What is sales forecasting software?
Sales forecasting software is used by sales and revenue leaders to gain complete visibility into their sales pipeline and predict future revenue as accurately as possible. More modern forecasting tools use AI to provide insights and tips to help teams close more deals and hit their targets.
How Sales Forecasting Software Works
It’s hard to forecast when you are working inside a spreadsheet. Most of the time, your bias will get in the way of real accuracy. Many leaders then either miss their mark because they were overconfident or severely underestimate their team where they miss out on higher targets they could have hit.
Sales forecasting tools aid sales managers in managing current deals and spotting future opportunities through predictive analytics. Sales forecasting software can pretty accurately predict a company's future demand by analyzing historical data and the current sales pipeline. In short, it helps organizations anticipate their revenue and timing.
With a modern sales forecasting tool, you can measure and track the following metrics:
- Revenue Attainment
- Pipeline Coverage
- Best Case vs Commit
- Win Rates + Win Probability
- Deal Health
- Deal Activity & Engagement
- Length of Sales Cycles
- Team Performance
- And more.
Accurate sales forecasting can keep you from going after leads that aren't worth your time or prioritizing low-value deals. It can help anticipate demand, prevent mistakes or missing targets, and allow you to use your resources more wisely. When you've got a solid grip on how to get revenue through the door, you can make smarter moves, whether it's hiring, planning your budget, or expanding into new markets.
Where do you start when creating a revenue forecast?
Now how do you even come up with your targets? There are two strategies when it comes to first thinking about how you want to forecast revenue. Let's break down top-down and bottom-up forecasting.
Imagine you're planning a party. Now, with a top-down approach, you'd start from the big picture – let's say, "We need 10 pizzas for the party." You're setting an overall goal first, maybe based on past parties or how many people you’re having over. You look at the whole menu and say, "Okay, we need a bit of everything – pepperoni, veggie, margherita."
In the business world, top-down forecasting is kinda similar. Leadership set the sales target for the entire company. They decide, "Alright, we're aiming for $10 million in sales this year." Then the teams will break that top-level goal down later to figure out how to reach the overall northstar metric.
To find this goal, businesses will look outward and find the total size of the market (TAM) and estimate what percentage of the market they think they can capture based on current stage, competitive landscape, and team.
This method of forecasting is very common because organizations often need to achieve specific revenue goals to stay profitable or attract new rounds of financing.
Quick decision-making, good for setting overall targets.
Might miss details, lacks department-specific insights.
Now, let's switch to bottom-up forecasting, which is like building your party plan from the ground up. Instead of deciding on the total number of pizzas first, you ask the team members, "Hey, how many slices do you think you can eat?" Each team gives its estimate – sales, marketing, operations all chime in.
In the business realm, bottom-up forecasting starts with the nitty-gritty details. Each department or team provides their own sales forecasts based on their own knowledge and experience. So, the sales team might say, "We're aiming for $3 million," marketing chips in with "$2 million," and so on. You add up all these individual forecasts, and voilà – you've got the total sales forecast.
Detailed, captures insights from different teams, often more accurate.
Time-consuming, can be too detailed for some strategic decisions.
In reality, you’ll want to use a mix of both. Start with top-down to set the big goals, then switch to bottom-up to fine-tune the details.
The Best 7 Sales Forecasting Tools
Accurate revenue forecasting remains a real puzzle for businesses, and here is the shocking truth. A whopping 93% of sales leaders struggle to forecast revenue within a 5% margin even with a mere two weeks left in the quarter!
Technology can be the sidekick you need to tackle this challenge. Choosing the right forecasting tool, one that works with your team's workflows, fits your needs, and doesn't break the bank is the secret sauce.
So, let's take a fun ride through the top 7 sales forecasting tools that not only boost prediction accuracy but also optimize strategies, leading to the ultimate achievement of hitting those revenue targets.
Avoma's AI Forecasting Assistant gives sales leaders complete visibility into your deal pipeline and builds accurate revenue by marrying AI-powered insights from customer conversations with CRM data. Answering questions like 'How did we get this forecast?' and 'Can we hit the target?' This tool ensures accuracy and real-time validation. The Forecasting Assistant's dashboard allows close monitoring of team revenue attainment, prioritizing deals, identifying risks, and offering mitigation strategies.
