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Automated Sales Forecasting
The market is an inherently dynamic place, and agility is an indispensable quality for any business that hopes to thrive. Today, the primary way for businesses to remain flexible and adaptable is through use of data analytics software.
Data software for businesses has been around for a few decades now. Managers now have information about every aspect of an organization down to the most minute detail right at their fingertips. For some time, too, this data has been fed into forecasting software to generate predictions about revenue, sales figures, opex, and other metrics.
These programs initially used a sales forecasting formula based on crude mathematical modelling to predict data trajectories and generally were not very accurate. In the past few years, however, advances in AI and machine learning have revolutionized forecasting. Prediction tools can now take into account much larger quantities of information and independently adjust their own algorithms in real-time to account for new data. The result is more accurate modeling which doesn’t need constant tweaking by analysts and programmers and which does a far better job of representing the present and future market.
These autonomous and automated forecasting tools are the next step in business intelligence, and it’s imperative that all enterprises understand what they are and what they can do. In this article, we’ll explore the functions and benefits of automated sales forecasting. We’ll outline the basics of what sales and demand forecasting are, we’ll demonstrate how intelligent forecasting solutions make new mobile business strategies feasible; we’ll give some examples of what sales forecasting can do and how to forecast sales using historical data; we’ll talk about what the most important tools are for sales forecasting; we’ll explain what a sales forecast generator is and why it’s important, and, finally, look at some financial forecasting tools and what fiscal benefits they can have for your company.
Sales Forecasting Software
At the outset, it’s important to understand what sales forecasting software does.
Perhaps the oldest and most remedial forecasting solution is a sales forecast Excel spreadsheet. Numerous rows of data, all inputted by hand are graphed to visualize present trends and future trajectories. This provides a very rough prediction of where the data will go.
The best sales forecasting software, however, is made by companies like Canopy whose specialty is predictive solutions. Metrics like sales team efficiency, sales cycle, opex, brand loyalty, and others can be generated and tracked by smart software. AI predictive algorithms can then produce accurate forecasts of data trajectories which are constantly and automatically adjusted in response to new information.
This technology is also applied to the prospect and client side of things through demand forecasting software. Behaviors of your prospect base, competitors, and the market itself are all trackable and predictable, too. You’ll know who to sell to in the future, what kinds of products they’ll be interested in, and how best to reach out to and convert them.
The aim of forecasting software is to give both management and sales teams the most accurate picture of the future possible. This way, when they arise, disasters can be avoided, challenges can be met, and opportunities can be capitalized on.
Sales Forecasting App
The advantage of automated forecasting software is that constant inputting, analysis, and crunching of data is unnecessary. The inbuilt AI and machine learning software allows modern forecasting programs to automatically and intelligently adapt to new data entry and shifting conditions. These programs can run by themselves and only need to be monitored by management.
Because of this, many companies specializing in intelligent data business solutions have also begun offering a sales forecasting app which allows remote monitoring from a phone, tablet, or laptop. Most of these apps take the form of visualizers or dashboards. Users can track current data readings and forecasts generated by the company software.
Apps like these are helpful for several reasons. First, they condense large amounts of data into simple and straightforward visual tools. Second, they allow consultation of valuable sales trends from any location while the actual hardware and software is kept safely in a company building or in the cloud. Third, it allows for important sales decisions to be made on the go. A sales projection example case might be that a sales rep in a meeting with a potential client is able to check their app and see positively trending revenue and sales figures. They can then use that in that same meeting to convince the potential client of the quality and value of their product and push a sale.
Sales Forecasting Examples
Of course, forecasting software is much more versatile than an app-based visualizer, so let’s talk about some of the types of sales forecasting and what they can do.
Forecasting software can generate revenue projections. If a forecaster is connected to a CRM or a sales forecast Excel template, it can calculate the conversion probabilities of different types of prospects and synthesize accurate revenue figures for future quarters and years. This can be extremely helpful in building next year’s budget.
