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Sales Forecasting Software: How It Predicts Earnings From Your Next Sale

If we told you that there was a way to predict future sales that your business is likely to make, how would you react? There’s a good chance you would think that it was some kind of joke, or an elaborate hoax, perhaps. 

Well, the truth is that there are actually ways for business owners to forecast how well – or not so well– their products or services will sell, as well as how much profit they are likely to make in a specific timeframe.

The best-kept secret in the industry? Sales forecasting software. If utilized correctly, this can be a game changer for your business’ sales.

If you are curious to find out more, look no further than our essential guide:

Sales Forecasting Software: What Is It?

To put it simply, sales forecasting can be one of the most crucial aspects of your company’s success. 

It’s a sophisticated process that allows you to uncover invaluable information on how your products or services are performing, as well as how much your company will likely earn from them. And it doesn’t just offer information about how much you will earn by selling a specific product – it can also suggest best practices for when and how to sell that product. 

You might be wondering, if sales forecasting is so important, then why is it estimated that by 2025, up to 90% of B2B companies will still be relying on intuitive methods instead of analytics to predict their sales?

Intuitive methods are less accurate, and conducting the sales forecasting process using a less accurate or even obsolete method can have a massively harmful impact. Faulty sales forecasting can induce a negative domino-like effect that trickles down through your entire corporation.

It is also worth mentioning that sales forecasting is not the same as setting sales targets. With sales targets, you are looking at what your company hopes or wants to achieve in terms of sales at a specific point in time, but without utilizing the same type of analytical forecasting models that the best sales forecasting software can conjure up.

The Benefits of Sales Forecasting

Let’s have a closer look at the benefits that your organization can achieve through sales forecasting.

1.    Optimizing Your Operations

If you run an ecommerce website, being able to predict the sales of specific items can be immensely valuable. It can, for instance, help you optimize your logistics, inventory, and supply chain operations, making sure that you always stock a good amount of your best-selling products.

But there’s more that sales forecasting can help you with. Departments like HR, accounting, and marketing all rely on accurate sales forecasting. Therefore, it’s vital that your company takes a modern, future-ready approach to forecasting.

2.    Helping with Sales Pipeline Management

Managing your sales pipeline is another aspect of your business that is heavily dependent on top-notch sales forecasting. This is because it will enable you to provide your sales reps and sales manager with up-to-date, precise, and trusted information on your products or services, which in turn allows them to close deals faster and more effectively.

3.    Keeping Your Customers Happy

You can and should consider sales forecasting from the perspective of your customers, too. 

For example, you are forecasting for a specific product to sell exceptionally well during a particular time of the year, you will need to tweak your stock accordingly to ensure that there are enough items to satisfy your growing customers’ demand.

As a result, if your customers are able to purchase your business’ product without any complications or delays, then they are much more likely to come back to you next time they need to make the same purchase. They might even buy something else entirely. The ability to create a high level of customer retention is a valuable asset that your business should be taking full advantage of.

How Does Sales Forecasting Software Work?

If you have decided to take a more analytical stance towards sales forecasting, then a sales forecasting software platform can help. By using one of these, you will be able to condense and centralize some of the main sales forecasting tasks, which include:

  • Historical data: Sales forecasting software collects past sales data on specific products to provide an accurate prediction of how much that product is likely to sell in the future.
  • Sales funnel: The way your sales funnel looks at this moment in time can be considered a good predictor of future sales. The majority of sales forecasting software has in-built sales funnel capabilities that let you enter all the relevant data about your sales funnel and provide you with a prediction based on that.
  • Pipeline forecasting: This method helps you create sales predictions based on your current sales pipeline. It achieves this by combining a wide range of elements, including average sales cycle length, individual sales rep performance, deal health, historical data, marketing funnel, and more.

What’s great about working with a sales forecasting software tool is that you can automate, integrate, and centralize all the above tasks – and many more – instead of relying on manual work that is prone to inaccuracies, delays, and human error. Some sales forecasting software platforms can be considered akin to resilient distributed datasets, which means that they can easily deal with and interpret vast amounts of unstructured data.

Unlock the Potential of Sales Forecasting for Your Business

In a world where data remains king, using that data to help you predict how your products will sell and when you should sell them is a no-brainer. This is what sales forecasting allows you to achieve – enabling, in turn, to raise your customer satisfaction, increase your sales, and optimize your overall operations.

Taking an intuitive approach to sales forecasting is not only obsolete, but can cause serious damage to your business, leaving you more exposed to competitors and market fluctuations. On the other hand, a solid, analytics-driven line is what your business needs to thrive in the digital era – and beyond. 

