When it comes to running a business, one important aspect is sales forecasting, which can help owners and leaders predict their revenue to plan for employee pay, operating expenses, buying more inventory and attracting investors.
Accurately forecasting sales, however, is easier said than done, according to Phil Everhart, who founded SmartFox Technologies
as a solution to this issue.
“In 2019, a study from a notable company called Inside Sales Lab was performed on 270,912 closed-won opportunities making up over $18.1 billion in closed sales revenue from many companies involved,” Everhart said. “Sales forecasts were wrong 72% of the time outside of 90 days of closure and 47% of the time within 90 days of closure.”
The reason why forecasts are usually inaccurate is that sales representatives often log in subjective forecasts based on emotion rather than objective data points, including previous data such as accomplishments and milestones, Everhart said.
Having previous experience in the field as a sales manager, Everhart knew many of the pain points in sales forecasting, and as a response, created the SmartFox Technologies application SmartFox Prime, a business forecast management system that uses artificial intelligence (AI) with the goal of making predictions more accurate.
The application is available within Salesforce, a cloud-based customer relationship management (CRM) company, under a software-as-a-service model where users can pay per month.
“The SmartFox Prime further provides specific functionality such as SmartFox Prime’s algorithms and calculations, which define the way the application makes recommendations and forecasts suggestions for sales representatives to utilize,” Everhart said.
Being on the Salesforce platform gives SmartFox the opportunity to grow alongside the growing CRM.
In addition, technologies like AI are being used more by businesses.
“Artificial intelligence in business is now one of the biggest topics in the business world especially due to the effects of COVID-19,” Everhart said. “Based on research performed by Salesforce, AI is the top growth area for sales teams – its adoption is forecasted to grow 139% over the next three years.”
In a previous interview, Everhart, who currently works with five advisers, said he hopes to hire a development team and sales representatives. The company also has the goal of having at least 500 users by the end of 2021.
Another growth strategy for the startup has been to establish a public relations effort, including working with PR firm AuthorityTech, to grow awareness of the use of AI in businesses as well as its product.
“We’re writing monthly articles for Salesforce, talking about behavior science and forecasting using AI,” Everhart said. “We wrote one recently and they put us on the front page of their ecosystem. So that’s how we’re getting the word out on how our product can fix these issues.”
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