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3 Steps to Better Sales Forecasts

by Amanda Anderson on May 20, 2011

3 minute read

Sales forecasting is the single biggest function W-Systems sees customers wanting to perform with a CRM system. So why is it that accurate sales forecasts are so difficult to create?

Setting the sales stage and probability amount of an opportunity is set at a standard valuation in most CRM systems. The problem with this is that an opportunity doesn't always go through a linear process from qualification to proposal to contract negotiation to closed. Companies have different products and services that may vary in sales processes or a sales rep may work through a small deal differently than a large deal. To solve this problem and enable customers to get a handle on their sales process and get better data out of their application, W-Systems customized the opportunities module in SugarCRM and developed a better methodology around sales forecasting. W-Systems did this in three ways:

  1. Created different opportunity templates for different sales processes. Different templates can be created for large or small deals and the fixed probability for each sales stage can be adjusted accordingly.
  2. Developed a more granular system to better measure the probability that an opportunity is going to sell. Typically sales stages have a fixed probability associated with it, which isn't a realistic solution. A sales representative is forced to make their best guess at the probability of close -- making a fixed method very subjective. By creating a set of items to complete within each sales stage or a "to do list", a sales representative is better able to identify the steps needed to win the opportunity. This requires very little overhead, little management, is easy to use and generates very good sales results.
  3. Established a methodology around the specific sales process of varying industries and businesses. W-Systems' ability to understand a customer's product portfolio and their sales processes is driven by our experience with customers of various sizes and industries.

"When you look at how W-Systems helps a company not just customize their CRM, but take their CRM to the next level of performance - that portion comes from the experience that we have from doing this work with hundreds of customers and our ability to bring in a wealth of knowledge and experience to each new engagement." - Bill Harrison, VP of Products and Technology

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