According to Gartner, 94% of Chief Sales Officers (CSOs) are not confident in their team’s ability to meet or exceed revenue goals, highlighting the need for new technologies that allow CSOs to accurately forecast. As organizations navigate digital transformation efforts, a key aspect of this journey is foregoing analog methods and investing in technologies that create competitive efficiency. In sales departments, intelligent forecasting tools are the latest digital transformation novelty as sales leaders adapt to shaky market conditions and redefine sales forecasting processes. Lucky for them, RevOps is here to help.
Introducing new technologies and platforms can cause friction between the sales and RevOps teams. To sales teams, RevOps and their new tools can resemble the new kid on the block with their shiny, new bike. On the flip side, RevOps teams may view sales teams as traditional and hesitant to change. However, there are steps organizations can take when implementing new tools to prevent and mitigate this tension.
Here’s what to keep in mind when implementing intelligent forecasting tools.
Break Down Communication Silos
Identifying and breaking down communication silos is an important first step. This encourages open lines of communication, which keeps teams on the same page from the start and promotes buy-in from the sales organization. Prior to implementing any new tool, RevOps teams must thoughtfully explain the necessity of new technologies and be prepared to support sales leaders with change management.
Feedback between the sales team and RevOps is an important aspect of open communication. While sales teams need to be open to change and recommendations from RevOps, the same principle applies to RevOps teams. With barriers broken down, the two teams can establish a genuine partnership and trust that decisions are made with the sales teams’ best interest in mind.
Paint A Picture With Forecasting Data
Once RevOps and the sales team have established a solid partnership, the next step is ensuring both teams understand the data they’re gaining from forecasting tools. Accurate forecasting software can serve as a single, centralized source of truth for data-backed insights into the business that helps all parts of the organization understand how the market is changing and where they need to pivot their strategy. Using AI-backed forecasting provides reps with greater transparency into their commission, pipeline hygiene, sales performance and quota. However, the tool and data are useless if sales reps don’t know how to leverage them for actionable insights.
RevOps teams need to work with sales teams to unpack and better understand the numbers, which is essential to extracting the full value of the solution. Once this is done, the two teams can work together to create better selling plans and ultimately land more valuable deals. In turn, these new plans, coupled with accurate commission predictions, motivate sellers to chase higher impact deals. This also provides organizational leaders with the information needed to determine if they’ll meet their goals or if a pivot in strategy is required. Adopting a data-driven approach provides reps with more effective and efficient sales messaging, helping to drive predictable revenue and meet forecasting goals with ease.
Coordinate Cross-Departmental Collaboration
The final step in unlocking the full value of an intelligent forecasting solution is encouraging and facilitating cross-departmental collaboration. RevOps teams interact with virtually every part of the business, creating a unique opportunity to bring more siloed teams together so no decisions are made in a vacuum.
Much of the data RevOps interprets goes well beyond sales insights. Using intelligent forecasting, RevOps leaders can gain insight into different departments and adjust their strategy to benefit cross-departmental efforts. For example, if RevOps sees a dip in win rates due to more deals being lost, they can work with lead gen to determine if there is a gap in their qualification process. These interactions drive higher quality pipeline for the sales team, leading to higher conversion rates, win rates and a more predictable and successful business.
As businesses continue to lean into digital transformation, RevOps leaders can be the catalyst for positive change by working with sales to implement AI-backed forecasting tools. Just like Plato’s Allegory of the Cave, sales teams are often focused solely on what’s in front of them and move through the sales cycle, unaware of the possibilities that exist with other solutions. They believe their tried-and-true processes are the only way forward.
RevOps can change perspectives and show the benefits of adopting new approaches to forecasting, bringing sales out of the forecasting Stone Age. While it may be a challenge to gain the trust of sales teams, doing so will vastly improve business processes and tap into markets that were previously unavailable due to a lack of data.
With a better understanding of customer data, breaking down harmful silos and creating a holistic approach to organizational strategy, roadblocks that once stood in the way of collaboration will fall to the wayside and organizations will prosper.
Bayley Fesler is Xactly’s Director of RevOps, while Annie Jones serves as the company’s RevOps Business Partner. Xactly is a provider of revenue solutions.