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Using Data to Forecast and Manage Your Sales Pipeline

To do sales right, you need an accurate way of tracking pipeline. It’s not enough to just track the revenue that you have earned in the past and the revenue tied up in current deals; today’s best sales teams are creating complex analytics to model pipeline and forecast revenue as accurately as possible. In order to do that, sales and data teams need to collaborate to get data out of their CRM and into an analytical environment that will let them model it the best way for their organization.

Robust modeling of sales data has benefits for both the sales team and the data team. For the sales leaders, an accurate model increases forecasting accuracy, boosts confidence in pipeline management and allows data to increase revenue. The data analyst also benefits because modeling data with SQL in a platform offers much more power than reviewing simple CRM reports, abstract logic is easier to build and information all lives in a single location.

At Periscope, we’ve used our own product to build a tool that helps leaders from every team access the sales information they need. The model lives on our data platform, so anyone can look up real-time data as often as they need it and there’s no downloading Excel files, accuracy questions, version control issues or any access headaches.

Not only is the access simpler, but a platform like Periscope Data lets us build complex models and display it in intuitive, prescriptive charts optimized for impact. Once the logic is set up, you can back analyze to the time you implemented your CRM system with no additional effort. This gives us a high degree of confidence in our data and lets us make smarter decisions in real time.

By enabling collaboration between leaders from the sales and data teams, we can analyze our pipeline in a way that combines the best of both skill sets. The sales team can help identify characteristics that are likely to influence an individual opportunity or the pipeline as a whole and the data team can iterate on our pipeline model to make accurate information available for the entire team.

To go deeper on how Pericope models sales data and uses it to make decisions, check out the Blending Art & Science: Using Data to Forecast and Manage Your Sales Pipeline webinar I did with our head of sales Ben Loeffler-Little. We show actual examples of our pipeline models and discuss how you can set up something similar for your organization.

If you want to build these data models yourself, visit the Periscope Data community, where you can find the SQL used to create our sales pipeline visualization.


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Sam Schuster
Sam is the Team Lead of the Analytics and Business Operations Team at Periscope. He has spent his career leveraging data to optimize workflows and drive high-impact decisions across his organization.