Forecasting is our navigation system
for the future–it's an investment.

Brian Frank,
Head of Global Sales Operations,

Intelligent Sales Forecasting

Sales forecasting and pipeline management have evolved. Forecasting has become a strategic tool that drives sales results thanks to the emergence of technologies and best practices that tie forecasting into how organizations drive revenue and profit. The resources here explain how forecasting and pipeline management have changed and what Cloud9 is doing to help sales organizations take advantage of that change.


What is Intelligent Forecasting Cloud9 CEO Jim Burleigh explains what it means to bring intelligence to sales forecasting.

Read the blog post

The Limits of CRM Systems

The adoption of CRM systems has provided you with access to more data about their sales than ever before. You want to use that data to deliver new levels of performance, but if you’ve tried you’ve found that it’s extremely difficult or impossible. Although CRM systems provide valuable recording and reporting for information about accounts, opportunities, and activities, they are not forecasting tools—they simply were not designed to provide actionable insights and analysis of their data.

Specifically, CRM systems are not able to provide you with:

  • Full visibility into changes: not only seeing the change in the total sales pipeline, but also the ability to drill down to see changes in individual opportunities.
  • Change analytics: analysis that can examine historical data to uncover important trends, patterns, and risks.
  • Flexibility to fit their organization: the ability to see data in ways that fit your organizational structure–whether you have overlay teams, multiple product lines, matrixed management, or some other complex structure.

The Problem with Spreadsheets

To address the limits of CRM systems, many sales organizations rely heavily on spreadsheets to provide them the supplementary tools and insights they need. However, spreadsheets are not a forecasting solution that can meet the needs of today’s organizations. Key reasons that spreadsheets are part of the problem rather than the solution include:

  • Inconsistency: inconsistent processes and inconsistent views into forecast and pipeline are a common result of relying on spreadsheets for forecasting and pipeline management—spreadsheets are inherently disconnected from the constantly changing reality of sales opportunities, let along being difficult to distribute and track effectively.
  • Burdensome complexity: getting data into spreadsheets; coordinating how they are used, shared, and reconciled; and getting valuable results back into other systems is a major source of complexity for the sales organization, taking time away from winning business.
  • Inefficiency: building spreadsheets, moving data into them on a regular basis, circulating them, and collating changes require significant time and effort, taking sales operations away from work on helping sales teams win business.

What is Intelligent Forecasting

Improving your forecasting isn’t an option, it’s become a requirement. Not only is your forecast a commitment that the rest of the company relies on for planning and budgeting, but your ability to deliver consistently reliable forecasts is intimately linked to your ability to deliver sales performance and manage risks to revenue.

Improving forecasting means going beyond the passive exercise of simply adding up the numbers provided by sales representatives and managers across the organization. It requires an approach to forecasting that not only streamlines the process of forecasting, but also adds to it analytic insight that makes it possible for your organization to consistently deliver the revenue it forecast.

Intelligent forecasting accomplishes this by streamlining the administrative process of forecasting while supplementing sales managers’ intuition with data and advanced analysis, enabling your sales organization to deliver meaningful forecasts that they can consistently deliver.

Learn more about intelligent forecasting: