The 5 Teams to Include on Every Sales Forecasting Call

Most sales forecasting calls look and sound the same as they did 40 years ago. Your customer-facing sales reps sit around a table, or join a conference call, with their individual forecasts in hand, waiting to be grilled by their manager. However, in today’s digital age, your sales forecast is dependent on a number of factors that go beyond the opinions of individual salespeople. All teams with an influence on revenue should be involved.

If the effectiveness of your sales forecast calls has reached a plateau, you should consider taking a broader approach to forecasting. The goal of your forecast calls, today, may be to call a number and deliver some basic coaching to your reps, but once you include these five teams, you’ll turn it into a multi-team planning session.

Sales

Your sales team is a must-have inclusion on your sales forecasting call. They work on closing deals as part of their daily job duties, so they typically act as an excellent source of information for your forecast. During this call, their role is to discuss the details of deals that have closed, talk about how close other accounts are to moving into the closed columns and additional relevant details that can shape the forecast.

When you bring sales reps into your forecasting call, you also put their deals in the spotlight. You can cut down on your people bringing overly optimistic numbers into the meeting, as they need to justify how they came up with that figure and the likelihood of it closing.

Sales Operations

The sales operations team supports your efforts through data analysis, process evaluation and forecasting report creation. They have the necessary experience to understand the data-driven insights and put them together in a way that aids your forecasting efforts.

By bringing the sales operations team in on the forecasting call, they can offer details that either support or refute the points that the sales reps make on deal numbers. They also get input from other teams on the call so they can explore ways to improve the accuracy of the forecasts. For example, they might learn about a common thread connecting all of the “definitely closing soon” accounts that end up dwelling in the pipeline for far too long. They can use this first-hand knowledge to put together a model that accounts for this situation.

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Sales Development

The sales development team sits right in the middle of marketing and sales, bridging this gap by qualifying the leads, so they’re sales-ready. They do this by reaching out to the prospects sent over by the marketing team and learning whether they’re a good fit for your products. Their work allows sales reps to focus on the most productive and useful opportunities, rather than wasting their time sifting through a high quantity of mostly unqualified contacts.

The sales development team can report on the prospects that they’re adding to the pipeline for your sales team, learn about problems that happen further downstream so they can adjust their processes as needed, and give you insight into whether you have enough prospects coming in for a healthy pipeline.

Marketing

The marketing team has the first touch points with the customer in many cases. They give you an idea of the overall volume of interest that you have in your products, the type of companies and people responding to campaigns, the overall quality of lead generation and other data that indicates pipeline health.

The sales forecasting call gives marketing the chance to collaborate with the sales department, which is essential for optimizing your efforts. Marketing has the opportunity to handle a lot of pre-sales education and lead nurturing, so they need to know the weak spots in their current strategy.

If the sales team runs into similar problems with prospects that aren’t quite right for the product line, or they get feedback about the most exciting features, they can pass this information along to marketing. A close alignment between these two teams makes the entire sales cycle go smoother. They can also plan advertising campaigns around slow periods for the sales team, boosting their numbers and helping to keep the cash flow consistent.

Customer Success

The customer success team picks up after the deal is in the closed-won column. They need to know the new customer volume that’s coming in so they can allocate their resources appropriately. They also need to know about any customized deals or offers promised to the decision-makers when they made the purchase.
Coordinating with the other teams helps the customer success team produce a consistent experience. The new client’s onboarding goes exactly as promised by the sales team, so they get a great first impression. Nailing this part of the sales cycle is essential for improving the overall lifetime value of the customer and building more trust with your organization.

Other teams can also learn about the most common complaints that new and current customers have. Mismatched expectations, being sold the wrong product and getting overpromised features are a few issues that the customer success team has to deal with. You can discover problems during earlier phases of the buyer’s journey to determine how to stop this from happening in the future.

You don’t have to put your sales forecast together on an island. Bring in these five teams to get a crystal clear picture of your pipeline, current and upcoming deals, the prospects getting added shortly and other details that turn your sales forecast into an accurate prediction. Once you get into the routine of consulting them on every forecasting call, you’ll wonder why you didn’t think of this before.

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