Predictive Analytics and Sales Forecasting: The Latest Power Couple

j03879385 150x150 photo (predictive analytics)

j03879385 150x150 photo (predictive analytics)

“To maintain a competitive position in the market, companies are turning to sales analytics solutions that provide an enterprise-wide data flow into the forecasting process,” concludes a new research report from the Aberdeen Group.  The report finds that well-executed sales analytics can assist the business by “creating more refined snapshot of future revenue and empowering more efficient, margin-driven sales activity, as well as more pure selling time by the sales team itself.” 

While the use of sales intelligence (SI) solutions has been increasing over the past few years (especially in the B2B space), the focus has been on pushing actionable information directly into the sales organization.  With a faster, fatter information pipeline, plus automated triggers, it’s easier to identify prospects at just the right time—and there are increased opportunities for up-selling and cross-selling, based on an enhanced view of the customer.

So business intelligence is alive and well in the sales arena.  But the integration of predictive analytics with sales forecasting has been slower to penetrate, perhaps because many organizations just don’t have the necessary tools in place.  The power of sales analytics is based on drawing data from many parts of the enterprise and on providing easy, intuitive access to the data across a broad group of stakeholders.  Without the right technology, the production of meaningful sales forecasts may be so time-consuming that the value is lost.  And without the capability to roll up data to executive dashboards, sales forecasting becomes a tactical exercise instead of a strategic initiative.

The Aberdeen report (based on a survey of 422 broadly representative enterprises) found that 65% of its Best-in-Class respondents had in place “customized data integration between sales and other information silos that requires little or no support from IT.”  Compare that figure to 45% of the Industry Average Group, and just 28% of Laggards.  Similarly, 81% of top performing companies had CRM/SFA dashboards that integrate goal vs. actual sales forecast data—compared to 47% of the average group, and 37% of the lowest performers.

There’s much more food for thought in the Aberdeen report.  Access is complimentary until August 27, so take a look!  And for more about sales analytics, TIBCO Spotfire has a webinar available on demand.

Spotfire Blogging Team

Image Credit: Microsoft Office Clip Art