A few days ago, I was introduced to the idea of sales forecasting. It got me thinking about deals, and whether or not the same or similar concepts of sales forecasting would apply to deal sourcing and predicting future trends of deals – deal forecasting, so to speak. The article stated, “Sales forecasting includes all methods used to predict future sales by looking at sales history, customer information and demographics, and other information relative to sales trends.1” It talked about how companies use CRM to make these predictions.
I realize that making sales and making deals are two entirely different things, but when it comes to being successful, the two do share some very basic qualities. Let’s take a look:
“Forecasting is simply predicting the level of sales you expect to achieve. An accurate forecast helps managers predict future cash flow and the levels of production, so they can adjust business accordingly.2” Now, let’s change the word “sales” to the word “deals,” and the word “managers” to “venture capitalists” or “private equity firms.” Does the statement still work? I say it does. Here’s why: If VCs can accurately predict the number of deals they expect to achieve, they will then be able to “adjust business accordingly.” Maybe they’ll consider funding two more ventures this year, or expand to include a technology branch which would fund technological ventures. Maybe they’d realize they needed to fund less. Whatever the outcome, “deal forecasting” could help them determine how best to proceed.
Maybe this concept isn’t new to some people – of course it makes sense to look at the past in order to predict the future. But that can take hours, maybe even days, to piece together. That is, of course, if you are not using CRM. Customer Relationship Management is essential to making sales or deals, and it’s this software that can assist companies in sales forecasting2 – which means, based on the aforementioned facts, CRMs are just as vital to VCs in “deal forecasting” as they are to sales managers in sales forecasting.
Creating and sustaining relationships with your customers – whether you’re trying to make sales OR deals – is what CRM is all about.2 CRM software is used to track every interaction that occurs between you and the customer. Maybe you share a common interest or had a laugh over something together. Tracking these interactions, though they may seem trivial or besides the point when it comes to making a deal, gives you an edge over your competition; you’re creating a personal relationship with the customer, giving him even more of a reason to do business with you.
Looking at past interactions and deals, keeping track of potential business investments, and overall staying organized through the use of CRM will help your company predict future trends in the deal sourcing world. You’ll have a sense of who you will be (or who you’ll want to be) making deals with, which ventures are rising and which are moving on – and you’ll be able to predict how this will affect your business.
EquityTouch offers unique features that will assist further in deal forecasting. For example, “Free Text Search” allows the user to search any key words that may have been recorded in the notes section of the CRM. Like I said, CRMs make forecasting much more efficient, but a feature like this – not offered by competing CRM software – makes it even faster. Everyone processes things differently, which is why EquityTouch offers unlimited customizable fields, another helpful tool to make sorting through the vast amount of information easier. And if you have a question about anything when using EquityTouch, just call! Someone will be there to answer your questions and assist you through any technical difficulties you may be having. These are just a fraction of the many awesome features EquityTouch has.
The bottom line is this: when it comes to any business, you want to have some idea of what’s ahead of you or what to expect. It allows you to plan and be prepared for what’s to come, and it will hopefully make you more successful. Painstakingly sorting through a year’s worth of information is half the battle, and when you’ve got that information right at your fingertips, you’re already halfway there.