Navigating Change: How to Use Your CRM for Sales Forecasting and Pipeline Management

Your sales pipeline is constantly changing—new leads are scored and added, opportunities are being moved from one stage to the next, deals are closed, etc.—all of which could happen in a matter of days or weeks. If you’re not paying close attention, your pipeline can start to snowball out of control, which could start to erode your sales processes and lead to lost revenue.

To avoid this, you need to maintain your sales pipeline and address any roadblocks to keep leads moving through it efficiently. This can be achieved by making sure that you’re keeping details up to date on every single lead or opportunity.

Tracking Pipeline Changes

A recent report from CSO Insights found that “executives are under more pressure than ever to understand the pulse of their business”—and at the heart of most businesses is the sales pipeline. To combat heightened expectations, leaders must be able to granularly track and monitor every dollar coming in and out of the sales pipeline.

Here at SugarCRM, we’ve created a new Sugar Sell Premier feature to help reps do just that. To better understand the full capabilities of this new feature, I spoke with Ellen True, Sr Director of Product Management. During that conversation, Ellen and I discussed how reps could use Sugar Sell Premier to regularly review their sales pipeline to make sure things are finely-tuned and highly optimized. This helps reps to ensure that at the end of the day, every sales activity they do is aligned and laser-focused and helps move customers to the next stage.

Here is a view of my pipeline from the past seven days. As you can see a lot of things have happened in the past week, which are segmented here in these colored-coded buckets. This is a flexible visualization of my current and forecasted pipeline. It’s not just answering that top level question, but helping me to understand what’s going on in my pipe at any level for my organization and for any quarter that I want to pick.” – Ellen True, Sr Director of Product Management, SugarCRM

5 Key Functionalities Your CRM Must Have to Manage Change

A healthy sales pipeline is the beating heart of any sales organization. Without it, your sales teams could suffer from a myriad of issues, such as poor conversion and close rates, longer than normal sales cycles, or inaccurate sales forecasts based on outdated data.

Improving pipeline management, specifically through software and other digital tools, is crucial to any business’s success and growth. Sell offers a comprehensive sales automation solution, delivered on SugarCloud, and includes the following capabilities:

  1. Lead, Opportunity, Account, Activity, and Contact Management.
    • This helps you to focus on the right leads and opportunities. Give everyone in the organization complete context for each customer interaction and insight into what to do next.
  1. Account, Contact, Lead, and Opportunity Management
    • Get a 360-degree view of everything happening with your leads, opportunities, and customer accounts.
  1. Intelligent Lead Prioritization
    • Prioritize leads based on AI-powered predictive lead-conversion scores. Leverage insights from matching lead profiles to accelerate conversion.
  1. Predictive Forecasting
    • Predict future outcomes by leveraging time-aware data. Guide your sellers towards needed action with advanced visualizations, notifications, and automatic alerts.
  1. Pipeline and Revenue Optimization
    • Uncover changes and emerging trends across all opportunities to optimize pipeline performance and revenue attainment. Get immediate visibility into changing business conditions without manually poring over dozens of reports, dashboards, and spreadsheets.

CRM systems, along with intelligent sales forecasting technology, provide organizations with data-driven insights about their pipeline, often using AI and automation to provide them at scale. These tools should be used to help inform your sales pipeline analysis and optimization, particularly to automate reporting and ensure maximum accuracy. Take time every week to review these metrics and assess how you’re doing. You can use a CRM platform to help you keep on top of these metrics.

Gain a New Level of Visibility into the Business

Sugar Sell Premier includes several features that enhance sales forecasting and pipeline management functionalities for you and your team. With it, sales users can enjoy all the benefits of a typical CRM, plus:

  • Automated and predictable forecasting with powerful AI guidance for better decision-making
  • Powerful process management and standardization across business units and geographies
  • Data enrichment with the click of a button
  • Holistic insights into trends with your pipeline, quota, and attainment
  • Hassle-free scheduling for meetings without jumping through tools
  • Easy territory routing or making the most of your next business visit

Because of the new additions to the Sugar Platform offerings, Sugar Sell Premier customers are able to drive revenue, increase efficiency, reduce sales costs and deliver unmatched customer buying experiences.

If you’re interested in learning more about Sell Premier and understanding how your business could let the platform do the work, contact us today. If you’re a Sugar customer, we encourage you to work with your Sugar representative to understand what it would take for a nominal uplift to Sell Premier.

  • predictive forecasting
  • sales pipeline
  • Sell Premier
About the Contributor
James Harper
James Harper James is a results-driven B2B product marketing manager with over twelve years of experience in the IT software, hardware, SaaS, and services space. He has successfully launched new products, sales enablement programs, partner/channel incentives, and global marketing campaigns and is a passionate customer advocate.