Introducing AI-Backed Sales Forecasting: 3 Tips to Align RevOps and Sales Ahead of Implementation

By Bayley Fesler, Director of RevOps and Annie Jones, RevOps Business Partner, Xactly Corp

Sales forecasting is critical to every organization’s success, yet only 6% of Chief Sales Officers (CSOs) are extremely confident in their team’s ability to meet or exceed revenue goals. In today’s digital-first world, traditional methods like spreadsheets and homegrown systems no longer cut it. When sales wins, the entire organization wins, but this cannot happen without strong sales forecasting practices. To ensure this, smart leaders are investing in AI-backed sales forecasting solutions.

As organizations adopt these solutions, RevOps teams must work with sales teams to improve strategies and processes, which is key for confident sales forecasting. If you are a sales or revenue leader looking to invest in AI forecasting, follow these three tips to enhance the relationship between RevOps and sales so your organization can get the most out of its investment.

Establish Transparency and Open Communication

Transparent, thoughtful communication is imperative when implementing any change within an organization. Introducing new technology without first ensuring that the end users understand why it will help them and how they should use it will render the technology useless. It can also cause confusion and a sense of distrust between the implementation team and the end users. If a RevOps team suddenly introduced a new forecasting tool without properly communicating the purpose and benefit of the tool with sales, it would derail the sales team’s ability to effectively run their business. However, when RevOps teams map out a thoughtful implementation process that causes as little disruption as possible and clearly communicates the value of this new technology, they are more likely to experience a seamless transition and get buy-in from the sales team.

In addition, it’s important for RevOps to take a collaborative approach when implementing a new solution. There is an incredible amount of value to be gained from listening to the sales team’s  perspectives and experience working with the technology, and the two teams should regularly come  together to identify what is and isn’t working in their forecasting process. RevOps must be willing to pivot from their original approach when necessary to ensure they make the technology work for their business. Likewise, sales leadership should be involved and encourage teamwork with RevOps.

At the end of the day, both teams are working toward the same goal: to grow the business. By working together, RevOps and sales can create solutions that work best for their business that will ultimately help them close more deals, and increase sales cycle velocity.

Use Data to Create a Narrative

Smart sales teams are constantly analyzing sales data. With 8 in 10 business leaders stating that data is crucial to decision-making at their organization, AI-backed forecasting solutions can provide the actionable insights needed to make the right decisions for their company.  But not all sales leaders know how to translate data into actionable steps. That’s where RevOps comes in. RevOps takes data and uses it to tell a story about the business. A win rate is just a number, but looking at a win rate by deal type helps sales teams forecast how much revenue they can expect from existing customers vs. new customers. This, in turn, helps sales leaders identify what part of their business needs attention.

RevOps teams have the opportunity to work in tandem with sales to unpack the data and transform numbers into a strategic approach to close deals. Once sales teams understand the value, consistently experience better deal cycles and see an increase in commission, any hesitation toward adopting the solution will fade.

Read More: SalesTechStar Interview With Scott Kolman, CMO At Cresta

Supercharging Cross-Functional Collaboration

A sales team cannot exist in a silo. Stakeholders from across the organization should be included in the forecasting process so everyone can capitalize on data from other departments. With this in mind, RevOps teams have a unique opportunity to amplify their holistic view of an organization and leverage different departments throughout the sales cycle.

For example, regularly interacting with marketing and finance provides RevOps valuable insight on trends or economic factors that they can share with sales. This helps sales be strategic in how they approach certain buyers and works both ways. RevOps can provide marketing with feedback from sales and insight from forecasting solutions that can inform marketing campaigns and introduce ideas to attract net-new customers.

Collaborating with cross-functional teams also helps remove barriers that slow down the sales process. If RevOps notices that deals are getting stuck at a certain point in the sales cycle, they can tap into different parts of the organization to discover why. Is there an issue with the handoff process between Lead Gen and Sales? Is there a bug in the CRM that needs fixing? If everyone is part of the conversation, resolving barriers becomes easy and efficient.

Aligning sales and marketing teams creates a cohesive go-to-market approach while still allowing each team to focus on their specific initiatives. Leveraging intelligent forecasting tools lets both teams  collaborate through digital channels and act on the shared insight. This cross-functional communication provides a boost to both team’s results, leaving each party satisfied with their RevOps partners.

When Sales Wins, We All Win

Introducing AI-backed forecasting solutions into an organization doesn’t have to be a contentious process, and following these tips sets up a successful transition. Creating a strong foundation between RevOps and sales will serve as a catalyst for increased performance and high return on investment.

By bringing teams together through innovative technology and collaborative methods, your business holds a higher chance of growing into a profitable organization. If you’re considering ways to strengthen your sales forecasting, remind yourself: when sales win, we all win.

Read More: Half of All Salespeople Fail to Follow Up – and It Costs Companies Millions

About the authors of this article:

This guest article was authored by Bayley Fesler, Director of RevOps and Annie Jones, RevOps Business Partner, Xactly Corp


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