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We get more reliability out of the information contained in Salesforce.com. Owen Nisbett, Finance Director, GDCM
Sales Pipe Insight is driving the sales team to improve the accuracy of their own forecasting. Michael Evans, CEO, GDCM
Sales Pipe Insight gives us critical information early in the cycle and allows us to act with intelligence. We are now able to utilise concise and consistent sales reports we can trust. Michael Evans, CEO, GDCM
Our previous reporting methods were an unproductive use of time. The trust and reliability Sales Pipe Insight has offered is invaluable. Kevin McGarth, FCO, Valista

Sales process improvement, sales pipeline reporting and revenue forecasting

Sales Pipe Insight is the result of many years of frustration that the founders of Visual Insight, experienced in previous businesses. The lack of a clear, effective and accurate method of assessing sales force effectiveness and the quality of the sales pipeline led to the development of a sophisticated methodology that has been refined in the real business environment. One that answers the questions that everyone struggles with using conventional sales reporting and sales forecasting tools.

These methods were found to be so effective that Visual Insight was formed to realise this intellectual property in a tangible form. The result is Sales Pipe Insight. Our understanding of the needs of investors, owners and board members has enabled us to create a practical solution that provides straightforward, no-nonsense information that enables businesses to drive profitable growth.

Over the last 20 years, the Founding Directors of Visual Insight have run 30 companies with turnover up to £250m in the UK, EU and US – within almost every one of those companies we have been frustrated at the quality of management reporting, particularly in regard to sales reporting and sales forecasting. So over the years, we developed a cure, and have launched our first product, Sales Pipe Insight for Salesforce – a sales pipeline reporting and forecasting tool that has been designed for the Board, by the Board. It has benefits throughout the organisation, but it is aimed specifically at the CEO, FD and Sales Director. If you have Salesforce, you've already made the right choice – but if you want maximum value, get Sales Pipe Insight.

James Anderson, Director & Co-founder, Visual Insight

An extract from Swift, the IFT (Institute for Turnaround) magazine, 2009

Having trustable numbers is written into the DNA of turnaround. IFT Fellow John Lowry explains how frustration at poor sales forecasting in business led him to a novel solution – founding [Visual Insight].

A common theme has run through my 25 years in large international companies and my 18 years in business recovery – poor quality sales reporting and forecasting. Even with excellent sales force automation systems, pipeline reporting to the Board is usually weak and unintelligible, based on subjective or simplistic percentage confidence factors, and undermined by out-of-date or error-strewn data.

A survey recently showed 83% of directors don’t trust sales forecasts and 72% apply an average discount factor of 50% to them. But 53% of directors believe they do not have the financial resources to survive a 10% shortfall in revenue for three consecutive months.

Credible forecasting
Over 18 years in a number of turnarounds I have crafted an approach to these issues that, in a two page dashboard, gives the Board all the accurate information it needs on sales prospects. In 2007 James Anderson developed an expert system to produce the predictions for the dashboard. That expert system is the subject of a patent application. By applying initially expected, and as time goes by actual historical, win/loss ratios, delay factors and value erosion factors to the value of business in each of the qualifying, selling and closing phases and by assessing the completeness of the sales process in each of those phases Sales Pipe Insight makes predictions of bookings that have been shown to be accurate. Comparing the results to quarterly targets one can determine potential shortfall for as much as a year ahead and therefore decide at macro level which of the only four things possible the company must do. That is to run campaigns to put more opportunities in the qualifying phase, to push opportunities through the sales phase faster, to stop value erosion and improve win/loss ratios in each phase. It also, of course, highlights potential cash flow problems.

Data Quality indicators
SPI derives its reports using data extracted automatically from Salesforce.com and provides clear data quality indicators. Consequentially, review of the dashboard by the Board very quickly indicates whether the Sales Director is insisting on quality information from his sales people and is in touch with what is going on. The system provides for the Sales Director to give his comparative view of the potential as a result of his detailed, subjective knowledge of situations. We have shown SPI to Banks, Big 4, Private Equity and M&A companies and all have expressed interest; Banks for cash forecasting and debt risk assessment; M&A for pipeline valuation; Big 4 for business process improvement. Two PE companies directed invested companies to use it and an IFT member has adopted it in one of his companies. We formed Visual Insight in 2008 to offer the resulting Web based Software as a Service (SaaS) – Sales Pipe Insight. The company sells business intelligence software and our research leads us to believe it has a breakthrough, sales performance management, pipeline reporting and analytics and sales prediction solution.

Innovation in a recession
Companies are struggling more than ever with their sales process management and forecasting, and we offer a product that is helping them manage through difficult times.