide AI-assisted variables that lead to a more accurate predicted win rate.
This means that you no longer need to rely on your sales team (and sacrifice their valuable time with customers) to provide you with predictions.
With a model built in Anaplan, you can then make proactive adjustments in real-time and course correct to give everyone a better chance at hitting their number.
An accurate sales forecast adds immediate value outside of sales as well. Consider bookings, billings, revenue, and cash flow projections.
Now, say that you are running your model again for the upcoming period.
Anaplan can continue to draw on historical data from Salesforce Sales Cloud and Einstein, as well as leverage Anaplan data like time-based snapshots of a prior sales rep or manager commitments.
This allows you to spot abnormalities and deliver even more accurate forecasts.
With accuracy comes the confidence you need to make more critical pipeline decisions such as pricing and discounting, and changes to sales incentives.
Introducing Intelligent Forecasting
What Anaplan and Einstein create together is an AI-infused planning solution: Intelligent Forecasting.
As a decision-maker, this solution can help you to stop spending so much time aggregating and compiling data, and more time creating and executing your plans.
It will allow you to leverage data science to make better, more informed decisions faster.
Although forecasting is a regular process in sales organizations, Intelligent Forecasting is not limited to sales leadership. Imagine having a more accurate way to forecast in marketing, finance, supply chain, or other divisions.