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Business IoT (Internet of Things) Money & Finance

How To Leverage AI for Lead Scoring in a CRM?

What is Lead Scoring? 

Lead scoring is an approach to rank their candidates/prospects depending on their relevancy to the company. This eventually helps the sales department know the importance of a particular lead. This can save time as well as efforts. Negligence of such practice may waste too much of your efforts put into marketing and sales.

Importance of Lead Scoring 

This method helps you be more productive and at your sales with minimum efforts. These scores help your team know where they need to be placed in their sales funnel. Whether a prospect needs to be treated as a potential customer, prospect or a guest visitor, lead scoring tells you!

How does it work?

Whenever a visitor visits our website, their actions are measured. In simple terms, the number of actions is directly proportional to the lead score. An action might be anything from clicking on a link on any of our pages, scrolling through pages, watching videos, etc. If a lead scores high, it becomes a hot prospect – which means follow-up is necessary now!

How does CRM help in Lead Scoring?

CRM is capable of storing data like customer interactions and leads. These action potential data or insights are then used to provide scores to the prospects. CRM solutions measure these actions and crawl of visitors and provide accurate lead scores for the sales-end.

This then helps you create a healthy customer database and save your marketing efforts by using those insights. Thus, improving your business’ productivity.How To Leverage AI for Lead Scoring in a CRM_

But, how can you leverage Artificial intelligence (AI) for an effective Lead Scoring methodology in CRM? 

AI technology had been helping human lives for decades in automating their daily mundane and repetitive tasks. Similarly, industries as well, are getting benefited with the integration. One of the most in-trend integrations of AI at organizations is ‘resume parsing’.

Artificial intelligence along with an HR software helps HR pick out the best CV from 100s. But, today the hot topic is – ‘Integration of AI with CRM for better lead scoring!’

Illustrated below is the way AI can excel your lead scoring:CRM and AI

Prospect prediction with AI

CRM software is capable of storing customer’s actions and interactions with the department. We can, therefore, leverage this data for predicting the prospect’s cycle. But, the traditional ways of prediction made by people seems to be out-dating due to failures, as it is purely based on their intuition. Whereas, AI algorithms can effectively predict the outcome of the prospect by studying their actions since 1st day.

How come the prediction be so promising? Let’s read some more below.

Public data

Yes. The sales data makes it possible! Customer insights we receive through our sales team generated from a CRM tool is no less than a magical lamp! Artificial intelligence’s algorithm provides you a predicted result of what the prospect would be in the future based on their interests and clicks. Also, previous predictions/ intuitions of sales’ people are taken into consideration for making an effective algorithm for lead scoring.

And, hence the name Machine-learning!

Isn’t it great?

What are the benefits of AI-driven Lead Scoring?What are the benefits of AI-driven Lead Scoring?

Improved Marketing Efforts

Automatic lead scoring using the CRM software can save a lot of effort from marketing people as well. Due to the automated and effective ranking of leads, salespeople can, therefore, perform better and faster. This brings less pressure on the marketing department of bringing more leads. In short, AI can bring you the best results in minimum efforts. Now, marketing people can focus on developing other effective activities and making the entire process more fruitful and swift.

Never miss a Lead

This is when you leverage your talent in the most righteous way. After you get the estimated scores of your prospect conversion (or leads), you know which one of them is more important. You can pass on that inquiry or prospect’s information to a more experienced or skilled salesperson. Based on the scores, priority could be set easily and allotted to the team members to ensure you don’t lose a lead.

Focus at Right

Right lead scoring helps you save your efforts in lead building and nurturing. The scores define priority for each lead. Now you know which lead you need to invest time on and which not. AI with CRM ensures you do not waste your resources and focus on the right thing. The final outcome is an improved business and out-performing sales.

Improved Employee Morale

AI-based lead scoring tells your employees which leads to nurture the most. In short, it tells you what actually needs to be done and where the actual business is. So, locating and winding a prospect at the earliest helps them finish their goals on time. This boosts their confidence in attending more leads and improves self-esteem.

It sounds practical enough! Isn’t it? AI-based lead nurturing along with the traditional conversion method is like a cherry on the cake. The traditional method of predicting the right prospect would never end, but AI can further improve it. Hence, the sales department level up!

That’s it for the subject. I hope it makes the mark at your business!

