A few years back, software like Microsoft Excel was the undisputed king of sales forecasting. However technology has evolved. Now, forecasting software has become accessible (and easier to use) to all.
You could still do forecasting in Excel. The only issue is if you are willing to spend months figuring out how to program it to fit your business needs.
Now, you can use dozens of sales forecasting software that provide real-time and accurate data. The question is, " Which is the perfect fit for your business?”
We’re here to help answer that question! In this guide, we’ll be going over the following:
- The types of sales forecasting
- How to choose the right forecasting software
- Why businesses need sales forecasting software
- Sales forecasting software you should consider
Why Should Businesses Use Sales Forecasting?
Can a business live without sales forecasting?—Yes! But, without forecasting, companies can remain stagnant or be left out of new trends. So, if you want your business to thrive, don’t skip out on forecasting! It can provide the following benefits:
Data-Driven Strategic Decisions.
Sales forecasts help you make the right decisions for your sales process and other aspects of your business. Data from forecasts enables you to account for inventory, staffing, and even your subsequent marketing campaigns.
For example, if your forecasting software predicts the sales team to miss their quarterly targets, you can identify issues and proactively make real-time adjustments.
Sales forecast helps your team set realistic short- and long-term goals. Some businesses even base their entire sales strategy on their forecasts and find success.
The data from these forecasts can be the foundation for your sales strategy. These foundations become important, especially if you want to scale.
Qualifying leads are essential to every sales process. Forecasting helps determine not only your sales but your acquisition strategies as well. This is essential, especially when you’re doing lead generation and qualifying for startups.
Types of Sales Forecasting
We can categorize sales forecasting into qualitative and quantitative methods. Both umbrella terms cover deeper topics, such as moving averages and buyer intention surveys. We’ll focus on defining the main forecasting methods to simplify our understanding.
Qualitative forecasting focuses more on the “gut feeling” of sales or industry experts. These people have a proven track record of success in the industry and have been in sales long enough to understand the justifications for their decision-making.
There are five main qualitative methods most organizations use:
- Delphi Method
- SalesForce Composite Method
- Buyer Expectation Surveys
- Expert Opinion Method
- Historical Analogy Method
While qualitative forecasting is based on opinions and experiences, quantitative forecasting focuses solely on the data. Historical data shows you trends, and in sales, the trends are your friends.
Analysts use this data to predict future sales. The factors used to make these predictions include historical data, growth rates, seasonal trends, sales volume, and external factors (new policies, technological advancement, and consumption patterns).
In most scenarios, quantitative data provides more accurate forecasts. However, volatile markets can be prone to drastic changes—this is where qualitative forecasting shines.
Quantitative and qualitative forecasting is needed to create a holistic sales strategy. But, to streamline forecasting, we need to use the right software.
Features to Look For In Sales Forecasting Software
If you found a sales forecasting software that fits your business needs above—great! But if you want to explore more options, here are some of the features you should be looking at
Modern sales teams need dynamic forecasting capabilities to keep up with the ebb and flow of the market. Look for software that provides forecasts based on real-time data.
Your team needs to be on the same page if you want to streamline and optimize your sales funnels. Importing data allows you to have centralized data so all departments can access the necessary analytics.
With a centralized database, collaboration becomes much more accessible. Find software that integrates seamlessly with your CRM. Remember, your sales, marketing, and executive departments must collaborate in real time to achieve the best chance of success.
Ease of Use
Forecasting software should simplify your sales processes. Remember, using new software requires your team to understand its ins and outs fast. So, use one that’s intuitive or easy to use.
One of the fastest ways of interpreting data is by presenting it visually. Your team needs an objective view of the forecasts to make data-driven decisions. Visuals help contextualize data so it's understandable for all stakeholders.
Sales Forecasting Software to Consider
Here is our list of sales forecasting software curated to fit almost all types of businesses, whether that be small and medium businesses (SMBs) or enterprise sales.
