In June we officially launched the SAP Sales Cloud with the premise that we need a revolution in how we view CRM in order to deliver more ROI to customers (see CRM is Dead, Long Live CRM).
In short, traditional CRM needs to fit more tightly into the broader sales process and encapsulate the ease-of-use that consumers associate with the Amazon sales experience. It also needs AI to connect disparate sales data and deliver intelligent recommendations that help sales organizations gain a competitive advantage.
Forecasting and pipeline management are perfect places to start this return to value.
If you manage a sales team right now, you know that effective pipeline management is key to delivering a good quarter.
But it’s also a place where many organizations fall down.
Relying on traditional, legacy CRM technology does not solve this problem. Expecting sales reps to manually input data results in outdated or inaccurate opportunity information. According to CSO Insights, 47% of salespeople are too subjective when selecting a pipeline stage and value. Too many sales reps either withhold information, are too optimistic, or are overly pessimistic.
Many sales managers know this, of course, but don’t have enough hours in the day to go beyond the CRM, inspecting every deal and joining every sales call. Instead, they turn to lengthy forecasting calls or unpleasant rep interrogations to attempt to get the true story on the forecast, creating an unpleasant work environment.
Forecasting is also tied intimately to pipeline transparency. If you aren’t sure whether a deal is going to close and at what amount, your total forecast, the sum of all committed deals, will miss the mark.
Our approach, with SAP Sales Cloud, is to connect all of your sales data, inside and out of CRM, employing AI purposefully to get an accurate picture of your relationships, pipeline, and forecast.
Our Datahug pipeline management solution monitors CRM deals and correlates relationships, deal activity, and other engagement metrics taking place outside of CRM. Through AI models, we generate a deal score, flag deals that are in trouble, and prescribe actions to advance deals forward. This is all automated without asking reps to log every phone call, email, and meeting.
Pipeline management becomes more transparent and sales managers can take prescriptive action with their limited time coaching reps, rescuing deals, or laying the groundwork to have them close in the next quarter. Sales reps trust the sales process and enjoy an improved sales experience.
Forecasting becomes more accurate. In fact, customers note it is “scarily accurate.” Intelligent forecasts predict which sales reps are too ambitious with their close date or deal amounts and highlights who lacks pipeline to hit their number.
Accurate sales forecasts benefits finance, operations, business planning, and even supply channel management.
When your forecasts are accurate, pipeline transparent, and sales reps are focused on the right activity, your CRM ROI goes through the roof!
Learn more about forecasting and pipeline management here, "How to Achieve Predictable Revenue Growth with a Winning Forecasting Strategy."