Best-in-class CRM tools are a must for any company that wants to maintain its competitive edge. Yet despite all of their fancy features and functions, most leading systems fall short when it comes to planning. So what’s a sales professional to do – resort to spreadsheets despite all of the known risks and shortcomings? Fortunately, today there are better options: like lean, cloud-based sales planning software that takes even the best CRM to a whole new level.
The Ease of Excel
Whether people like it or not, there is no way to replace Excel completely anytime in the near future. So why fight it when there are professional tools that embrace its advantages? Let users conduct their planning in an environment that looks and feels like a spreadsheet but without the usual headaches. The familiar, intuitive interface builds buy-in across the organization and minimizes training as well.
Backed by Secure, Cutting-Edge Technology
The real secret to an agile, high-performance planning tool lies far beyond the surface. An in-memory multidimensional database, for example, not only ensures that the numbers are always reliable and secure, it also provides a new world of planning capabilities – from workflow and collaboration to advanced and predictive analytics.
Sales Planning and Unlimited Flexibility
Sales planning covers so many different aspects of the business that are constantly changing no less. With the right software, organizations can finally conduct planning as one – but in a way that works best for each individual situation and contributor:
- Driver-based by products, units, revenues or any other dimension
- On any level in the right amount of detail
- Intelligently allocated from the top down
- Instantly aggregated from the bottom up
- Anytime, anywhere through desktop, web or mobile devices
What’s more, restructuring sales regions and account management or adding new products and offices along the way is no longer a problem. Modifications are immediately accessible to all users throughout the system in real time.
Top Notch Transparency
One of the biggest problems in planning is the lack of insight throughout the process. Built-in, customizable workflow capabilities keep the process flowing and clearly designate the current status. Budget contributors can send emails directly from the system to notify supervisors when their entries are ready for review. Once approved, the data is locked and aggregated into the overall sales budget.
Stakeholders can review the overall progress with details on the work that’s been completed and which steps still lie ahead. Visual dashboards also provide busy managers clear answers to key questions whenever they need it.
Ready for Plan B (and C and D…)
Most organizations test multiple budgets during the sales planning process to see which one fits best. Modern software solutions maintain the necessary transparency among these different versions and support comments for complete traceability at later stages in the process.
The finalized budget with its complete granularity is stored in the system where it can be utilized in the months and years to come. This information provides a solid foundation for a reliable rolling forecast and, in combination with AI algorithms, powerful predictive analytics.
Highly agile modules support automatic variance analysis of plan vs. actuals or actuals vs. previous year to show if business is truly performing up to par and where there is still work to be done. What’s more, further insights on the underlying reasons are often just a few clicks away.
A Complete View of Financial Performance
When it comes to enterprise performance, sales is just one piece of the puzzle. That’s why sales should ideally be linked to a greater planning solution so HR, cost centers, P&L, balance sheet or even cash flow can be later added as needed. Best of all, some progressive licensing modules even offer these extra modules at no additional cost. Then nothing can stand in the way of an integrated enterprise planning that drives business performance in light of the opportunities and obstacles ahead.
Jedox takes the complexity out of sales planning and provides the solid ground and support to keep businesess on target. Learn more about Jedox Sales Planning and other models for integrated enterprise planning.