Can you predict what your sales in the next quarter will be?
If your answer is a guess, you need to apply sales forecasting now! Every business aims to outwit its competitors using data-driven strategies in the competitive global market. And applying effective sales forecasting is a crucial part of any data-backed business strategy.
Do you know why?
An accurate estimate of your future sales will help you make well-informed choices and raise the efficiency of your entire sales process. In fact, 97% of companies using forecasting techniques achieve their quotas, compared to only 55% of those who don’t use forecasting. So, effective forecasting certainly gives you an edge over competitors who count on guesswork.
You can maximize this advantage by applying proven sales techniques to existing data in the fastest, easiest, and most cost-efficient way possible. And this is where it becomes crucial to use the right sales forecasting tools instead of spending hours on manual analysis!
This blog will help you begin by covering the concept basic concept with the best sales sales forecasting methodology. Moreover, we will list the top 13 sales forecasting software that provide accurate sales revenue predictions based on real-time information. So, let’s dive in!
Table of Contents
Sales forecasting is the process of estimating the future revenue by predicting the amount of product or services a salesperson, sales team, or entire company will sell in the next week, month, quarter, or year. It involves determining the future sales revenue in a specified period using defined forecasting methods.
Here are the key benefits that sales forecasting provides-
Moreover, it is important to apply sales forecasting in the most efficient way possible to make the most of the benefits. And this is where sales forecasting software comes in.
Sales forecasting software are tools that apply sales forecasting techniques to your existing data to predict your sales revenue. They bring you all the benefits of sales forecasting easily and cost-effectively by instantly applying sales forecasting methods on large data sets.
Sales forecasting tools have become an invaluable part of modern sales teams as they provide precise sales estimations at lightning speed, helping your sales managers sail through tough decisions. Here are the key benefits of using sales forecasting software-
Sales forecasting is primarily the responsibility of sales managers. This is because the sales managers design and oversee the sales strategy implementation while taking most of the decisions based on sales reports. So, they are in the best position to create, interpret, and apply sales forecasts.
However, a reliable forecast requires inputs from sales representatives, customer service officials, CRM managers, marketing professionals, and market analysts, amongst others!
Moreover, accurate sales forecasting requires the continuous cooperation of the marketing, production, and sales departments to maintain end-to-end reports.
So, sales forecasting is a team effort led by the sales manager and backed by advanced forecasting software.
Revenue sales forecasting methods are techniques applied to estimate future sales revenue based on existing sales data. Let us check out some widely-used sales forecasting methods-
Quantitative forecasting is a data-based mathematical process that sales managers apply to predict future revenue based on historical data patterns. It includes standardized techniques that provide measurable insights about existing trends and estimates future performance accordingly.
Moreover, with the right software, you can apply quantitative forecasting techniques easily and instantly. Here are some popular quantitative sales forecasting techniques-
Qualitative forecasting is an estimation method that applies expert judgment to provide insights into future sales revenue outcomes. The techniques used for qualitative forecasting count on the experience, expertise, and instinct of experts in the niche rather than data patterns.
You may also combine the qualitative method with the quantitative method to make the most precise estimations that align mathematical predictions with human judgment. Here are some popular qualitative sales forecasting techniques-
Here are some other popular revenue forecasting methods-
There are mainly two types of sales forecasting software that apply various forecasting techniques to make future sales predictions. Here are the two categories of forecasting tools and their ideal applications-
Sales pipeline forecasting software analyzes the existing opportunities for sales in your sales pipeline and calculates a comparative win rate. It helps you prioritize and organize your sales activities by estimating sales opportunities in your current pipeline based on historical trends of leads in your pipeline.
Sales pipeline forecasting tools help you determine what you should focus on at any point by providing an estimated revenue outcome for every opportunity using these criteria-
These tools are ideal for larger businesses with varying sales revenue that do not follow a clear trend.
Historical sales forecasting software project your historic sales and market trends to estimate the future sales revenue trends. They analyze previous performance and seasonal trends to calculate an average sales level you can expect for the following month, quarter, or year.
These tools offer results on simple X-Y graphs that are easy to interpret and implement for your sales manager. But they consider only past trends and not the current leads in your pipeline.
A historical sales forecasting tool is best for small businesses that have a predictable monthly sales trend with low variation.
Here are the best sales forecasting software that you should consider based on your budget and forecasting requirements-
Pipedrive is a sales-focused CRM and pipeline management tool that is ideal for teams of all sizes. It has a simple yet powerful design that prioritizes usability and productivity. Moreover, it automates most of the record filing, analysis, and sales forecasting process to make life easy for your sales team.