Once your forecast is set, the dashboard becomes your sidekick. Avoma’s AI creates Deal Health Alerts by analyzing conversation sentiment, engagement, and activity across the deal. Reps commit deals to forecasts, making the process more accountable and accurate. The tool ensures up-to-date insights with automated CRM updates from every conversation, allowing reps to revise forecasts as deals progress.
No more guesswork – just clear insights to navigate sales complexities with confidence. Avoma's Forecasting Assistant empowers sales leaders to hit their targets with precision and ease. Say goodbye to traditional methods; it's time for a smarter, more efficient approach to revenue forecasting!
Revenue Forecast Submissions:
With Avoma, Revenue Forecast Submissions are effortlessly crafted using conversational intelligence. By committing the value of the most 'winnable' deals, sales and success leaders can validate forecasts, ensuring heightened revenue predictability for more effective planning.
Analyze the health of your pipeline and get insights into the percentage at 'High Risk' and tracking monthly changes in pipeline size. These reports deliver a detailed breakdown of weekly and monthly pipeline movement, empowering you to make informed decisions and optimize your forecasting strategy.
Monitor your team's revenue attainment across multiple pipelines. Track progress towards targets and proactively identify risks, providing the insights needed to mitigate challenges and ensure a more successful forecasting strategy.
Deal Health Alerts:
The Deal Health Alerts feature evaluates sentiments in customer conversations, generating positive or negative alerts. This helps sales and success reps objectively select winnable deals and ensures accurate forecast submissions.
Automated CRM Updates:
With automated CRM updates, Avoma ensures that details from every customer conversation are synced in real time. This feature guarantees that the CRM reflects the latest and most accurate insights, eliminating the risk of outdated information affecting forecasts.
AI Meeting Assistant:
Avoma captures, transcribes, and analyzes meetings, providing GTM leaders with insights into all customer-facing conversations. By automating tasks, generating AI notes synced to CRM, auto scoring conversations, and offering conversation and revenue insights, Avoma empowers sales and customer success teams to achieve targets and boost team productivity.
Avoma's Conversation Intelligence feature analyzes customer interactions across emails and meetings, offering AI-powered insights that go beyond traditional CRM data. This rich conversational data contributes to more accurate and nuanced forecasting.
Plans start at $19/user/mo. For forecasting features, you will need the business plan at $79/user/mo. No platform fees.
14 days free.
Clari is an AI-powered sales forecasting tool catering to B2B sales teams to build forecasts based on real-time data and predictive insights. The tool offers real-time visualizations, tracks forecast changes, and provides features for pipeline inspection, account engagement, CRM automation, and revenue intelligence.
To maximize precision, Clari recommends pairing with a CRM and sales automation platform. Clari’s platform emphasis is on clear and accurate predictions, facilitated by strong graphics and templates for straightforward reporting.
Clari utilizes AI insights to validate and enhance human intuition, allowing users to pressure-test their forecasts and gain precise insights into quarter-end expectations.
Beyond opportunities, Clari enables forecasting for various aspects such as accounts, pipeline generation, net new business, renewal, churn, cross-sell, and expansions, providing a comprehensive performance tracking against plans.
Clari empowers users to run numbers for diverse scenarios, allowing them to understand the impact on forecasts and validate predictions based on real data.
Users can analyze and break down forecasts by segments like geography, vertical, and product, facilitating a deeper understanding of business performance and enabling informed decision-making.
Clari offers insights into the true state of the pipeline, allowing users to understand transaction details, segment and territory coverage, and the required additional efforts to meet targets in both current and future quarters.
A quote is required but you can expect to pay around $80 to $120 per month/per user.
30 days but talking to sales is required.
BoostUp.ai uses AI forecasting to provide quick insights and trend analysis for data-driven sales decisions, and easily integrates with Salesforce. It uncovers conversational data from emails, calendars, and calls, enhancing forecasting, pipeline management, and win rates. The flexible data model allows easy customization, ensuring quick implementation and rapid adoption within days.
To understand pipeline health, BoostUp.ai also helps your team be more productive by providing engagement risk and forecasting risk scores to get ahead of risks to close more deals.
Leverage powerful AI capabilities for accurate sales forecasting and trend analysis within Salesforce.
Conversational Data Analysis:
Uncover insights from conversational, relationship, and engagement data extracted from emails, calendars, and calls to enhance forecasting and pipeline management.
Customizable Data Model:
Utilize a flexible data model that allows customization of business views, forecast roll-ups, rules, processes, reports, and deal configurations to match unique forecasting needs.
