Monday, November 14, 2011

Sales Forecasting is Sunny with Cloud Computing

Everyone is happier when the clouds have broken and the sun begins to shine.  The same can be said for when business is on the rise.  Accurate sales forecasting is a crucial part of creating more business and understanding where, and how, the company is growing.  Yet this can often be a challenging task for most companies.  Cloud computing offers customer relationship management (CRM) platforms that can keep sales forecasting out of the shade – and into the sun.

Cloud computing
, although it sounds like something meteorologists might do, is actually a cost-effective and streamlined alternative to using traditional server-based software and business applications. Instead of buying software in boxes and installing it on every company computer, cloud computing allows you to plug into the cloud – a bank of Internet-based apps that can be customized – in order to perform all administrative, analytical and forecasting tasks.

Cloud-based platforms are easy to use, affordable options for both large and small companies.  Since no software or maintenance is required, implementing a CRM system for sales forecasting is simple.  All of the company’s applications and data are available, via the Internet, anywhere your staff can jump on-line – whether using a standard desktop Web browser or one in a mobile device such as a PDA. This can be especially useful in board meetings when important decisions are being made about the future of your company.

With cloud computing, all information is updated in real-time, and can be seen by the right people who need that information to make important business decisions. There’s no waiting around for reports to be submitted, results to be collated and analyzed, and new reports to be distributed.

Concrete sales forecasting provides a company with many advantages, such as calculating profits, estimating sales revenue, launching new goods and services and formulating marketing campaigns that effectively target the proper market.  Using the power of real-time data, companies have the flexibility to alter forecasts on an as-needed basis. The payoff is having more certainty in financial projections, improving decision making, and planning investments.  This invaluable knowledge not only makes business easier, but gives a company an edge over the competition.

Here are some ways sales forecasting can help your business:
  • View Sales: Sales can be viewed in a cloud-based CRM system, and sorted by timeline, manager, sales representative, territory, or product line.  Taking a closer look at the data by detail offers a comprehensive and informative view.
  • Tracking: Monitor competitors and perform win-loss analyses.  Also, cloud-based apps make it a breeze to track individual sales performances, such as quota requirements.
  • History: Maintaining a forecast history can demonstrate discrepancies in predictions made versus actual sales.  Seeing previous customer demand is also useful in understanding your customers’ needs.
  • Access:  Sales reports, graphics, and business accounts are all easily accessible with point-and click configuration. CRM applications that are Web-based can be customized so that the user’s interface is as friendly and easy to use as a Web site.
  • Analysis: Pipeline accuracy is when salespeople are meeting all opportunities and sales stages. This can be easily analyzed on the real-time basis offered by the cloud.
  • Management: Review your complete sales process from your dashboard, wherever you are and   spend less time gathering pipeline data or updates.
  • Override: Being able to override forecasts can provide more achievable goals.  Amounts, closing dates, and forecast categories can all be adjusted in response to market fluctuations.
The sales cloud can provide your company with the next generation of technology.  Cloud computing has the potential to help any company rise above its competitors and accurately predict future prosperity.  Sales forecasting is imperative for all business, and with the power of the cloud, sunny days can be enjoyed by all.