sales forecasting tools | 6 mins read

5 Ways Automated Sales Forecasting Tools Can Improve Your Business Prospects

5 ways automated sales forecasting tools can improve your business prospects 1652157127 1999
Sanchari Chatterjee

By Sanchari Chatterjee

What is Sales Forecasting?

Who says forecasting can only be about the weather? If you are in the retail business or a sales-driven industry, you must want to know what kind of sales numbers you can expect in the next quarter of your company's sales pipeline. Sales forecasting does just thataccurately predicting sales performance based on historical data, purchase cycles, consumer behavior and more.

Sales forecasting is the process of using artificial intelligence and your company's sales data to systematically predict what kind of sales performance you can expect in the future. This forecasting can be done both in real time as well as periodically. While you can always rely on your sales team's intuition and expertise, it is still not an accurate method that will get you guaranteed results.

Sales forecasting will not only help your sales team, it will also boosts the performance of other business operations such as supply chain, inventory and employee scheduling. When you are aware of your expected sales figures, you can prepare your plans accordingly and with much more efficiency.

Why is it Important to Forecast Sales?

  • When you are armed with accurate sales forecasts, you are better equipped to handle business operations and decision making. Data-driven analytics and sales forecasting will stop the guesswork and give you exact numbers.
  • Sales forecasts will help both, sales managers and sales reps better prepare themselves for their targets.
  • With better sales forecasting, your sales team will also be able to achieve better risk management.
  • When you have an accurate estimate of your sales pipeline, you can also plan your employee scheduling accordingly. Have more employees on the floor when the forecast shows higher prospective sales, and downsize when demand is lean.
  • Sales forecasting will also help sales teams identify future calamities, crashes and lean periods for which you can be better prepared.
  • When you have a better estimate of the sales pipeline, you are also more likely to reduce labor costs, overhead expenses and better handle your goals.

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Different Forecasting Methods

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The different methods of Sales Forecasting depend on the kind of business you are handling, what operations and data collection you see at your end. Here are some of the commonly used forecasting methods-

  • Historical data- As a restaurant business, you will already have a huge bank of data resources that your point-of-sale system, inventory management system and invoicing throw up. This historical data will guide sales forecasting by pointing out sales patterns and factors that affect sales, such as seasons, holidays, and so on. This method will help you make sense of your sales data, enabling you to use it to know what to expect in the future.
  • Multiple variables- This is a slightly complex forecasting method that uses artificial intelligence and analytics tools to guide you about your sales pipeline. It will consider a number of external factors, along with internal ones, to give you an accurate estimate of expected sales forecasts.
  • Funnel forecasting- This is a simple, linear method of sales forecasting in which current sales data is used to make an estimate of future sales performance. This is done with the assumption that the surrounding factors will remain the same and thus the sales performance will make progress accordingly.

  • According to an Oracle study, 45 percent of consumers feel ordering in person is more time-consuming compared to ordering online. Another 35 percent diners said they felt they were not prioritized enough when dining out.
  • While the Covid-19 pandemic has taken a toll on almost all restaurant and food service formats, drive-thru outlets have managed to remain popular. A QSR study has found drive-thrus of fast-food chains are in fact helping businesses sail through the slowdown.

What is Sales Forecasting Software?

Sales forecasting software is a set of automated forecasting tools that businesses use to obtain more accurate sales numbers for the future. Forecasting software uses artificial intelligence and data analytics tools to give you an overall picture of your business' sales pipeline that is expected in the next few months or quarter. The software system can also be used to generate real time forecasts.

What you would earlier ask your sales teams and sales reps to do with their experience and intuition about sales expectations, can now be done with the automated forecasting tools of forecasting software. Armed with accurate sales predictions, you can then plan your workforce management, budget planning, supply chain and inventory in a far more efficient manner. All your business processes can be better optimized with definite sales predictions in sight. While getting a forecasting software might cost you some money, you can be confident of receiving higher returns on this investment with the right forecasting and cost optimization.

5 Ways to Improve Profits With Sales Forecasting Tools

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  1. Sales forecasting tools make sense of your already existing historical data to generate accurate sales forecasts that can give you exact estimates of what to expect. This will go on to reduce your expenses on labor, overhead costs, rent, etc. as you no longer need to have additional staff on board when lean sales are expected.
  2. You can also better plan your supply chain and restaurant inventory with the right sales forecasts in hand. You will not need to stash your inventory with raw materials in advance if you know what dishes will be in demand in the future and what kind of sales performance you can expect.
  3. The right sales data will help your sales reps and sales team keep an eye on your business goals as they progress through the sales cycles. As sales managers, you can constantly bring up forecasts for reference and tweak your operations accordingly.
  4. Forecasting tools will also give you real time sales forecasts which will help you optimize your decision-making.
  5. Get a sales pipeline action plan with your forecasting tools that can help you stay ahead of the sales cycle and enable you to plan better for your team.

Online employee scheduling software that makes shift planning effortless.
Try it free for 14 days.

Top 3 Sales Forecasting Software for Restaurants

Zip Forecasting-
This is an automated forecasting software that is designed for restaurants and food service businesses. Zip Forecasting promises sales forecasting in real time, easy implementation and demand anticipation. With the forecasting tools offered by Zip Forecasting, your business can reduce labor costs, optimize employee scheduling, maintain optimal inventory levels and ensure profitability. These forecasting tools fully integrate with your restaurant POS system and track all sales data. You can also tailor its forecasting parameters as per your business needs. The flexible and easy-to-use planning software makes sales processes a lot simpler.

Pipedrive offers a visual sales pipeline, and insights and reports on your sales data to be better prepared for the future of your business. You can predict your revenue and turnover in the next quarter by pulling in data from your customer touch-points and seamlessly integrate these with the forecasting software. The interactive dashboard offered by Pipedrive will help your sales team and sales reps use the system easily, and drive better business results.
This forecasting software pulls in data from every interaction with a customer, be it on email, phone or a sales point. The data is then processed by an AI-driven forecasting system that leads your sales team to know how the sales performance is going to be in the future. You can visualize your sales pipeline and manage your work around the sales forecasts, plan better and improve your decision-making.

Supply Chain FAQs

Q- Can forecasting software be used for supply chain management?
A- Certain forecasting software has tools for supply chain management integrated into the system. With forecasting tools, you can better manage your supply chain and get the right amount of inventory without overstocking.

Q- Can supply chain management be integrated with other restaurant management software?
A- Yes, most restaurant management software can be integrated with forecasting software or Supply Chain management systems for better business operations. For example, forecasting software like Zip Forecasting can integrate with other solutions like Zip Scheduling for employee scheduling and Zip Inventory for restaurant inventory management.

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