Access intuitive and interactive full-funnel BI reporting with a revenue-focused perspective. Utilize pre-built dashboards and customizable metrics for comprehensive analysis of pipeline health and key performance indicators like Pipeline Coverage Ratio, Quota Attainment, Slip Rate Trend, and Pipe Gen Gap to Target.
Forecasted deal risk reporting:
Identify potential slips and anticipate forecasted risks associated with deals, providing insights to manage potential challenges in the sales pipeline.
Forecast Management Dashboards:
Evaluate your team’s forecast accuracy throughout the quarter, assess individual deal predictions, and ensure adherence to submission and review processes with BoostUp.ai. Create detailed dashboards and reports for a comprehensive understanding of deal progression.
A quote is required.
No free trial.
Weflow streamlines sales forecasting by simplifying the submission, review, and tracking of changes in Salesforce. It supports collaborative forecasting, enhances Salesforce data hygiene, and automates syncing of sales activities for accurate and complete CRM data.
Weflow also offers features like bulk editing, deal alerts, and note templates to improve sales process adherence, resulting in more confident revenue predictions. Available as a Chrome extension and web app, Weflow ensures teams work with precision and efficiency in their sales forecasting efforts.
Collect regular sales forecasts from teams, setting deadlines, and creating snapshots for historical comparisons. Weflow streamlines this process, ensuring a synchronized and organized submission cadence for improved forecast accuracy.
Break down your sales pipeline into forecast categories, adjust fields with in-line editing, and see quota attainment by category using custom fields and flexible filters in Salesforce CRM.
Explore historical pipeline changes over 3, 6, and 12 months, tracking closures, losses, and other key metrics. Drill deep into individual rep, team, or organizational performance with the waterfall chart.
Understand your progress towards revenue goals by visualizing the optimal pace line. Filter and break down pacing charts by week, month, quarter, or year, and soon compare estimates with Weflow's AI projections.
Set up and manage quotas for your entire revenue organization by month, quarter, bi-annually, or year. Easily adjust and filter quotas for individual contributors, operating independently from Salesforce for added flexibility.
Salesforce Data Hygiene:
Weflow helps maintain clean and accurate Salesforce data by automatically syncing sales team activities, such as emails, calls, meetings, and tasks, ensuring better forecasting accuracy and pipeline visibility.
For sales forecasting, you will need the Growth plan for $59/mo per user. No platform fees.
Gong is an AI-driven conversation analytics platform for sales teams, focusing on improving performance. It records and transcribes sales conversations, utilizing AI to analyze interactions, identify trends, and offer feedback for enhanced sales strategies.
By pulling real-time interactions with leads, such as phone calls, emails, and contracts, Gong ensures a dynamic and up-to-date forecast. Utilizing AI, the platform analyzes this data, providing valuable insights and warnings for potential risks in the pipeline, including no activity, ghosting, and low contact numbers.
Gong's standout features include Deal Boards for easy monitoring of crucial deals, metrics, and insights, offering a customizable view of the pipeline.The platform, known for its intuitive dashboard, robust reporting, and powerful AI-driven analytics engine, simplifies tracking sales performance.
Analyzes and extracts valuable insights from sales calls, meetings, and customer interactions to improve communication strategies and sales team performance.
Utilizes AI for predictive forecasting, allowing sales teams to anticipate future outcomes and make accurate sales forecasts based on historical data and customer interactions.
Provides a comprehensive pipeline inspection feature for reviewing and assessing the health of the sales pipeline, identifying risks, bottlenecks, and areas for improvement.
Offers user-friendly executive dashboards that provide an informative overview of key sales metrics, performance indicators, and forecasted outcomes for strategic decision-making.
Facilitates streamlined roll-ups of data, offering a consolidated and organized view of sales activities, performance metrics, and insights across teams for effective management.
Deal Likelihood Scores:
AI assigns likelihood scores to deals, enabling teams to prioritize high-impact opportunities and enhance both manager capacity and sales rep performance. Workflows within a unified platform assist in dealing with risks and advancing pipeline progress.
A quote is required. You can expect to pay a platform fee of $5000 and around $130/user per month. 1 year contract required.
No free trial.
Mediafly (formerly InsightSquared)
After acquisition of InsightSquared, Mediafly now provides Mediafly Intelligence360, an AI-driven sales forecasting software that streamlines the process, eliminating the reliance on spreadsheets for predictive capabilities.