Still Doing Sales Reports in Excel? Here’s Why You Shouldn’t.

Excel may have been around for over 30 years and is a well-established staple for many businesses, but like most pieces of archaic technology and data management methods, it may be time to put it behind you. 

Excel is still relevant, which is why so many companies rely on it, but it’s better for use with developing spreadsheets as opposed to in-depth sales reports and other more complex applications. 

Don’t count on it to serve as the main database for all of your data, especially if you’re gathering too much data for it to handle.

While Excel may still be useful for basic calculations, scheduling, setting budgets, charting, and planning, it’s not as ideal for analyzing or visualizing data, keeping your reports updated, or sharing information with colleagues or clients. 

excel document

If your business is still dependent on Excel to develop a weekly or monthly sales report, there are several reasons why you’re better off turning to a more efficient solution.

Kicking the Habit of Using Excel

Excel is like many other bad habits.

It begins innocently until it becomes a problem and the person becomes dependent on it. For example, that one-cup-of-coffee-a-day habit can develop into multiple cups, until even missing a single cup on schedule can result in a headache.

Bad habits can quickly go from beneficial to downright hazardous before you know it, oftentimes after the damage has been done.

The same goes for Excel, which may have begun with a single employee using the platform to create a comprehensive initial spreadsheet. 

That spreadsheet, or several of them, may have been invaluable in managing many pieces of data to help develop sales reports. 

However, over time, that advantage may have developed into a disadvantage as those spreadsheets collected more and more data, and various errors may be overlooked until they become a hindrance.

If you find that you’re still depending on Excel for financial management and completing sales reports, this software may be hurting your business in ways you’re not even aware of, much like other bad habits.

There are several reasons why Excel is potentially more of a detriment to your business than a help.

Excel Doesn’t Function as a Reliable Database

Spreadsheets can be helpful in keeping data organized in the short-term and in smaller quantities, but they’re no substitute for an accessible and secure database. 

It’s best to avoid using Excel spreadsheets to manage large amounts of data, as the platform is basic at best and potentially dangerous to use at worst. 

Excel is capable of handling many entries, but you’re likely to start experiencing performance issues with your operating systems if you don’t have the hardware to handle substantial amounts of spreadsheet data. 

In fact, the more formulas you use in your spreadsheets, the sooner you’re going to suffer from sluggish PC performance and crashes, which can seriously hurt your business.

There are multiple problems you can experience with Excel that make it less than ideal for use as a database.

Data Errors Can Put Your Business at Risk

One of the biggest problems with relying on Excel spreadsheets is the potential for various errors. 

cascading error messages

Unfortunately, Excel is error-prone and far from the ideal software for building and maintaining a complete and accurate database. In fact, MarketWatch found that even the most exhaustively checked and tested spreadsheets contain errors in one percent of all formula cells

The larger the spreadsheet and the more numerous the formulas, the more likely your sheets are to have multiple errors. 

As a result of these errors, large businesses have lost billions. 

Even perceivably tiny errors such as a faulty copy-paste have culminated in millions lost for some of the largest corporations. 

If big, well-established companies can make mistakes with their spreadsheets, so can you.

It’s important to keep in mind that human error is always a factor when people are counted on to manually enter and manage data. 

You could be the most thorough person with an eye for the smallest details, but you just might miss that one typo or miscalculation that could significantly harm your business. 

If you do become aware of the error, it can also take a lot of extra time and effort to identify and address it, which you could otherwise avoid with a more reliable system.

If your sales reports are more likely to contain errors, you’re also less likely to be confident in the data you’re collecting and presenting. 

That uncertainty could also cost you if you can’t pinpoint the best direction to take based on your reports.

You Can’t Trust Formulas to Maintain Accuracy of Data

The nice thing about Excel is that it comes packed with many formulas and functions that you can use to help automate spreadsheets.

However, the caveat is that the accuracy of data calculated with these formulas is only as accurate as the individual entering the initial data points.

Many of the calculations used in Excel are very complicated, with the need to manually enter various figures or program them, through the use of multiple spreadsheets and cascading formulas. 

In the process, you’re probably going to make a mistake at some point.

If you’re great with numbers and have years of experience in Excel, and you know precisely how to set up and manage the myriad functions and formulas, you might avoid most errors. 

Unless this is the case, it’s usually more work and trouble than it’s worth.

