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Forecasting Methods: 7 Different Approaches to Predicting Revenue
The sales forecasting method you choose can greatly impact its value to your business. Learn the most common methods, their benefits, and how to pick the right one.
Sales reps only succeed when they take the right actions to close deals, yet for far too long they have lacked true visibility into the health of their deals and are forced to turn to intuition and guesswork to select the next best actions to take. Sales leaders and reps have to contend with disparate, dated sales technologies as they strive for an accurate understanding of their deals, pipeline, and forecast. CRM solutions provide a way to store data but rely on extensive tedious manual data entry from sales reps, often resulting in a “garbage-in garbage-out” situation that does not help reps or managers make confident decisions. Point solutions like conversation intelligence offer a way to record conversations and glean insights hours or days later, but at best they can tell what the reps’ next actions in other systems should be. All are failing to deliver deal observability. And none of them give real-time deal intelligence to sales reps and seamlessly automate the next actions all in one continuous experience. Until now, that is.
Today we are announcing AI-Guided Deal Intelligence — powered by sales-trained machine learning and real-time activities for critical deal health insight. At Outreach, we were the first to invest in AI to bring actionable insights to drive predictability in customer engagement. Sales leaders need revenue predictability from rich AI-driven data, real-time activities, and signals across the entire customer journey from a single source to move from risk identification into action. Companies using Outreach will quickly identify where teams need to engage to drive the most significant impact on revenue.
Sales leaders and reps can now get a true understanding of their deals, pipeline, and forecast to guide the right actions from a single solution. Outreach is the source of truth for deal health, connecting all aspects of deals with AI-driven data collection from real-time engagement to live meetings to dynamic mutual action plans, enabling revenue observability at every stage. These insights prompt the next best action for sales reps, which can be quickly acted upon from within the Outreach platform, saving sellers' time, expanding sales managers' visibility, and improving revenue predictability for sales leaders and CROs.
The Outreach Engagement & Intelligence Platform is the only system of action that manages each step in the deal lifecycle. The platform provides the most holistic and accurate view of deal health, identifying risks early and guiding the best actions, leading to faster deal cycles and more predictable revenue. A sales development rep warms up leads using sequences in Outreach to accelerate lead qualification and hands off warm leads to their account executive (AE). Once in the hands of the AE, a demo call is scheduled seamlessly using the integrated calendar and sent to the respective stakeholders.
Outreach Kaia, in real-time, assists the AE to position the product successfully, record the meeting, and take notes using the real-time transcription. All this is done while capturing bookmarks and action items during the call, thus increasing rep productivity by removing time-consuming non-selling tasks. After the call, Outreach Kaia also delivers an automated meeting summary, triggers the creation of an opportunity, and recommends a pre-built blueprint for a mutual action plan, known as Success Plans, between buyer and seller.
The Success Plan in Outreach is the only integrated mutual action plan that already has all the activity data to date associated with the deal, including the meeting notes and email exchanges. Combined with the power of AI-captured job titles and sentiment, Success Plans include all the people engaged in the deal on the buying team, along with the milestones, purchasing steps, and resources needed to collaborate on the deal going forward. Every new meeting booked, stakeholder introduced, and resource shared is automatically synced into the Success Plan.
Success Plans take the administrative tax off the seller and gives them more time to actively sell while ensuring accurate and timely data capture of granular buyer engagement. Each phase in the Success Plan is pre-configured and linked to a stage in the sales process under the hood. Gone are the days of sales leaders hounding reps for status updates — they are now updated and monitored automatically.
As the deal progresses, all engagement activity across the platform is captured and transformed through machine learning and AI into deal health insights from meetings, action items, sentiment, and customer engagements to guide reps on the actions they should take at each step to keep their deal on track. As revenue leaders view overall pipeline health, trends, and the team’s updated forecast in Outreach Commit, the health insights from the deal provide valuable context into whether this deal should be included in this quarter’s forecast and, if not, what actions would be necessary to get it back on track.
“Outreach has already demonstrated that by creating operational excellence with a system of action for prospecting, you can optimize your sales processes and qualify more deals, faster,” says Manny Medina, CEO of Outreach. “Outreach’s new AI-Guided Deal Intelligence demonstrates this again with the closing process — by centralizing the activity around a deal behind a single pane of glass, capturing accurate data and transforming it into deal health insights that drive actions, account executives are more equipped than ever to close more deals, faster, and sales managers, leaders and CROs can sleep soundly knowing they finally have a source of truth for deal health.”
Outreach is the only solution that captures all sales data, activities, and interactions from prospecting to revenue, providing complete revenue observability. CRM and conversation intelligence solutions cannot turn deal risk into impactful actions. Only customers of Outreach’s Engagement and Intelligence Platform can experience the benefits of deal intelligence linked directly to sales engagement, while also benefiting from Outreach Kaia for real-time meeting intelligence and Outreach Commit for revenue intelligence. To learn more about Outreach and how to get started, request a demo.