In many ways, sales forecasting has not really changed for centuries. Each sales person works a particular sales cycle based largely on their own intuition and experience.
While there have been advances in methodologies e.g solution selling and professional selling skills etc, the final judgement of whether a sale will occur has largely remain unchanged….the experiential judgement of the sales rep.
There have been significant advances in the ability to record and house critical sales data since the beginning of the CRM movement in the early 90’s. This has certainly improved the visibility and tracking of data and even allowed cross team member engagement but the forecasting moment of truth has still remained unchanged…..experiential guessing!!!
We now see the emergence of predictive analytical software capable of learning from the past and applying artificial intelligence speed to assess the likelihood of a sales cycle not only closing but identifying both the enabling elements to support this prediction and also the limiting elements to identify risks to be worked. In the most advanced areas, especially in the areas of social media,the ability to source,analyze and assess positive and negative momentum factors within a sales cycle adds to the intelligence and insights at the speed and accuracy that surpasses the limits of one sales rep.
The age of predictive and prescriptive analysis is now a reality. Finally, a sales rep and their management and senior leaders can have a ” AI assistant” working 24 x7x365 evaluating,predicting and prescribing next steps to drive much higher accuracy and sales productivity. This drives both top line results, higher margins and lower overall selling costs.
If your firm has not yet explored this, I would encourage you to reach out to a fabulous new Predictive Analytics firm called Saleschoice based in Toronto, Canada. Their website is www.saleschoice.com