If you want to predict run rates (the predicted financial performance of a business based on a business’s current financial situation), then Aviso Insights might be for you.
Aviso has a powerful AI that delivers forecasts with 98% accuracy. Your team gets insights on all deals, finds discrepancies, and views forecasts based on products, segments, or locations.
Who Should Use Aviso?: Aviso uses big data to provide forecasts based on sales and pipeline performance—making it great for sales leaders, executives, and sales reps.
Pricing: Aviso customizes pricing based on your business needs.
If you plan on scaling your business sustainably, Pipedrive provides forecasts that help you make data-driven decisions to ensure things go smoothly.
Pipedrive forecasts growth and turnover rates to help decision-makers spot underlying issues and sales pipeline bottlenecks and highlight winning sales trends.
Who Should Use Pipedrive?: With its interactive dashboards, Pipedrive is an excellent tool for sales leaders for SMEs and Enterprises looking to scale.
Pricing: If you want to do forecasting, you need to get Pipedrive’s Professional plan (billed annually) which costs $49.90 per month per user.
Salesforce Sales Cloud
Sales Cloud gives you a real-time view of your forecasts, even for complex organizational sales. You can tailor forecasts based on specific KPIs and make real-time adjustments.
The tool offers lead management, automation capabilities, and contact management. It also analyzes customer behavior and predicts potential behaviors based on previous activity.
Who Should Use Sales Cloud?: Sales Cloud is best for businesses that want to get forecasts for their eCommerce platforms, track marketing campaigns, and website analytics.
Pricing: Sales Cloud costs $25/month for basic sales and marketing features and can go up to $300 for unlimited CRM capabilities and premium support.
Outreach Commit uses AI to give your sales team real-time pipeline analytics and forecasts. It can track inventory shortages and surpluses to help you prepare for worst-case scenarios.
The tool helps your team become more proactive by providing you with signals that identify at-risk deals. This makes Outreach Commit great for maintaining a sustainable sales pipeline.
Who Should Use Outreach Commit: This tool is perfect for market-facing teams that want to close more pipelines through accurate sales forecasts.
Pricing: Outreach Commit can give a quote upon request.
Zoho is a CRM that provides forecasts based on user conditions. You’re given to option to monitor forecasts for closed deals, pipeline deals, and shortages.
It can generate reports automatically based on the forecasts it makes. The tool also uses AI to find discrepancies in sales targets performance, and provides recommendations on how to fix the issues.
Who Should Use Zoho?: Zoho offers a range of features for SMBs and enterprises.
Pricing: Zoho’s pricing starts at $12 per user/month. But, their predictive AI is only available for professional tiers and above.
You can view Sugar’s forecasts as a worksheet. Users can configure the worksheet to add scenarios that affect the outcome of the forecast.
It also provides “predictive analytics,” allowing users to forecast the likelihood of leads converting into a sale. The best part is you don’t have to be tech-savvy to use it.
Who Should Use Sugar CRM?: Sugar is best for sales teams looking for customizable options to support their specific workflows.
Pricing: Revenue forecasting for Sugar CRM starts at $135 per month/user.
Workday Adaptive Planning
Formerly known as Adaptive Insights, Workday Adaptive planning helps any sales team simplify their sales strategy with accurate forecasting.
Different departments can access the same data using Workday, allowing for more cohesive and straightforward collaborations.
Who Should Use Workday?: People in charge of sales strategy for SME and Enterprise sales teams can fully utilize this forecasting software's features.
Pricing: You can contact Workday for a customized plan. They base the quote on your company size and the specific features you need.
Sales forecasting software supplements a business’s sales, goal-setting, and marketing efforts. To make the most of these tools, remember the following:
- Use a tool that offers dynamic and real-time forecasting.
- Your forecasting software must have import capabilities to ensure seamless collaboration between all departments.
- Go for a forecasting tool that’s intuitive and provides visual reporting.
Find this article helpful? Want to learn more about sales and forecasting? You might find these interesting: