FEB 22, 2010 9:21am ET

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It has long been expected that automation of the sales force could help address longstanding issues in the sales forecast. In practice, this has not been the case. Likewise, you would assume that refining the management of potential bookings and revenue would be an organization’s top priority. This too has not happened; for many organizations creating the sales forecast continues to be a manual process of intense labor and data manipulation done within spreadsheets. The importance of the sales forecast to the financial and operational performance of a business is obvious; now gaining attention is the integrated business plan that finance and operations groups have been establishing, which my colleague has written about (See: “Integrated Business Planning – More Important Than Ever“). In creating the sales forecast and monitoring the continuous elements of the process, sales operations people need to do everything they can to accomplish integration, aggregation, approval and distribution of the sales forecast and to enable analysis of it as well.

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