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The Future of Forecasting and the Next Generation of Revenue Management

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Michael Lowe
Director, Brand and Content Marketing

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“The revenue operations movement has begun.”

So says Andy Byrne, Clari’s founder and CEO, who discussed the future of forecasting and predictable revenue during his keynote presentation with Clari’s Chief Revenue Officer, Kevin Knieriem. 

Revenue isn’t just an outcome. It’s a business process that can be measured and optimized through Revenue Operations. Revenue operations drives transparency and accountability for the entire revenue team, including sales, marketing, and customer success, bringing visibility and execution rigor from the board room to the front line. 

This shared consciousness is what allows best-in-class sales teams to operationalize growth at scale and drive predictable revenue.

“Forward-thinking leaders are embracing this idea of revenue operations,” Byrne says. “The next generation of sellers will always know what it’s like to call their number with confidence—and hit it.”

What is Revenue Forecasting?

Revenue forecasting is the process of estimating how much money your business will bring in within a defined time period—usually monthly, quarterly, or annually. Revenue forecasts represent projected income from teams including sales, marketing, and customer success, and your forecast is generated using current and historical data. Effective revenue forecasting can help you set your budget and realistically plan for the future.

Out With the Old Revenue Forecasting Methods

Previously, executives relied on spreadsheets that needed to be manually stitched together by dozens of analysts in order to track sales and roll up their numbers. Gathering data in spreadsheets, which are quickly out of date and prone to human error, results in incomplete and outdated data, inefficient teams, and, ultimately, unpredictable revenue. 

According to Gartner, “55% of sales leaders and 57% of quota-carrying sellers don’t have confidence in their forecast accuracy.”

Further, this kind of fragmented forecasting pushes sales leaders to make reactive decisions, instead of enabling them to lead proactively. Trying to catch up from behind can stress an organization, which contributes to executive churn, team turnover, and missed opportunities that can amount to billions of dollars left on the table. 

The Rise of RevOps

A new way to approach forecasting and revenue solves these problems: Revenue Operations

Gone are the days of manual spreadsheeting, stale data, and departmental silos, Byrne and Knieriem say. Using artificial intelligence and machine learning, revenue operations teams employ tools like Clari to pull all activity data together into a single source of truth, in real time, resulting in exceptionally accurate sales forecasting and unprecedented revenue predictability.

For example, Clari’s platform combines execution insights, time-series data, forecasting workflows, and AI-based projections to give revenue teams the ability to forecast for:

  • Opportunities and accounts
  • Current quarter and future quarter
  • Pipeline, new business, and renewals
  • High velocity and solution selling
  • Product line and vertical solutions

This allows revenue teams to deliver predictable revenue across every geography, vertical, product line, and segment of their business. 

“When we’re talking about the future of forecasting, we’re not just talking about the sales team,” says Kyle Coleman, the Vice President of Revenue Growth and Enablement at Clari. “The best marketers know that their jobs are not just about creating leads and meetings, but also creating viable opportunities that turn into real revenue. Clari gives unprecedented insight, transparency, and accountability from the boardroom to front line and across the entire revenue team.”

How RevOps Turbocharges Your Forecast—And Business

When done right, RevOps can lead companies to call their numbers within 4% of their week one forecast, grow 12-15% faster than their peers, and become 34% more profitable at scale. 

The Boston Consulting Group has found that coalescing around revenue operations produces more than 100% increases in digital marketing ROI, 10% increases in lead acceptance, and 30% reductions in GTM expenses.

“This exciting time in the history of sales has bred stronger, faster, smarter sellers who are shaping the future of the revenue operations movement,” Byrne says. 

Clari just raised $150 million in a Series E funding round, as investors including Silver Lake, B Capital, Bain, and Sapphire see the value in investing in the Revenue Operations movement.

Read more: 

Bringing Revenue Operations to Every Business

Sales Forecasting: The Heartbeat of Your Revenue Operation

5 Myths Around Artificial Intelligence in Sales Forecasting