It allows teams to submit, review, and track forecasts effortlessly, incorporating machine learning-driven metrics for validation. The user-friendly interface automates submissions, enhances historical tracking, and provides actionable insights.
The user-friendly platform enables the creation of highly detailed reports, segmented by region, product, and line of business, providing a granular view of purchasing patterns. Users can delve into individual client behaviors and repeat purchases, facilitating the development of case-by-case forecasts.
Record, analyze, and easily coach customer-facing calls. Offering real-time insights from top performers, the tool automates conversation tracking and captures key details like competitive mentions and pricing within the context of other sales activities, providing a comprehensive 360º view for enhanced performance.
With revenue intelligence and forecasting, Intelligence360 provides a flexible, no-code solution that empowers your revenue team with real-time data and insights. From pipeline management to analytics and execution, take full control of your revenue journey for enhanced decision-making and success.
With real-time performance monitoring through robust revenue reporting, teams can spot trends, identify gaps, and make data-driven decisions to accelerate deal closures and shorten sales cycles. The on-demand reporting tools enable customization, allowing users to drill down into pipeline details and connect activities to crucial metrics like bookings, retention, and upsells.
Full Funnel Analytics:
Analyze marketing, sales, customer success KPIs with a single solution that drives alignment and optimization throughout every stage of the customer journey. With customizable metrics and reports, teams can focus on improvements, not spreadsheets, and stay agile in adapting to evolving market dynamics through Mediafly Revenue Intelligence.
Mediafly automatically captures key signals, utilizing a proprietary analysis to predict outcomes. Customized for specific needs, these scores offer targeted insights for every deal, guiding teams to allocate resources more effectively.
A quote is required.
Aviso is a sales-focused AI-powered solution that promises an impressive 98 percent accuracy in forecasting. Its unique approach combines human input with predictive sales forecasting.
Aviso's AI simplifies deal tracking, analyzes quarter-to-quarter progression, and ensures your forecast stays updated effortlessly. The platform automatically consolidates forecasts for each rep, category, and team, presenting best-case scenarios, most likely numbers, and pacing against the target. Real-time updates across all reports enhance the accuracy of your forecasts. Aviso automates data collection so you can focus on guiding your reps and minimizing risks in deals.
It's important to note that while Aviso is a valuable addition to your tech stack, it lacks built-in CRM capabilities.
Leveraging over 1000 signals, Aviso's Conversational Intelligence aids sales reps in effective calls, executing next-best-actions, and hastening deal closures.
Aviso's AI simplifies deal tracking, quarterly analysis, and forecast updates, enhancing accuracy and efficiency in revenue forecasting.
Deal and Pipeline Inspection:
Aviso offers 360-degree dashboards into pipeline development, health, and target fulfillment, enabling sales teams to focus on critical areas.
Aviso's AI identifies pipeline flux, highlighting causes for informed decisions and empowering teams to proactively address issues like deal slippage.
Providing actionable information for deal success, WinScore insights offer a concise understanding of WinScore, allowing sales teams to strategically prioritize, detect churn risks, and plan for optimal outcomes, gaining a winning edge.
A quote is required.
No free trial.
How to choose the best Forecasting Assistant for you
Effective and accurate sales forecasting is crucial for sales leaders to lock down, especially in this competitive, constricting market. Every deal, every dollar counts. Thanks to the magical blend of AI-powered tools and good ol' human insights, we're witnessing a game-changing shift in how organizations tackle forecasting.
Gaining a comprehensive view of your sales pipeline, crystal-clear predictions of future revenue could be the missing link to hitting your revenue targets – tools like Avoma, Clari, BoostUp.AI, WeFlow, Gong.io, Mediafly, and Aviso. With these advanced tools, businesses can make informed decisions, optimize strategies, and ultimately achieve their revenue goals with confidence and efficiency.
Finding the perfect forecasting tool for your team and business is the next step. Each organization is unique, and so are its needs. Take a cue from your team's workflow, align with your business goals, and consider factors like ease of use, customization, and pricing.
Whether it's the conversational magic of Avoma, the real-time insights of Clari, the quick AI-powered insights from BoostUp.AI, the streamlined simplicity of WeFlow, the analytical prowess of Gong.io, the comprehensive approach of Mediafly, or the accuracy of Aviso – there's a forecasting tool tailored for you.
So, explore, experiment, and discover the tool that not only predicts your revenue but also seamlessly fits into your team's dynamics. Here's to finding the forecasting companion that propels your business to new heights!