Categories
Disruption

A Guide to Elevating Retail Sales with the Help of Beacon Technology

Beacon is a very tiny and less expensive, micro-location-based technology which I used to send the radio signals and detect the present Bluetooth devices near it and share information. The smartphone captures these radio signals according to the distance from the beacon devices. Most of the industrial sectors, educational institutes, finance, travel, etc. have started the usage is beacon technologies which help then to elevate their retail sales and communicate with their existing customers.

Beacon can help in finding the current location of the person with a high accuracy rate which helps the event organizations to communicate with their targeted customer based on their presence.

How Beacon Technology Benefits Retailers

How does beacon technology works?
What makes beacons technology function as it does? A beacon is a small wireless device transmitting a continuous radio signal over a period of time with the intent of getting a task done in a shorter period of time.

There are many innovative ways through which a beacon technology can be useful in the retail industry. Moreover, it allows the retailers to enable high experience for their customers, depending on their relationships. The following section will enlighten some of the benefits of beacon technology to let you know about this technology.

1. It helps in spotting and ushering the customers to your store:

Beacon technology can help retailers to send the notifications and greetings on special occasions and also help in sending offers available in the store to the shopper’s phone living in the nearby areas, of course, when the shoppers have the related application installed in their phones because that implies that the customers have already shopped in the respective stores once.

You should greet the customers and guide them towards the specific section of the store in which they are interested in. You must always keep the notifications simple and up to the point without annoying them.

2. Use beacon technology to know about their buying pattern:

Beacon technology can be used to integrate the customer data which will promote you to sell more. With the help of CRM, you can get detailed information about every transaction of a particular customer with the help of which, you can provide them with special coupons/discounts. You can aggregate data from an online purchase and the in-store at the same time.

For example, suppose your customer has selected any product and added to his wishlist but unfortunately, the product is currently not available in the stock. So, the CRM records the customer demand and when the product arrives, you can either send them an email or if the customer pass by, you can also notify them through the message about the arrival of the product.

3. Create better campaigns (offer discounts in real-time) for special customers:

One of the most important methods to flourish your business is when your loyal customers are taken proper care and the new customers keep on pouring in. For this, the retailers have to strive hard to supply and fulfill the needs of your customers continuously, of both the existing and the new customers. Planning for an additional special discount for special customers can help a lot in elevating retail sales.

Suppose that a customer has searched for home appliances from your online store but had not purchased anything and they are roaming around and you have the proper time to offer them with the best deals, so, with the help of the beacon technology, you can send them the notification to call them in.

4. Collect more information using the beacon with the help of the customer:

According to the research, around 40% of the customers seek for the best offers on their mobile phones while they are in the store. Businesses can include this to offer the best deals to their customers. Extracting data from the customer at the very less moment of time is a very big task but still you need to do it with all your effort the buying pattern, choice, browsing history, taste, feedback loop, customers complaints, etc. this process needs to be completed without disturbing the privacy of the customer and without annoying them. The more you know about the customer, the better you serve them.

The CRM consists of valuable information and the beacon technology helps in the ‘data revision’. Every single communication with the customer can help to enrich your data system which can help you in returning them with the best offers. You can also use it to help you to increase your app. The brilliance lies in using it effectively.

5. Get to know about the customer’s in-store experience:

The beacon technology along with the CRM can be used effectively in selling the concerning and only the items in which they are interested in. Beacon technology helps the customers to select the products of their interest which result in accelerating the process of purchasing from entry to exit.

The shopkeepers can get to know more about the section in which the customers used to spend much of their time along with the frequency of their visit to the store, purchase history, loyalty factor, and the use of coupons provided to them which can be used for future reference.

The beacon technology also helps the shopkeepers to feedback to the CRM along with the feedback received. This is one of the most important conditions if you are looking forward to building up a personalized customer-business relationship. You will get to know how much value a personalized customized message is when the competition becomes stiffer.

Pros. and Cons. of Beacon technology

Beacon Technology in Action
Here is a definitive guide to guide to elevating retail sales with the help and introduction of beacon technology. It works magic!

Pros of Beacon Technology

  • Generate engagement between the customer and the business
  • Builds customer loyalty and trust
  • provides retailers with great opportunities for strategic personalization
  • They offer rewards to the customers that choose to interact.

Cons of Beacon Technology

  • Needs the Bluetooth connectivity to be turned on in customers devices.
  • Sometimes the customers get annoyed with a large number of push notifications.

