8 Ways to Achieve Sales Forecasting Nirvana

Sales Forecasting SuccessHow are those 2014 New Year’s Resolutions coming along? If you’re anything like our sales team you probably made some sales-related resolutions this year. Well, unlike those daily trips to the gym – don’t let your sales and revenue aspiration fall by the wayside.

In order to bring a fresh batch of inspiration to you, we’ve scoured the web to find the best January resolutions from some of the smartest salespeople we know. Read on to refresh those sales and marketing resolutions for 2014 and beyond.

Tip #1 – Create a Powerful and Effective Proposal

According to Kelley Robertson, a veteran sales trainer and noted author, the most effective proposals are targeted at your prospect’s situation and answer the question, “What’s in it for me?” Putting yourself in your customers’ shoes shows that you empathize with them and have a clear focus on their problem is the first step to building an effective proposal. Using tools like a product configurator can help you easily create a customized and convincing sales proposal.

Tip #2 – Say goodbye to spreadsheets.

Stop the spreadsheet madness! Salesforce.com calls us to eliminate the need for spreadsheet consolidation in 2014 by creating an automated process that pulls together disparate data sources. Software that automates spreadsheets and saves employees time can help you streamline your company’s processes and improve the efficiency of your organization. Software is available that gives you the data you need quickly so you can utilize it and take action—minus lengthy, hard-to-decipher spreadsheets.

Tip #3 – Stay in touch with customers.

In 2014, the small business experts at Hatchbuck resolved to better stay in touch with customers. This is a great resolution because although it’s easier than ever to touch base with your customers in our digital world, it can be hard to make the time. Connecting with your customers via social media is a great way to stay on their radar and let them know about your latest news and tools. But email is still valuable as well. The experts at Hatchbuck recommend nurturing personal relationships by using an email marketing system that can schedule regular, relevant messages. Sometimes just checking in to make sure they are happy separates you from other salespeople.

Tip #4 – Keep a finger on the pulse of the sales funnel by reporting sales lead progression.

Clément Cazalot, who writes about optimizing your sales pipeline on the Salesforce blog, suggests painting a picture around the value of each lead. Measure the “unexpected” behavioral insights from email marketing recipients or leads to reviewing your proposal. Then, he says, use this data to reduce wasted time by knowing when to connect with your most engaged prospects.

Tip #5 – Reduce channel conflict by syncing the inside and outside sales forecasts.

The people as Salesforce Search have been helping companies build top-performing sales teams by recruiting the right salespeople. In their experience, when there is a disconnect between inside and outside sales departments, most companies fail to meet their sales targets. That’s why they suggest clarifying the similarities between your organizations’ inside and outside sales roles. By outlining shared responsibilities and goals, you can reinforce the idea that all teams within your business should be working together.

Tip # 6 – Stop wasting your salespeople’s time.

Mark Hunter is called @TheSalesHunter for a reason – he calls it as he sees it. In a recent post, he says what most salespeople are thinking. To paraphrase: Let’s face it. Most sales meetings are “update” sessions where the sales manager does all the talking. If this is the case, stop having meetings and use email.

Tip #7 Resolve to help customers make better faster purchase decisions.

Recently Hubspot shared 2014 trends that are transforming sales gleaned from sales experts. The consensus is that we’re seeing the end of the “sales generalist.” Andy Paul, Founder, Zero-Time Selling, said, “Customers want to work with sales reps who have industry and product expertise – who can help them make better and faster purchase decisions.” Leverage your know-how to solve your customer’s problem and bring value to each interaction.

Tip # 8 – Motivate by Sales Division by Creating Multiple Forecasts

Striking the balance between ambitious and realistic in your sales forecast is tough. Setting big goals for a sales team can often lead to bigger, better sales results. Yet, the data from those forecasts are relied on to make big decisions on everything from bonuses, marketing budgets, and hiring. Using sales forecasting software that allows you to create multiple forecasts can give you the tools your team needs to motivate your sales team while keeping your financial plans conservative.

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