Forecasting can be used to predict the behavior of your prospect base. Using current and past sales trends, market share data, and information about content and ad engagement, a model can be generated for your prospects and clients. You can tell whether you’ll have more or fewer buyers in the future and what segments of the market are going to be interested in your product offerings.
Revenue and prospect behavior are the primary metrics predictive solutions deal with, but other sales forecasting examples are numerous. These programs can make predictions about opex, competitor strategies, advertising, sales cycle length, price inflation, prospect needs, and many other factors and metrics. What this software can do is practically limitless, so its performance and benefits depend on businesses successfully deploying and leveraging it.
Sales Forecasting Tools
Forecasting can be applied to any datastream, but let’s look at the types of applications and programs you’ll want in your software suite to be able to make the most accurate and intelligent predictions.
To predict future revenue figures, you’ll want all your historical data in one place. You’ll also want to consolidate all information on opex, supply line, and materials costs. Fiscal predictions are impossible without fiscal data.
This falls more into the category of demand forecasting tools, but is vital to sales forecasting as well. A CRM keeps all prospect and client data in one place so it can all be analysed together for easy modeling of both buyer behavior and future sales figures.
Even as a manager, you probably won’t want to see all the raw data until it’s been processed through your analytics programs. Once it has, you’ll want it to be simple, straightforward, and comprehensive. Visualizers and dashboards gather together all the most pertinent data and display it in helpful graphics so you can make the right decisions quickly.
Just like prospects, to run a successful business, you’ll need to know what your rivals are doing. Knowing their products, sales strategies, and target markets will enable you to optimize your own enterprise to compete most effectively.
These sales tools will both serve as sales forecasting tools and have forecasting software applied to them. Together they’ll form a powerful arsenal guaranteed to put you a step above the rest.
Sales Forecast Generator
What sets these new forecasting tools apart from those of the past is not only their ability to run autonomously without constant human input and tweaking, but their unprecedented accuracy.
Free sales forecasting tools and those made by generic Saas vendors will not be able to compete with the offerings of companies which have made forecasting and sales solutions their primary focus and specialty.
A prime example of what is possible and available from such software and intelligence experts is Canopy’s sales forecast generator suite.
Canopy’s forecasting software was built by data analysts to make data analysis easier. Using a top-down statistical approach that takes into account all available historical data, Canopy’s sales and revenue modeling solutions are industry leaders. With automatic data collection and integration, they can run all day, every day, without skipping a beat; the more data they collect, the more accurate they become.
Of course, the world of the market is too complex to ever be modelled with 100% accuracy. That’s why, when necessary, sales managers can easily adjust parameters and assumptions in the software’s programming to account for unseen factors. Canopy’s forecasters deal with the data so you can think of the big picture while still having the freedom to apply your own insights and experience.
Financial Forecasting Tools
In the end, forecasting is about managing your resources and revenue to ensure you stay competitive, successful, and can focus on the projects that matter.
This is why Canopy’s forecasting is geared primarily towards revenue prediction. Sales team efficiency, sales cycles, opex, competitors, market shifts, advertising, conversational techniques, differentiation, pricepoint, and numerous other factors all influence revenue, and Canopy can handle them all without oversight.
As said above, there are two main programs you’ll need to make financial forecasting tools like Canopy run best. You’ll need an accounting platform to keep track of all the expenses incurred in making each sale (materials, salaries, ad placement fees, etc.), and you’ll need a CRM to track conversion probabilities for various segments of your prospect/client base and calculate the efficiency of sales reps and teams. Link the data feeds from these programs up to Canopy and watch it work its magic.
Data technology is evolving at a rapid pace, and business forecasting tools are becoming more sophisticated, intelligent, and helpful as a result. Within the next few years, automated forecasting based on machine learning tech will become the norm. This is why businesses should know now exactly how powerful these tools are and how revolutionary they can be as part of a company’s software arsenal.
To learn more about top-notch forecasting tools, schedule your demo now!