How to install beacon technology

To install the beacon technology in your retail stores, follow the given steps:

1. Plot Beacons on the floor plan

You must start with the floor plan and mark the area where you want to install the beacon technology. An ideal plan must cover the entire area without leaving the dead zone in between.

2. Install the beacons

After plotting the beacons on the floor, install beacons on those locations. You can ask your friend to come with their smartphones and look for the dead zones if any.

3. Run the Trials

After the installation, your customer’s smartphones will start detecting the beacons and you will notice a spike of sales from the exclusive offers offered them through beacon technology.

You can program every beacon to provide different offers which will also help you in noticing the offers that are working for you.

Conclusion

Retailers must adapt some of the new upcoming technologies if they are willing to survive in the coming future stiffer competitions. Beacon technology provides a great platform for you to start your retail store.

Firstly, you must make sure that a large number of customers to download your mobile application. With the help of which, you can enable the Beacon technology all over your store which will help you to monitor their shopping behavior and their interests.

With the help of such information, you can use them to send the customers a personalized message at the relevant time which will help them to improve their shopping experience. Beacon technology can help you to target the potential customers nearby your store by enticing them to come in and purchase something from your store.

Beacon technology can help you to improve the customer profiles with the help of the collected information.

Beacon technology can also play a huge role in enhancing eCommerce stores without their physical stores. You just need to think outside the box and find suitable places to fix your beacons.

If you follow the tips stated above, you can generate more sales with the help of beacon technology.

Categories
Biz Branding & Customization Social Media

How to Double E-commerce Sales with Instagram Marketing with Steps to Build a Formidable Empire on Instagram

Can Instagram help e-commerce websites boost sales and revenue? The answer is yes, it can! Many webmasters are not sure on how they can double their e-commerce sales with the help of Instagram. If you look at the social media platform Instagram, you will find that the platform has over 300 million active users online daily. Recently, statistics have revealed that the social media platform has crossed 500 million users. This means like Facebook and Twitter, Instagram also lies at the forefront when it comes to social media marketing.

How to double sales with instagram marketing
Can the use of Instagram help e-commerce websites to boost sales and revenue? The answer is yes, it can! Now, discover how to double your business sales with the wonderful power of Instagram social media platform.

Why opt for Instagram for your e-commerce website today?

There are approximately 68% of Instagram followers that associate themselves with the different brands available in the market. If you compare this percentage with Facebook, you will find that it is only 32%. Gone are the days when retailers underestimated Instagram when it comes to the generation of product sales on their websites. However, if you take a look at Instagram, you will find that there is no place for you to put your active link to the site other than the bio section of your account. However, despite the above, you find that the number of Instagram users and followers are growing fast day by day. This makes it one of the most widely sought after social media platforms in the market today.

Double sales on your ecommerce website with Instagram

The following are some simple tips that every e-commerce website owner should keep in mind when it comes to doubling their sales with the help of Instagram:-

Cut the sales talk out

Now, this is obvious- if you are going to sell a product, it is important for you to sound persuasive. However, Instagram is no sales platform. Post pictures with real people in real life situations. This will ensure that you will get them interested in your product. Instagram needs pictures that speak about the benefits the product can bring to your life and not the features it has in the market.

Instagram mobile marketing for brands

Increase reach to the targeted audience

If you wish to increase sales of your e-commerce website, you need to connect and reach out to more people. This can be done with the tag a friend option where you reach out not only to your circle but their circle as well. You must also remember to hashtag your photo with the relevant word. Do not hashtag your picture with many words – maximum five words will help you reach out to people.

How to Double E-commerce Sales with Instagram Marketing with Steps to Build a Formidable Empire on Instagram

Resort to the principle of influencer marketing

You can opt for celebrity endorsements of your product to get it selling for you. Take for example weight loss tea or a fitness protein shake. You can rope in a celebrity to spread the message and let people know how your product can help them in weight management and overall fitness.

Content is still the king

Most real Instagram followers state that they follow accounts primarily because of the genuine content they post. When you are creating content for your Instagram picture, ensure that it is high in quality. A trick is you can create content that revolves around the hashtags that you use for your product. When you are posting images ensure that you use a picture size that is 1080×1080 pixels. The content on your Instagram handle and caption also influences the likes of followers. Make sure that you create content and use to scheduling software like Latergramme to publish posts for you. In this way, you do not have to log into Instagram all the time and manually publish the posts yourself.

Instagram advertising using content
Content is still the king for any marketing project that is going to be successful. Without great content, you will end up wasting time and money. Learn how to craft winning content to take charge of the market.

