Contributed guest post from Clari customer, Lee Wright, VP WW Sales Ops at comScore, Inc.
A sales forecast is only as good as the data it's fed. Yes, the old axiom "garbage in, garbage out" also applies to calling your number.
When certain data is omitted, flawed numbers are factored into the forecast, or the data is overall stale, the margin of error increases—and that can have serious implications when making business decisions.
At comScore, we recently discovered that our CRM and forecasting solution wasn't collecting and analyzing all of the data we needed to get a complete and accurate read on the quarter. To compensate, we spent hours building out spreadsheets and manually analyzing pipeline and historical trends. It was not only time-consuming, but ultimately a futile exercise because manipulating static data tends to yield stale insights. Furthermore, there were several factors and trends that required deeper analysis and were even more time-consuming. That's no longer the case.
Five months ago, we switched to Clari, a sales and forecasting tool, and it has completely changed the way we forecast. Here are five ways Clari has helped streamline our sales process and improved our accuracy exponentially:
1. Now We Forecast Based on Powerful Predictive Analytics
Before Clari, we used a standard percentage-based sales forecast model. Now, we look at each deal with a quarter view designation, deal stage, and other Clari insights. Because Clari surfaces predictive insights, coverage, pipeline, and business-unit level sales forecasting metrics, we can confidently look beyond our current state and well into the future. Clari has given us more confidence in looking at a rolling forecast to help mitigate risk.
2. Our Process Is More Consistent Across the Organization
With intuitive visualizations that track rep data in the same way across teams, Clari allows our sales leaders to follow a consistent process when rolling up their number. Additionally, Clari has enabled us to streamline our sales forecast calls and focus our meetings on our weekly and quarterly goals instead of trying to get everyone on the same page.
3. We've Eliminated Hours of Weekly Spreadsheet Calisthenics
Prior to Clari, we had CRM and other software in place to help us forecast, but it still required Excel gymnastics. Now, Clari dashboards and reports display all of our sales analytics and insights in easy-to-understand visuals, enabling us to finally jettison the spreadsheets once and for all. This saves hours and hours a week! It also allows us to recognize other patterns and trends that we weren't able to track before, so we're actually getting more insights.
4. We Know What Our AEs Are Doing and Where We Should Focus Their Time
We now have clear visuals on what has changed in the pipe. Clari automatically harvests data from multiple sources that allows us to capture rep callouts and overrides to easily track accuracy. Clari makes it easier to spot inconsistencies, identify error metrics, and run regression analysis. We can now run our pipe calls and 1:1s right from Clari. The best part is that the reps didn't have to change their behavior to adjust to the new system. There are no additional clicks to slow them down.
5. We're Allocating More Hours to Sales Strategy
Now we have more time to really strategize with reps so that we can close more deals faster. Additionally, information that we didn't have before is now at our fingertips so we can get answers about last quarter's performance and other key data points in a matter of seconds—answers that would have taken hours or days to garner historically. Other tools we tried simply didn't provide the same dashboard insights or ease of use, plus everything needed to be customized. By contrast, Clari was ready to use out of the box and we were up and running in several weeks, not months.
Every business can benefit from a more educated and data-driven approach. If you're evaluating a forecasting tool or looking for ways to improve your sales forecast, I recommend you try Clari. It will give your team a more accurate picture of the current and future state of your business and drive organizational alignment to reach your company's revenue goals.