Insecure Sharing Can Leave Data in the Wrong Hands

When working with a data-driven sales team, it’s important to be able to cohesively collaborate. 

One of the most important elements of effective collaboration is data sharing, including the ability for entire teams to easily access trends, metrics, financial data, and key performance indicators, among other insightful and actionable data points. 

The ability to quickly and easily share crucial performance data is integral to a healthy, functional sales team, along with teams in other departments. 

While Excel can enable you to share data in a presentable format that’s easy to understand, it’s not the best method to use for data sharing. 

Relying on Excel for sharing sales and other data can lead to lost and forgotten emails, misfiling issues, and in worst-case scenarios, data falling into the hands of people who should never see it. 

Using Excel, you can easily lose track of who has access to your data and what they’re doing with it.

You may also run into other issues when sharing your data. For instance, some recipients of data may experience slowed performance or inaccessibility due to varying operating systems and weaker hardware. 

In other cases, sharing the same spreadsheet can result in overwriting and multiple data entry errors that are harder to catch.

Excel Can’t Effectively Visualize Data

In addition to being an unreliable database, another problem with Excel is that it’s just not useful for visualizing your sales data. 

If you’re considering using Excel spreadsheets to help build a sales dashboard or another type of business intelligence dashboard, consider looking for another option. 

Excel may allow you to visualize data with pie charts, graphs, and other visuals, but it will be difficult to share them with your sales team. 

Too many inconsistencies can arise as people look at multiple versions of an Excel dashboard, and errors are practically inevitable.

Instead, consider opting for business intelligence software to function as a dashboard that offers consistent results.

The Advantages of Using Business Intelligence Software

business intelligence

Through the use of dependable business intelligence (BI) software, you can experience several benefits that you won’t find when solely using Excel for sales reports. 

BI software can effectively serve as a hub for all of your sales data and reports using a centralized platform. 

Instead of working with multiple programs and data sets that you need to balance and manage separately, keep it all together in the same platform with a comprehensive BI solution.

The following are some specific benefits that you’ll get with the right BI software behind your sales teams.

Reduce or Even Eliminate the Risk of Human Error

Good BI software will allow you to connect it to all of your current data, which can help minimize the risk of errors, including issues with improper copy-paste and typos. 

To access and consolidate all data, the right BI software solution will be able to integrate with programs like CRMs, Google Ads, and many other platforms.

Benefit from a Sleek and Intuitive Design

Today’s BI software features better designs than simple spreadsheets, keeping your dashboard and reports visually engaging as well as accurate and accessible. 

Features such as filters, sorting, and zooming can make it easy to navigate your sales reports and visualize them in any way you want. 

You won’t need to worry about getting lost in massive and potentially confusing spreadsheets that are likely to give you a headache. 

Data visualizations can also be far more appealing than what you would get with charts and graphs on Excel and other basic platforms. 

Securely Update and Share Your Database

data security glowing

Using a safe BI solution, you can send sales dashboard data securely through the use of formats like live links, PowerPoint presentations, or PDFs. 

You may also be able to integrate your dashboard with another platform used for collaboration among internal teams. 

You can even schedule report updates to ensure everyone regularly receives the latest sales report.

Stay Consistently Up-to-Date

One potential source of inconsistency among sales teams is using outdated spreadsheet data, as you often need to refresh the sheet once you make any changes to data points. 

You don’t need to worry about constant manual refreshing with the latest BI software. 

As soon as you make any changes, your sales dashboard can automatically update to the latest version, which everyone on your team will see. 

Subsequently, you’ll never inadvertently work with outdated dashboards and reports. 

Perform More Accurate Calculations with Formulas

You don’t need to be a math or economics whiz to work with formulas thanks to today’s BI capabilities. 

The right software will also be able to provide you with the modules and tools you need to make accurate calculations with the right formulas. 

You no longer need to balance all of those functions and formulas in your head when they’re at the tip of your fingers.

Review Analytics Remotely

Regardless of where you and your team are located, you can make sure you have access to the sales dashboard from any access point

remote cloud access

Using secure mobile devices, your sales team can use an equally secure app to access the dashboard and make any changes or view real-time data. 

At the same time, everyone will be able to see the same sets of data, as the dashboard automatically updates with the latest information if your team makes any changes. 

Have Complete Control Over Accessibility

Apart from being able to safely and securely share data internally or with remote access, you can also make sure the wrong people never access your dashboards and reports. 

BI software can help ensure that only those with explicit permission to view your data will be able to see it, and you can optimize security by controlling individual access to dashboards, reports, or pieces of data. 