Engage with your followers

It is important for you to allocate some time and engage with your followers. It is important for you to personally connect with your Instagram followers and reply to the comments that they make on your posts. This also increases customer loyalty as followers are getting the chance of interacting with you. You invoke trust, credibility, and value when you interact with them. The comments should be read carefully as most of the time you will find that customers have posted their feedback on a particular product for you to take note of.

Track the conversion to the check- out process

It is imperative for you to track the journey of the user from the conversion to the check -out process. You should study these steps and see if you are able to reduce the number of steps or not. You might have to change your strategy. You can place an active link in the bio section of your Instagram account and have your customers click on it to get access to the process directly. It might seem challenging however if you can reduce the number of steps from the conversion to the check- out process, customers are more likely to come back as they know they can buy products from your website without hassles at all!

Positioning your business on instagram for mobile users

Present the culture around your product

If you take a look at the Nike brand, you will find that they post photos of their products however they also create a positive association with them as well. This is the secret of connecting with their targeted audience. It is important for you to ensure that you follow this strategy that will bring you positive marketing results.

Therefore, Instagram is a great boon to you if you know how to use it effectively for increasing the sales of your ecommerce website. With the help of Instagram, you can increase the sales of your products and reach out to a large customer base. You have to devise and develop a content strategy that works. At the same time, you must reply and interact with the feedback and comments you receive on your page. With the aid of the above tips, being on Instagram will give you an edge in the e-commerce market and boost sales. You can double sales and be in the forefront of the competition with success!

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Biz Branding & Customization Business Money & Finance

Top 5 Ways to Increase Revenue in Your Business

Every business, no matter the type or size, has one primary objective- to sell. Sales generate revenue which makes continuity possible. So when you are not selling enough, you are most likely not to remain in business for long. Think about it – you have to pay your workers, buy and manage equipment, pay your rents, and so on. Without making enough sales, how will you be able to settle these bills?

In recent years, many companies’ especially small start-ups have been affected by the non-progressive economy, making it difficult for them to grow. As a result, most of them are hardly surviving while some had to be shut down due to lack of resources to run their activities.

However, in spite of the harsh economic situation, many new businesses are rising while some of the existing ones are generating more revenues. How? By focusing on their customers and inventing better ways to serve them.

Whether you run a business that seems to be struggling or one that is already pretty successful but also need expansion, there are various ways you can increase your value. And significantly improve your transaction size and generate more revenue.

Here are five suggestions that can help you achieve great results:

How to Strategically Increase Revenue from your Startup Business

Top 5 Ways to Increase Revenue in Your Business
Whether you run a business from your backyard that seems to be struggling or one that is already pretty successful but yet lacking the needed expansion, there are various ways you can increase revenue and the value of the business.

Strengthen your internal operations

This involves all the activities performed in the daily operation of your business to keep it moving. Usually, maintenance and administration are the most important areas to look into.

For instance, if you run a manufacturing company, then you need to ensure that the machines that are used for production are regularly inspected and serviced.  This will ensure that they continue to produce at maximum capacity. Without adequate maintenance, production machines are likely to wearout which in turn will lead to a decrease in supply. Apart from reducing your revenues, this can also favor competitors.

Add Complementary Services to Existing Products

Adding complimentary services to existing products is one of the easiest ways to expand your market. This is very important especially if your company provides a service. Adding complementary services to the ones that already exist can attract new clients to your company.

For instance, a web design company can add graphic design to their service for a little extra cost. So, instead to looking for help elsewhere, clients who want both services can easily pay them. Similarly, a company that sells computer products might add installation or backend training. You can offer as many services as you can as long as they appeal to customers and are within your company’s capacity.

Don’t be afraid to copy complementary services from competitors, as long they are relevant and important to customers. But make sure you personalize it in order to make it special and unique.

Extend the Geographic Market Area

One of the ways small businesses grow is by extending their reach. So, don’t get too comfortable in one geographical market area or location, launch out in the larger market. Although this will attract more promotional cost, it is nothing compared to how much you can make if it works out well. The market extension has always been the fastest way to increase revenue, without it your business will never skyrocket. This article by AppTivo explains more on geographical market area.

Increase Your Prices

Raising prices is another way to make more money. However, you need to be careful while doing this. An untimely hike in price can make you lose customers or clients. This is why your action must be properly planned out before execution.

