Sales forecasting software is sales technology’s answer to a magic crystal ball. The ability to see the future allows sales managers (and their reps) to plan and brace themselves for growth, loss, or sweeping changes within the industry.
In times past, Excel spreadsheets were the go-to tool of sales leadership to track deals and create a sales projection. However, today’s powerful software for sales forecasting creates a more accurate, insightful, and easier way to spot trends in sales data.
Here is what you need to know about the importance of sales forecasting software as well as some of the best options available today:
Why is Sales Forecasting Important?
With sales forecasting, companies are given the chance to predict growth in their business and gain deeper insights. When leadership sees trends in sales data, they can come up with effective strategies and make decisions to help increase revenue.
Sales forecasting is broken up into two categories: quantitative and qualitative.
Quantitative forecasting is based on hard data and historical trends, while qualitative forecasting is more intuitive and based on expert judgment. It typically requires market research, surveying potential customers, and the opinions of consultants.
Sales forecasting software uses quantitative measures to help businesses get better insights into their future based on their past. These tools look at historical business data and produce reports of potential sales and revenue based on trends.
Businesses use forecasting tools to answer several crucial questions for business growth:
· What is our expected revenue?
· Does our actual sales number match with expected sales? If not, why?
· What is the most accurate method to forecast sales for our team?
Typically, most software has templates that allow leadership and sales teams to easily and quickly analyze their data and create detailed forecasts. The functionality and level of customization of each tool will differ based on how in-depth the software is. However, they all enable teams to get a look at where their company is and what direction it is headed in.
What to Consider When Selecting Sales Forecasting Software
Sales technology has come a long way since Excel spreadsheets were the only option for sales forecasting. Now, there is a wide range of companies that allow businesses to get more in-depth insights and increase the accuracy of their sales forecasting.
With the number of options, though, it may be challenging to decide which is best. There are some general factors to keep in mind when determining which software for sales forecasting is right for you:
- Dynamic vs Static Forecasts: While some software offers static sales reports, more tools are starting to utilize dynamic forecasts that update in real-time and continually test to make sure they predict sales accurately. Dynamic forecasts are much more effective for most of today’s sales teams.
- Import Capabilities: The forecasts you receive are only as good as the data your software can access. Good import capabilities allow your tools to have all the information and sales data they need without the need to enter information manually.
- Collaboration: Sales forecasting is a team effort. The easier it is to share information, the more insights and alignment there will be within the company.
- Simplicity: Many leaders hesitate to add yet another task onto their plates. The ease of use is crucial to how well your team will use the software and how often leadership will turn to it for information.
The number of options for sales forecasting software means that companies can find the one that meets the needs and priorities of their business. The right forecasting tools will add value and streamline processes, rather than taking more time and money away from the sales team.
Top Software for Sales Forecasting:
Best for small and mid-sized enterprises and enterprise sales teams looking for software with extensive customizable insights & reporting capabilities.
Pipedrive creates a more precise visualization of your sales pipeline to ensure better insights and results. It enables companies to see where exactly in the pipeline they need to focus their attention and what has to happen to drive better sales. Its reporting capabilities include deal tracking, revenue forecasts, and more. Pipeline boasts a robust live dashboard that lets the sales team and leadership see how they are performing in real-time. It also tracks revenue and company goals to make sure everyone is on track each step of the way.
Pipedrive offers several subscription plans. But for sales forecasting and revenue projection capabilities you’ll need either the:
Professional plan = $49.90/month per user (billed annually)
Enterprise plan (unlimited user permission) = $99/month per user (billed annually)
Best for sales leaders needing sales forecasting capabilities as well as conversation & revenue intelligence.
Gong.io is a revenue intelligence platform that works to give leadership full visibility over the entire buyer’s journey. Sales typically happen over a variety of mediums: phone, email, text, meetings. Gong helps organize it all in one place so that companies know exactly where each deal is in the pipeline and can increase forecasting accuracy. Understand whether a deal is going well or not and put an end to surprises in the sales forecast.
Contact Gong for a customized pricing proposal based on the size and needs of your team.
Best for sales teams looking for a comprehensive multi-channel CRM that includes good sales forecasting capabilities.
In addition to being a sales CRM, Zoho also offers revenue and sales forecasting, keeping all of your team’s sales information in one convenient place. It uses a variety of factors, including previous data and pipeline deals, to create accurate insights into your sales forecast. It can even be broken down by territory, team, or individual to get a look into the specifics. In this platform, you can create multiple forecasts for different forecast periods. Zoho is a low-cost option for businesses that need one tool to serve a variety of needs.
Zoho offers several levels for its CRM, including a free plan for up to 3 users. But for sales forecasting capabilities you’ll need at least the Standard paid plan.
Standard = $14/month per user (billed annually)
Professional = $23/month per user (billed annually)
Enterprise = $40/month per user (billed annually)
Ultimate = $52/month per user (billed annually)
Best for sales leaders and managers who want to improve sales forecasting efforts through powerful AI.
Aviso is a revenue intelligence platform that integrates with most CRMs to offer both real-time and historical sales data to increase insights and inform decision-making. With the use of AI and big data, the Aviso Predict feature can make predictive forecasts based on both sales and pipeline performance. This platform provides sales leaders with the in-depth information they need to create an accurate sales and revenue forecast and improve their team’s sales performance.
Contact the Aviso sales team for a demo and custom pricing quote.
Best for sales managers looking for a way to integrate powerful automation into their sales forecasting.
InsightSquared takes care of all the math and manual forecasting to free leadership up to concentrate on making informed sales decisions. The platform’s algorithms take a variety of concerns into consideration, including previous patterns, rep performance, sales pipeline, and average deal size, to get as accurate an estimate as possible. It also provides insights into closing rates, revenue forecasts, KPIs, marketing processes, and more. InsightSquared helps significantly improve the accuracy and ease of your sales forecasting.
Contact InsightSquared for flexible, role-based pricing based on you and your team’s needs.
Best for field sales teams who want not only powerful sales forecasting capabilities, but an all-in-one outside sales solution.
The ability to understand sales insights is as valuable as the insights themselves. Map My Customers helps leadership of field sales teams optimize forecasting efforts, identify critical locations for growth, and automate much of the day-to-day activities of outside sales reps (like route planning). Increase the accuracy of your sales forecast, get better insights into the challenging areas of your sales process, and pinpoint the most significant opportunities for growth with powerful mapping and reporting capabilities. For example, the revenue heat map helps you zero in on and predict the areas with the largest potential. With Map My Customers, you’ll gain valuable insights through clear and simplified views of all of the most critical sales data.
We help companies understand and work their territories better, enabling leadership to make more effective decisions and empowering reps to optimize sales revenue.
Personal = $60/month per user (billed monthly).
Team = $105/month per user (billed monthly).
Use Powerful Software to Upgrade Your Sales Forecasting Efforts
All of the options of software for sales forecasting that we’ve covered in this article can help you move away from the old-school method of using Excel spreadsheets and hoping for accurate forecasts. These tools let you view important sales data in one place, monitor pipeline activity, track progress towards sales goals, create custom reports, and more. All of which help significantly streamline and improve sales forecasting efforts.
Get started with one of the sales forecasting software options above today!