Enhanced Forecasting: The Time-Aware CRM Tool Your Business Needs
Without getting too deep into the laws of physics and complex science, Einstein demonstrated that the speed of light within a vacuum is the same no matter what speed an observer travels. His conclusion, then, is that space and time are interrelated on a single continuum, which is known as space-time. To put this as simply as possible, this means that events that occur at one time for one observer could theoretically happen at a different time for another observer.
Time, as a concept, is an essential factor for managing our personal needs in everyday life. It enables us to set and keep appointments, alerts us to when we should eat, and even dictates our wake/sleep patterns.
Time is also crucially important for business. It’s an investment in a company’s product, its employees, and of course, its customers. Because of that, it’s important to know where a business’ time is best allocated — and this requires data.
The Importance of Data in a Business
Data is incredibly important for businesses, and over the years, many companies have essentially become data warehouses. Data can help businesses:
- Make better decisions about finding new customers, increasing customer retention, and tracking social media interaction, to name a few.
- Solve problems. If, for example, a marketing campaign didn’t perform as expected, data can help you pinpoint what went wrong.
- Visualize performance. Data helps you see how different departments within the company are doing, such as whether quarterly goals are being met, how marketing efforts are performing if inventory is keeping pace with orders, and a number of customer service metrics.
- Know your customers. Data tells you who your customers are, whether they like your products, and if your marketing campaigns are effective.
Most of the time, unfortunately, this data sits in a business system — raw, unprocessed, and unanalyzed. In order to extract meaningful information from this data, specialized staff of individuals who have specific skills related to software, and data translation are usually needed.
Moreover, the data from many business systems like CRM is only relevant to the current place and time. CRM is excellent for showing what the pipeline looks like at this moment, or what stage of the buyer’s journey the customer is at right now, but what if you could take that one step further?
Enter: Enhanced Forecasting.
What Is Enhanced Forecasting?
As quoted from our own SugarCRM support page, Enhanced Forecasting is a “Smart Data Discovery solution that continuously analyzes your sales and marketing metrics, learns normal patterns and relationships between attributes in your data, and surfaces insights into changes impacting those metrics.”
How Can It Help My Business?
Enhanced Forecasting takes an automated analytics approach to CRM data analysis and can deliver early insights into ever-changing business conditions. It prevents you and your employees from having to pore over reports, dashboards, and spreadsheets to unveil the data that’s most important for your business.
Enhanced Forecasting is time-aware, which is a notable differentiator from other CRMs.
So, while an ordinary CRM provides information about what’s happening now, Enhanced Forecasting takes more of a space-time continuum approach, tracking every data change occurring in the CRM to offer insights that simply aren’t possible with other systems.
The Importance of Businesses Being Time-Aware
It’s a longstanding principle in the business world that time management is of utmost importance. Isn’t it ironic then that traditional CRMs don’t keep track of time? It’s useful to know the current state of your customers. But knowing how your customers got to that state by understanding every historical change in their record is incredibly powerful. You can analyze that data to identify trends, issues, and opportunities that would not be apparent by looking at the current state only. And projecting historical performance, and the factors that influenced it, into the future gives you invaluable insight into expected performance.
This is what makes Enhanced Forecasting different from other CRMs — it helps you harness the power of time and use it to make more accurate and, well, timely business decisions.
Key Features of Enhanced Forecasting
Immediate Insight into Sales Performance
When you want to know how your company’s sales are doing, you don’t want to have to devote hours of company time to analyzing spreadsheets and reports. Enhanced Forecasting provides valuable insight into sales performance without the need for complicated setups. It is pre-integrated with Sugar’s CRM products and includes a sophisticated data mart and an extensive set of analytics and high-value metrics right out of the box, enabling you to track trends in:
- Sales velocity
- Conversion rates
- Pipeline generation
Enhanced Forecasting can continuously track and analyze your company’s key sales metrics and automatically unveils what’s important right now. So you always know when specific metrics you’re tracking are significantly above or below your expectations and how they fit into historical patterns, without having to monitor hundreds of reports daily.
Dynamically Generated Insights
Discovery Insights is a key part of Enhanced Forecasting, and they actively generate facts and identify important patterns as you explore data, so you can quickly get to the root cause of problems and opportunities to develop a plan of action in response.
Valuable Historical Context
As mentioned, while most CRM systems give you information about real-time data that’s happening now, Enhanced Forecasting has an analytics engine that automatically tracks changes in customer data over time. This provides businesses with incredibly valuable information for improving their relationships with customers.
Enhanced Forecasting makes it simple for you to:
- Identify historical trends
- Compare your current and past performance
- See patterns across the life cycle of a customer through cohort analysis
No more cutting and pasting snapshots of data into spreadsheets — Enhanced Forecasting does that analysis for you and enables you to explore the historical customer record interactively to answer new questions about your business.
Nearly all sales team members, regardless of technical skill, can make use of what Enhanced Forecasting has to offer. Part of its appeal is its ease of use. It features:
- Drag-and-drop reports
- Simple yet powerful filtering
- Discovery Insights, which helps to surface significant differences or historical trends
- Fields that let you create custom metrics
- A customer data mart expressly built for analytics and exploration
Find Out More About the Power of Enhanced Forecasting for Your Business
If you’re interested in learning more about Enhanced Forecasting and what it can do for your business, check out our documentation and user guides. Or you can contact your account representative or Sugar Partner for a demo.