Sales Forecasting-Increase Accuracy with AI Predictive Forecasting

While working on Sales Forecasting, I came across one interesting feature which is Predictive Forecasting. As, it’s almost impossible for humans to know and predict the future result, even after making a lot of efforts to convert most of the opportunities into successful Sales. So, now with the help of these advanced AI technologies, sales can help us forecast sales more actively and accurately. As forecasting implies the ability to predict the sales pattern of an organization.

In this advanced modern world, people are more attracted to getting quick and accurate solutions without involving much manual intervention. Predictive Forecasting basically will allow salespeople to see the predictive analysis for all their sales efforts, which are actually driven by AI.

Refer to the below screenshot for reference:

Microsoft has specified some mandatory prerequisites to keep in mind before using Predictive Forecasting in order to get proper and accurate forecasting predictions.

You can find more details in this doc.

Pre-requisite:

System should have a minimum of 200 opportunity records.
More than 10 closed opportunities with values populated for the fields–Actual Value, Actual Close Date, Estimated Value, and Estimated Close Date.
Open opportunities with values filled for the fields–Estimated Valueand Estimated Close Date.
Date fields should be real for all the scenarios, for ex: Opportunity Create Date should not be lesser than Opportunity Close Date.
The Forecast Category must be in sync with opportunity status. For example: When the Opportunity is Won/Close, then the Forecast category field will also be populated as Won/Close respectively.

Configuration:

To verify whether the predictive forecasting feature is enabled in your organization, make sure you go to App settings > Forecast configuration >Go to Layout Step> Add the Prediction column in the forecast grid, and Activate the Forecast.

Then, after the Prediction column appears in a forecast grid when you select it as a column.

Under the Advanced step, make sure that the “Enable prediction factors” toggle is on. As shown below:

Predictive Forecasting

 

NOTE:

Post enabling this toggle, User will be able to see the Prediction Details starting to appear in a forecast grid and vice versa.
After activating the forecast for the first time, Predictive Forecasting will take about two hours to display data in the Prediction

Prediction details:

The prediction details graph consists of 2 parts:

Breakdown of total prediction factors
Top factors that influence the prediction

Let us see each one in detail as below:

Breakdown of total prediction factors:

To see the predictive forecasting details (like factors that are influencing it) of each forecast record you need to select the respective value in the prediction column of the Forecast as shown below:

The below screenshot shows predicted data, which consists of 4 major Points:

Closed as Won– It will show the total value of all closed opportunities in the forecast time period.
Predicted from Open– It will show the total value of existing opportunities, in that forecast time period that is predicted to close.
Predicted from New– It will show the total value of new Opportunities, in that forecast time period, that is predicated to close.
Total Prediction- It will show the sum of all breakdown values of (Closed as Won+ Predicted from Open+ Predicted from New). Total predicted amount for the current forecast period.

Predictive Forecasting

Top factors that influence the prediction:

After hovering over the information icon in the column header, the last recalculation date of the prediction will be displayed. Refer to the image below:

Predictive Forecasting

Predictions are recalculated every seven (7) days.

In the Prediction Details pane, at the bottom, we can see that the top factors that influence the prediction are displayed below the graph.

The top prediction factors can be categorized into three types:

Predictive Forecasting

Here in our case, a Grey icon with a horizontal arrow (Predictive Forecasting) is shown as per the Opportunity records created and according to their status in this ongoing Forecast period indicating a neutral influencing factor.

Conclusion

Predictive Forecasting is proven to provide benefits in recognizing New Opportunities, Optimizing Products & Services, which in turn boosts and enhances their sales value.

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