Ideally, your customers should be educated on the need for the raise and make sure it isn’t too much. You might also plan to offer a superior service or improve product upon increasing pricing.

Keep in touch

Regular communication is necessary to keep your customers engaged and earn their loyalty. It enables you share useful information and ideas and also help you identify changes in their taste. Common communication means include phone, mail, newsletters, social media, and online chats, amongst others. Never underestimate the importance of customers’ feedback.

Finally, when properly implemented, each of these strategies will help you to quickly boost your business value and increase revenues significantly.

Categories
Education Marketing

4 Effective Tips for Improving Sales Rep Productivity

Sales representatives serve at the front line of your business, so you have to do everything you can to make sure they perform effectively. While hiring the perfect lineup of sales reps from the start is ideal, it’s not always—if ever—an option. However, working with your current team of sales reps and finding a way to improve their productivity is always possible.

There’s a common misconception that a sales rep’s productivity is all dependent on the individual’s abilities. However, there are many factors that affect a sales rep’s effectiveness, some of which are beyond their control. You also have to make changes on your part if you want your sales rep to be more productive, and knowing where to make those changes is key to big improvements.

If you don’t know where to begin, these helpful tips for improving sales rep productivity should give you a good start.

Growth-Hacking Techniques for Your Improving Sales Rep Productivity

Improving Sales Rep Productivity
Sales representatives serve at the front line of your business, therefore, the growth of the company rest solely on their performances. But how do you help them to step up their games? Here’s strategies for improving sales rep productivity without much hassle.

1. Use the Right Sales Compensation Management Tools

One of the best ways to improve your sales reps’ productivity is by keeping them motivated, and one way to do this is by giving them the means to track their progress. This way, you’ll be able to reward them with appropriate incentives. By using sales performance management tools, you can let your sales reps know where they stand in terms of how well they are performing.

How does using the right technology help motivate sales representatives? By using the right sales compensation management platform, you enable transparency and real-time visibility for your sales team members and executives. Your sales representatives will know how well they have to perform to qualify for incentives, and you ensure accuracy of payouts. Performance-based rewards can either be rewarded on a per-individual basis or as a general reward for team-based efforts.

2. Know Your Target Market

Even the best sales reps will have a difficult time hitting ideal productivity goals if they’re trying to sell to the wrong people. It’s not just about reaching out to as many people as possible. Remember that time spent on trying to make a sale to an unlikely customer is time not spent making sales to your target market.

Identifying your real target market allows your sales reps to focus their efforts on people that are more likely to buy what they’re selling. Better chances of conversion improve your sales reps’ individual sales figures, which means an overall boost to your sales team’s effectiveness. Furthermore, knowing your target market also ties into the other tips on this list.

3. Improve Your Marketing

Sales reps will have a more difficult time making a successful conversion if a potential buyer is not familiar with the product or services they are selling. If knowledge about your brand, product, or service is low, sales reps will have to be able to introduce what you’re selling before they can actually attempt a sale. This is where effective marketing comes into play.

By being able to come up with a marketing strategy to increase awareness, you’re taking the burden of introducing your product from your sales reps. This way, your target market will be more likely to want to buy your products or services, and your sales reps can concentrate on making sales. Employing social media, for instance, is an effective and affordable technique when it comes to reaching out to your target demographic. Use this to your advantage.

4. Choose the Right Leaders

For your sales rep team to be truly effective, everybody has to be on the same page. This is why you need to have the right leaders to point the team towards the right direction. It’s up to the team leaders to make sure areas that need improvement are identified and properly addressed and that each sales rep sticks to the company’s sales strategy.

How to improve your sales representative productivity through right partnership
Improving Sales Rep Productivity: Picking a leader who knows when to say something and how to properly say it in order to inspire the rest of the team to deliver could earn your organization long term benefits. You don’t just need top sales performances in every departments, but you need some special people who has keen interest in reading signals, studying individual growth and analysing them properly to handle strategic position.

Picking the right leaders requires more than just assigning the top performers to leadership roles. Instead, look for individuals that are good at mentoring team members and those that have a keen eye for improvement. They also have to be familiar with keeping track of metrics for analyzing individual performances so they can coach employees that need to improve even before their stats take a major hit.

Improving sales rep productivity requires a concerted effort among your sales reps, their leaders, and upper management. A sound sales strategy combined with the right tools and people can mean the difference between an average sales rep team and an outstanding one.

