Sales forecasting challenges loom large over any effort to predict revenue. These challenges make perfect sense: Sales is a tricky business to learn and even more challenging to master. Several variables and difficulties increase the challenge of identifying clients and getting them from the top of your sales funnel to a completed sale. However, with the proper training and technology, you can learn how to overcome challenges in sales and master the difficulties of sales forecasting.
What Are the Challenges Faced in Sales?
Challenges in sales are everywhere, and there is no doubt that you have discovered what challenges your business the most. However, a few challenges are particularly unique to this industry and seem to transcend sales in general, regardless of the industry type. These challenges are universal, but so are their solutions.
Many businesses have found that what challenges them the most about sales is not just closing deals but building a solid pipeline of prospective leads. Companies must create a solid community presence, meet new prospective clients, and bring those clients through their sales pipeline.
A robust online presence can help address these issues. With the right CRM, you can create an automated system that gains clients by building trust and giving them free information. In so doing, you can demonstrate your expertise and begin a conversation that turns into a sale. To develop this system, you must create a sales pipeline and develop a streamlined sales process that serves your company’s needs.
Marketing, sales, and finance often exist in separate universes: What one team does, the other doesn’t know—and doesn’t care. This lack of integration creates significant challenges: You must fully integrate all company departments to develop a robust and functional organization.
De-siloing data and personnel requires a conscious effort. First, you and your business must engage in robust training and create a company culture that ensures these departments talk to each other. Second, you need the right technology. All departments should use the same data as a single source of truth. They should all be able to access the same data sets and update information in real-time and within their CRM system. These technological upgrades can allow you to increase sales and better manage sales forecasting variables.
It’s happened to every sales team: You call. You Email. You send a LinkedIn message. And yet…nothing. The client has gone dead. You haven’t even necessarily lost the deal; you can’t get a response.
Getting a call back requires patience, multiple touches, and data on the best communication method for a specific client. You can determine what communication tools work and what don’t by tracking your messages and the communication platforms you use to get an answer. You can also automate this process, create specific landing pages, and allow tools like Salesforce to give you better insight into what information may work best for this client.
Price adjustments are among the most significant challenges in sales that businesses face. Sometimes, these concerns are legitimate and based on client-specific difficulties. Other times, a client is trying to shake you down for a better deal.
Either way, you have prepared to manage price concerns. Your challenge will be understanding the nature of a client’s objective and identifying a client-based solution. You can only develop an appropriate response if you have the right technological tools to give you the insight you need to create a proper plan. Once you have that information, you can set specific approaches to manage a client’s concern.
The challenges and limits of sales forecasting can impact the accuracy of your sales forecasts. Learning how to overcome challenges in sales is often a matter of having the proper training and technological tools.
One of the most significant difficulties of sales forecasting is the use of subjective information. Many sales professionals don’t have the training, tools or data at their fingertips to make educated estimations about a sales forecast. The difficulty of making a sales forecast with subjective information can expand sales challenges. For example, if asked about revenue growth, a sales team may estimate one number, even though objective data may indicate a different number is more appropriate.
When trying to determine how to overcome challenges in sales forecasting, your team must understand the tools and methodologies you can deploy. Sales forecasting should be data-driven. Therefore, your business needs to deploy technological tools that integrate data and ensure that CRO, sales, and finance offices understand what inputs can impact sales forecasting accuracy. The advent of more advanced technological mediums—including sales forecasting AI—can help make this process more accurate.
No industry is immune from the general movement of the economy. As a result, economic growth, inflation, labor supply, and supply-chain stability are among the more critical difficulties of sales forecasting.
Your business must focus on this broader financial picture when making sales forecasts. You should also identify potential opportunities within this space. For example, suppose your sales forecasts indicate that supply-chain stability may be problematic in the future. In that case, it is worth asking about alternative supply-chain links or how you can place orders early to avoid future problems.
Above all, you must train your team to consider these broader factors. Your CRO should understand how these issues may impact profitability and work with the CFO to ensure your sales forecast accuracy.
Each industry has different conditions that can enhance sales forecasting challenges. Changing government regulations, international conflict, or even something as simple as local infrastructure can make or break a forecast.
Your team must monitor these changes locally, statewide, and nationally. You should feed these changes into the CRM or prediction tool you use. AI sales forecasting can better manage this information and show how these tools may impact your sales forecasts.
There are almost always internal conditions that impact your sales forecasting. Such factors can include:
- Level of training that staff has in forecasting
- Technological tools available
- Integration of data and information between various sales departments
- Retention levels of staff
Addressing and improving any of these areas can reduce the difficulties of sales forecasting, better control sales forecasting variables, and improve the overall accuracy of your sales forecasts.
Numerous factors can impact the accuracy of sales forecasting. The good news is that you can develop strategies to help mitigate the negative impact of these sales forecasting variables.
You can’t expect your team to develop a sales forecast without providing them with information on how to do so. Unfortunately, employees are often so locked in on accomplishing other objectives—like expense management or enhancing their sales pipeline—that they miss the importance of sales forecasting.
Your business must provide training on creating and managing accurate sales forecasts. You also must ensure that you update these forecasts to reflect changing conditions.
Imagine this: Your CRO office knows that supply change challenges will increase expenses and necessitate the need for price increases. These increases will need to occur over the next few months. Imagine that your sales team doesn’t have access to this data and continues its current pricing strategy.
You cannot ask what the challenges faced in sales are and expect to get an understandable answer without ensuring your entire team has access to the data it needs. As such, you have to ensure that all team members have access to the same data and that this data is used to create the most accurate sales forecasts.
You can only be successful in sales forecasting, overcoming sales challenges, and building a sales pipeline if you have the right technology. You need a platform within Salesforce that can bring all departments together, ensure everyone is operating from the same data, and provide up-to-the-second analytics. Your technological tools should empower your sales and revenue teams to work hand-in-hand and grow your revenue through data. It should also enable the creation of predictable and accurate forecasts.
The question, “What are the challenges faced in sales?” should not paralyze any business. As such, we have developed a tool that operates within Salesforce. Next Quarter can help your business overcome the difficulties of sales forecasting and better manage sales forecasting variables. As the world’s first AI-based forecasting sales system, we can help you close deals faster, meet your quota, and identify key decision-makers within a company. In addition, we can help you overcome the various challenges faced in sales and improve your forecasting model’s accuracy by 97 percent.
Want more information? Contact Next Quarter today to schedule a demo and learn how we can help your business grow and thrive.