Its pricing plans are-
Anaplan is a powerful sales planning and forecasting platform that allows users to integrate and analyze data on its unified platform. It is a collaborative platform that helps sales teams to make and implement data-driven decisions. Anaplan is especially known for its built-in integrations, APIs, and ETL connectors that let it communicate with other existing solutions easily.
It offers custom pricing as per your requirement for its basic, professional, and enterprise versions.
SPOTIO is an outside sales engagement tool built to improve your efficiency while accelerating every sales process aspect, including lead capturing, resource tracking, sales pipeline management, building revenue forecasts, and much more! It is a convenient forecasting, planning, and implementation software that helps your sales team at all sales steps.
It offers custom pricing as per your requirement for its team, business, pro, and enterprise versions. The price starts from around $39 monthly per user.
Gong is a customer interaction planning tool that uses a simple calendar integration to plan, record, and analyze your sales outreach. Gong “scans” each sales reps’ calendar looking for upcoming sales meetings, demos, or calls and joins as a virtual attendee to record the session. Following this, its feedback system offers insights into the leads and sales trends.
Gong.io has not revealed its price and offers customized pricing plans that depend on your needs.
Workday Adaptive Planning is an advanced planning platform that enables an active planning process that incorporates everyone in your firm. It helps you to adapt to the changing business environment by offering accurate sales forecasts, various planning tools, and detailed analytical reports.
Workday Adaptive Planning’s pricing is not public, but its price starts at around USD 15,000.00.
InsightSquared is a sales analytics platform that turns your raw sales data into sales intelligence, which includes actionable inferences and predictions. It empowers your sales managers to make better decisions by providing valuable insights and accurate sales forecasting options.
InsightSquared offers a flexible, role-based pricing model.
Zoho CRM is a comprehensive sales management and customer relationship management tool. It acts as a single repository to bring all your sales, marketing, and customer support activities together. Also, it offers various in-built tools for planning, record-keeping, forecasting, customer service, and more that you can apply to this repository!
Zoho CRM costs $57 per month per user.
HubSpot is a popular CRM platform that brings everything your marketing, customer service, and sales team requires into one integrated platform. It is a very convenient sales management and forecasting tool that helps you deliver the best customer experience. Moreover, Hubspot is certainly worth a try if you are looking for sales forecasting tools free of cost.
The pricing plans for the full HubSpot CRM suite are-
Aviso is an AI-driven pipeline forecasting tool that integrates seamlessly with your data sources and provides insights into the performance of your sales pipeline. It implements AI-powered predictive analytics to provide highly precise predictions based on your current pipeline and historical trends.
It offers custom pricing, which comes to approximately $75 per user per month.
Map My Customers is a geospatial sales management platform with features to make your workflow more productive across your defined territories. The key features include automated activity tracking, mapping, call tracking, route and day planning, and territory management. This software also helps you make specialized sales forecasts for the territories based on their trends.
It offers two pricing models-
EngageBay is an integrated marketing, sales, and customer support solution designed to help small to medium size enterprises acquire, engage and convert their leads through diverse platforms. It is a powerful customer relationship management tool that helps you record and analyze your sales and market data and make accurate forecasts and optimizations accordingly.
Its pricing plans are-
ActiveCampaign is a SaaS platform for small-to-mid-sized businesses that helps to automate and optimize the customer experience. It combines CRM features, market forecasting, email marketing, and email automation into one convenient platform to boost your productivity.
The pricing models of ActiveCampaign for 1000 contacts-
Keap is an all-in-one sales and marketing automation platform that helps you grow your sales with its complete management, forecasting, and automation features. It is a simplistic but powerful CRM that integrates with many existing software to create a seamless marketing and sales loop.
Here are its pricing plans-
With several sales forecasting tools to choose from, making the right decision that perfectly suits your needs and budget can be tricky. So, here are some key points to keep in mind while choosing your sales forecasting software-
Various software offer impressive static sales reports based on your data inputs. But dynamic forecasts based on real-time data inputs are way better at meeting the changing needs of a modern sales team. So, you must look for tools that offer dynamic forecasting features.
The forecasts you receive are only as good as the data your forecasting software can access! Hence, you must look for complete import capabilities that allow the software to integrate with your database to get all the necessary data. This is a crucial feature because manually entering huge data sets is not feasible and makes the forecasting tool useless!