You can even make sure that specific groups of people have access to specific relevant data sets. This eliminates the need to create separate dashboards for different users, saving you even more time and effort.

BI Software Can Give You Everything You Need from Your Database

Excel hasn’t completely outlived its usefulness, but it’s not meant to be an all-in-one solution for sales reporting and data management. 

As your business grows and you need a system that can handle the accumulating data, you will need to adapt by implementing a more reliable solution. 

While Excel can help you get started, consider using business intelligence software to maintain the integrity of your data, eliminate errors, improve security and shareability, and keep your data consistently accurate. 

Using a complete BI platform, your sales teams will be fully equipped to measure performance and meet your business goals.

6 (Extremely Effective) Ways You Can Increase Sales

Ask any business owner about their top concerns and you’re bound to hear it– more sales. Sales give a company the financial means to continue growing. According to HubSpot, “75% of companies say closing more deals is their top sales priority.” 


So how can you increase sales and support your team in the process? 

Invest in a CRM software system.

Multiple studies have proven the benefits of having a CRM system in place at your company. According to Capterra, “47% [of CRM users] said their CRM had significantly improved their customer retention rates and customer satisfaction rates.” 

But those kinds of results don’t happen by accident. It takes leveraging the information given to you by your CRM software, and putting that information to work, in order to increase sales.

What is CRM Software?

A Customer Relationship Management System (CRM) is a business management tool that can help you keep track of all of your company relationships. This could be relationships with both your existing customers and your prospective customers.

CRM Software  Built for Increased Sales

When used to its fullest extent, a CRM system can help you maintain or improve customer loyalty and simplify sales procedures. 

Here are 6 ways to increase your company’s sales with CRM software:

Capture Quality Leads

One of the best ways to increase sales for your business is to capture quality leads. Capturing leads is a no-brainer for any business, but the quality of those leads can play a major factor in whether the sale ultimately goes through. Thus, if you always use great-quality images, you will notice an improvement in your lead generation and marketing.

By implementing a CRM software system, you can use tools such as form integration on your website to capture a prospect’s information. Once that information is in your CRM system, your sales team can access customer data with ease.

Arming your sales team with this information before they follow-up with the prospect gives them the best chance to make the sale.

Target and Sell to Specific Customers

Once you’ve used your CRM system to collect information from potential customers, it’s time to put that data to good use! With your CRM software, you can sort your customers by parameters like demographics, stage of sale, or location, and then target your sales efforts using that information. 

By having the ability to sort and qualify your leads, you can enhance your marketing and sales strategies, thus creating a likelihood that your business will increase sales.

Streamline Your Sales Process

crm software using an erp

When you reduce the number of steps in your sales process, you increase the efficiency and accountability of your sales team. A CRM system can help you do just that. When you have CRM software in place, you can easily keep track of your sales team’s progress, as well as monitor all of your customers through every step of the sales process. 

Monitoring this information closely helps you identify which practices work (and don’t work) for your sales team– and make the necessary changes to improve sales.

Reduce Admin Tasks and Boost Productivity

How much of the workday do members of your sales team spend manually inputting sales data into spreadsheets? Wouldn’t their time and efforts be better spent working towards making sales? With a CRM system, that’s what they can do. 

All of your customer and sales data entry can be automated in your CRM. This not only decreases the possibility of mistakes that comes with manual data entry, but also gives your sales team more time to focus on creating opportunities to increase sales.

Keep Customers Coming Back

According to Small Business Trends, “It costs 5% more to acquire a new customer than it does to keep a current one.” 

It literally pays to invest in customer retention. 

By having a centralized storage hub for all of your existing customer data, you can figure out the best ways to market and sell to those customers. 

For example, if you know a customer purchases the same product every three months, reach out to them early and try to upsell them on an additional service. By showing your customers that you are invested in their past, present, and future experiences with your company, they will feel more inclined to stay (and continue buying) from you.

Get Accurate Sales Reporting

In order to make improvements to your company’s sales tactics, you first need to know what your current company sales landscape looks like. By having a CRM software system in place, you can easily generate customer reports using any parameters that you define. These reports can help you better assess what is (and is not) working for your company and what changes to make in order to improve sales.


crm software on erp system

Implementing a Customer Relationship Management system at your company is a great way to streamline several of your business practices. 

Storing all of your customer (and potential customer) data in one location gives your entire organization access to this vital information. If used to its fullest potential, the data provided from your CRM software can enhance customer relationships, increase company productivity, and ultimately, improve sales for your business.