Sales organizations of all sizes are under pressure to provide more accurate top-line sales forecasts. Better forecasts mean a more accurate prediction of the future revenue health of a company. To help improve the accuracy of sales pipelines, best-in-class companies are using sales-analytics solutions that rely on multiple data streams, not just a single source.

Consider the following enabling technologies and the impact they have had on sales forecasting results:

• Sales analytics or forecasting software

• Separate sales forecast dashboards for each sales role

• Lead scoring/assignment based on patterns of profitability, purchase or payment trends

• Predictive analytics

• CRM/SFA dashboard integrated with goal vs. actual sales data

• Sales stage analysis that identifies problem deals by deal velocity

Best-in-class companies that have enabling technologies as well as formal definitions of sales stages, standard rankings to define sales opportunities and a centralized repository of sales data identified by sales stage have the best chance of producing highly accurate forecasts.

Source: Dan Hudson is the co-founder and president of 3Forward and has a B2B sales and sales leadership background of more than 30 years. He can be reached at dan.hudson@3forward.com.