Categories
Business Marketing Money & Finance

5 Common Sales Forecasting Mistakes You Should Avoid

Planning ahead is one of the keys to a successful business, and the only way that you can plan ahead is with an accurate sales forecast.

Your sales forecast helps you set your future budget, determine what your business can afford to spend, and manage its cash flow. If you plan on taking out a business loan to expand your operations, a sales forecast can help you calculate how large a loan payment you can afford.

However, getting an accurate sales forecast can be difficult. Avoid these five all-too-common sales forecasting mistakes to ensure that the forecast you come up with is accurate.

Common Sales Forecasting Mistakes Entrepreneurs Should Be Wary of

5 Common Sales Forecasting Mistakes You Should Avoid

Sales Forecasting Mistakes: There are lots of mistakes that are unpardonable if committed as a business owner; sales forecasting is still taking the lead among all of them.

1. Ignoring Past Results and Patterns

They say that past behavior is the best predictor of future behavior, and that adage also applies to business sales. If your business utilizes a customer relationship management (CRM) software, you should have your past sales information close at hand already. Even if it doesn’t, you can still pull up records from previous years to look at sales numbers.

Look for patterns that occur with your sales so you have an accurate idea of how they will fluctuate throughout the year. Have you noticed that sales tend to increase during a certain season, or after a particular type of marketing? Taking notice of these patterns helps you develop a more accurate forecast. It can also help you find out which types of marketing are providing the greatest return for your business.

There is only one situation where you can disregard past sales information, and that’s when your business has undergone significant changes.

2. Using Inaccurate Data

There’s no way you’re going to be able to come up with an accurate sales forecast if it relies on false data. This means that your team needs to enter data accurately every time.

When there are multiple sources of data, there can often be conflicts between sources. If this occurs, figure out what’s causing it and correct it immediately.

One of the best ways to ensure accurate data and improve sales forecasting is by having your sales team work with other team members to correct any data conflicts. Your sales team can also determine if there are any metrics that you should be tracking. Provide your sales team with a forecasting tool to help automate your data analysis and sales forecasting processes. This well help make those processes far more efficient.

Sales forecasting mistakes
Relying on inaccurate data during your sales forecast is one of the deadliest sales forecasting mistakes anyone would ever committed. Be sure of every little details you put into the report and factor everything into consideration in order to get the the right result.

3. Lack of Forecast Updates

The only constant in business is change. Your business is going to change, as will the behavior of your customers. To have an accurate sales forecast, you must consistently adjust and refine it. Many businesses make the mistake of creating a sales forecast, and then refusing to update it.

An annual, quarterly or even monthly forecast will become out of date quickly because your sales numbers are always changing. That’s why you need to adapt as you go. Use a CRM tool to track your customer’s current behaviors and buying patterns, and use that information to tweak your forecasts. The most accurate sales forecasts will be those that change in real time with any new developments for your company.

This may require more time in the short-term, but it benefits your business over the long haul. You also don’t need to commit a large amount of time every month, quarter or year to creating a new sales forecast, because you already have a forecast that you’ve been updating consistently.

4. Relying on Instincts Instead of Data

Trusting your gut should never be your strategy when it comes to sales forecasts. While there are times to use your instincts in business, it’s too easy to create an inaccurate sales forecast if you rely on emotional reactions and your feelings about what will happen in the future. Real-world data is much more trustworthy than your gut instincts for predicting future results.

Think about it as if you were investing in a company and had no emotional attachment to it. You wouldn’t invest just because the owner had a great feeling about future sales numbers. You would look at the available data.

For the best results, look at multiple data points, including historical trends and your business and sales forecasting tools, to create your forecast.

5. Forgetting That a Sales Forecast Is Only a Prediction

Remember that a sales forecast is only a prediction, which means chances are it’s going to be off by at least a small amount, if not more. If you expect a sales forecast to be completely accurate, you’re setting your sales team up for failure.

Where sales forecasting can help you is learning about your business and your customers, and then planning your future sales strategy. By analyzing your past and current numbers, it helps you decide where to commit resources in the future to get the best results. With the right approach, a sales forecast can help you reduce operating costs, increase sales and improve customer service.

It’s impossible to predict the future with 100-percent accuracy, but when you avoid these five common sales forecasting mistakes, you can maximize how effective your sales forecast is.

Josh McAllister is a freelance tech writer and business consultant based in New York. In his free time, he enjoys all things geeky and gadgetry, the outdoors, and spending time with his family. You can reach him on Twitter @josh8mcallister.