Sales forecasting is a team effort, and your software should help you keep it that way! The forecasting tool must allow easy data sharing and collaboration between users while integrating seamlessly with other software you use.
A forecasting tool is meant to make your estimation and decision-making process easy. So, it must not be too complex to understand and use for your marketing and sales managers. If the tool itself becomes a hassle, you’ll be back to where you started!
If a forecasting software does not fit your company’s processes and requirements, it will become a liability that no amount of training videos can fix! The software must have sufficient flexibility and customization options so you can adjust it to match your needs and scope of work correctly. Moreover, it must also be compatible with your existing data sources, ERP systems, database systems, and user expertise level.
Your budget is a limiting factor that you must always keep in mind while checking for required features. There’s often a trade-off between cost and features. But there are various software that can meet advanced requirements at affordable rates, as you saw earlier.
The software must provide visual reports that are easy to understand and interpret. This is crucial because the ultimate purpose of forecasting software is to give an objective overview that supports decision-making.
Sales forecasting tools are reliable and accurate, but their output quality depends on the inputs and instructions added by humans. And this leaves the scope for human errors! Here are some common sales forecasting mistakes you must avoid-
Your personal feelings about the sales trend are not a reliable indicator for future sales. An estimation based on verifiable market data will always out-perform a prediction based on your emotions about your business’s growth.
Positive feelings do play a role in motivating you toward achieving the sales goals, but they must not influence the objective forecasting process. After all, you need to hope for the best but plan for the worst!
Your past performance is usually a reliable indicator of the future of a given product or service in a market. And you must input this data from past years’ sales performance into the forecasting software to make data-driven forecasts that you can rely on.
Of course, no prediction is guaranteed to be 100% accurate in the dynamic market, but projections using past trends are often your best bet at determining future sales.
However, estimations based on your history and future market expectations are not effective if your offering is new or if the market conditions change unpredictably.
Buyers go through distinct stages of a sales funnel while moving towards a purchase. You must define these stages clearly to identify the standard milestones of your customers’ purchase journey, such as taking a demo, talking to a sales rep, and purchasing.
Then, you can use these milestones to measure your sales performance quantitatively for every stage. And the resulting records will help you make and implement forecasts effectively across your sales funnel.
Forecasts are traditionally made annually, quarterly, or monthly and fail to reflect the most recent and ongoing changes. This makes your business non-flexible as you realize the market changes too late to make timely adjustments.
You can solve this using modern forecasting tools that provide a real-time collaborative platform that constantly measures and displays the vital signs of your business and market. The right software backed by an agile organizational culture will help you continually register changes, adapt your forecasts, and quickly implement the revised predictions in your strategy.
The modern market and sales process generates huge amounts of data from multiple sources every day. And organizing or interpreting this data manually with spreadsheets is sure to leave you confused and frustrated! You will end up in a never-ending cycle of data search, input, and calculations only to get inaccurate results.
In fact, this problem was common until professional data management and forecasting tools came in to save the day. You now need to select and apply the right software that makes your data more accessible and offers visual reports and forecasts to help you make decisions easily!
There are various metrics to measure every aspect of sales performance. However, the sales team, marketing team, and senior management must apply the same metrics or “Key Performance Indicators.”
If your organization does not align on the same key metrics, every department will measure different stats and come up with different forecasts. And this will lead to utter confusion! Hence, you must use a sales forecasting tool with a KPI dashboard to keep everybody on the same page.
Sales forecasting is an irreplaceable part of any modern sales strategy. It involves a plethora of qualitative and quantitative techniques that you can implement depending on your niche.
However, you must apply sales forecasting using the right tools to sustain and improve your sales revenue at low costs. And this article on sales forecasting tools and techniques has aimed to equip you with all you need to know for this purpose.
In this blog, we have covered the concept of sales forecasting, followed by the importance of sales forecasting tools and suggestions to help you select the right one. It’s your turn to go ahead and unlock the power of sales forecasting for your business using the best sales forecasting software!
The 2 main methods of sales forecasting are quantitative & qualitative. Quantitative forecasting is a data-based mathematical process, while qualitative forecasting is an estimation method that uses expert judgment.
The three main sales forecasting techniques include expert’s opinion method, Delphi method, and the sales force composite method. They are helpful in projecting sales revenue.
A good CRM platform helps predict sales growth by providing analytical tools. It enables you to get a clear picture of the projected sales and is therefore essential to meet your company’s goals.
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