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How CRM Tools Change the Game for Sales Forecasting

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Everyone knows that using a CRM can enhance customer relationships with businesses and help to assemble and run reports that are useful to gauge a variety of metrics.

And?

If you’ve ever found yourself sidestepping your company’s CRM tool in favor of more traditional (read "antiquated”) reporting and updating methods, you aren’t seeing the total picture.  Put plainly, a good CRM tool can help sales forecast more accurately than before and will enhance sales productivity.  Here’s how:

Help facilitate accurate forecasting

The things that impact an accurate forecast (over-exaggerated timelines and sales, minimal data about the opportunity, and other forecasting no-nos) are removed from the picture when a CRM tool is used properly.  By changing the sales rep to CRM relationship to entering data in the tool to a sales rep and manager view, the responsibility of keeping the opportunities realistic is not only ascribed to the sales rep – it is also part of the manager's duties.  This means that more one-on-one discussions will be held to talk about the viability of the deal, what can be done to assist, and how other team members can be leveraged.  A CRM tool can also send out automated alerts to make the sales rep and manager aware of milestones that are approaching.  More diagnostic reports can be run against this real data that can be used to forecast deals as opposed to the current model.

Enhance Sales Productivity

Accurate data in the CRM tool means accurate reporting.  That reporting goes beyond showing what an individual has in their pipeline, or even the total deals from a specific team.  Accurate data allows sales management to look at the deals coming in and make strategic decisions such as determining what deal has the most probability of closing and when and what discount percentage can be applied to which deal to bring it in.  This capability puts sales in a unique position to posit “if/then” statements, lay out what is coming down the pipe in the next 6 to 12 months, and base positions on logical results from past and current data.  It’s a revolutionary way to conduct sales and affects the bottom line directly.

All of this, and the fact that CRM tools can do this on mobile devices so decisions can be made on the go hasn’t even been mentioned yet!

CRM tools change the game.  Human emotion is taken out of the equation, unless you want it to be there.  In doing so, the integrity of the pipeline is preserved and management has a clear picture of what is coming in and on what areas they should focus.

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By Socius, a CRM Partner in Ohio and Kansas (www.socius1.com)

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