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What Is Revenue Intelligence? A Complete Guide 

Two reps looking at a computer screen: revenue intelligence
Make the right moves in your pipeline to hit your targets every time. [Adobe]

Make the shift to data-driven selling and hit your forecast every time.

I want to talk about revenue intelligence — and eagles. Eagles look at the world from thousands of feet high, but they don’t see a blur beneath them. They home in on the single most important thing and swoop into action. (Poor rabbit.) 

In the blur of thousands of active deals, revenue intelligence gives me an eagle eye. It highlights risks and opportunities in my pipeline that I’d otherwise miss. This lets me home in on the most important insights that affect my sales forecast — a neglected deal, a pushed-back close date, or a customer who’s ready for an upsell. The result is that I can take action to hit my forecast and grow. 

Below, I share how revenue intelligence works for everyone on the sales team. Then I share how revenue intelligence software can help.

What you’ll learn:

Spot pipeline gaps that threaten your forecast 

Go from data to insights to action, and hit your sales forecasts — with Revenue Intelligence from Sales Cloud.

What is revenue intelligence?

Revenue intelligence uses data and AI to uncover risks and opportunities in deals throughout the sales pipeline. Sales teams can take action on revenue intelligence insights to close revenue gaps and hit their quotas and sales forecasts.

Revenue intelligence software works by analyzing customer data and measuring progress toward target metrics. That analysis surfaces insights that are served up in the same CRM where the sales team works. These insights come in many forms: dashboards of deals to focus on, alerts and recommendations for actions to take, visual representations of sales and forecast trends, and team performance leaderboards for key metrics. 

What are the benefits of revenue intelligence?

The big win from revenue intelligence is that eagle-eyed, real-time view: quickly spotting red flags and opportunities in your pipeline, helping you act in time to hit your targets. 

Think of the last time a deal of yours went sideways. Odds are it was because of something you didn’t see. Maybe it was a deal that seemed solid, but then a stakeholder derailed it at the last minute — someone you should have seen coming. Or maybe a customer made a comment in a meeting that should have raised eyebrows but flew under the radar instead.

Here’s how everyone on the team can benefit from this new level of visibility:

  • Sales leaders: Monitor the big picture of how pipeline coverage (the total revenue represented in your pipeline) is trending, and step in to close revenue gaps.
  • Sales managers: Study deals in each sales stage to quickly spot deals that are neglected, stalled, or pushed. Then, dedicate more focus to the most important accounts to stay on track to hit your forecast.
  • Sales reps: Always know what action to take next. Get a list of factors describing the health of every deal, and get recommended actions to keep deals moving. This is especially important when you’re managing a high deal volume.

What are the most important revenue intelligence metrics? 

Revenue intelligence tools constantly monitor sales metrics and KPIs that show whether you’re moving closer or farther away from your quota (if you’re a rep) or your sales forecast (if you’re a sales leader). Based on how you’re performing against metrics, revenue intelligence then serves up insights that spur the sales team into action before quotas and forecasts are missed.

Here are key metrics that shape insights in a revenue intelligence tool:  

  • Revenue metrics: These describe the health of your pipeline. They include deal velocity (how fast your team sells) and open pipeline (how much quota you have remaining to close).
  • Forecast metrics: These compare your current sales performance against past performance, surfacing trends about how your pipeline is progressing over time. Understanding these trends helps you determine why your pipeline is going up or down.
  • Deal metrics: These describe individual deal health, and are often supplemented by AI predictions of whether a deal is likely to stall, close, or be pushed. An advanced revenue intelligence tool (ahem) can also study the whitespace opportunity in a rep’s active deals, and make recommendations about which customers might be up for an upsell or cross-sell.
  • Rep performance insights: These appear in up-to-date reports for teams and individuals, with metrics like win rate, days to close, and average sales size. This helps managers and leaders coach underperformers and reward high-performers to drive consistent quota attainment.

Exceed targets with pipeline intel you can act on

See how Revenue Intelligence gives you complete pipeline visibility, helping you take action to hit your sales forecast.

How can revenue intelligence software help?

Revenue intelligence software is your escape route out of intuition-based sales. Many customers have told me they’ve been selling by going with their gut and forecasting based on how they feel — and they want out. Here’s a preview of how this software works in Salesforce:

Dashboard view showing revenue trends

This shows how you’re trending in every metric that affects your sales forecast (for example, sales cycle speed, commit numbers, and individual performance). Advanced tools, like Revenue Intelligence from Sales Cloud, also surface stalled deals that are putting your forecast at risk because of blockers and offer recommended actions to get them back on track.  

What-if modeling shows the impacts of changes

Commit calculator view

A commit calculator within the CRM helps sales leaders set a revenue goal, then measure the impacts of adding or removing deals from the pipeline. This helps you adapt to last-minute changes in the pipeline while still reaching your targets. For example, if a large deal falls through, you know it’s time to act and find new opportunities to close the gap. You can also estimate the impact that a last-minute opportunity would have on your pipeline based on historic trends.

Performance dashboards guide coaching

Sales rep performance dashboard

Help reps stay on course to meet their quota by getting alerts when deals are stalled or sale amounts have changed. Along with alerts, reps can see AI-powered predictions for a deal’s likelihood to close or stall, along with reasons for why (for example, a key decision-maker has not been contacted). To spur reps into action, a revenue intelligence tool can then make recommendations for actions to take (for example, our own tool promotes for things like “Log Activity” and “Identify Executive Sponsor”). 

Deal success factors to discover what’s working

AI-based prediction modal

Get reports on the key factors that determine whether deals were won or lost. Sales ops can use these insights to key patterns and themes, define best practices, and set them into motion across the entire team.

Grow revenue — with data to guide you 

Revenue intelligence is the next best thing to having a data scientist sit at every seller’s desk. With AI and analytics crunching our CRM data in the background, pointing you to the right things, and helping us take action right then and there, we can spend less time hunting down information and more time connecting with customers. 

See how Salesforce manages forecasts — and revenue — with confidence

The secret to predictable revenue? Reliable, well-maintained pipelines and accurate forecasts. See how we manage both efficiently (with the help of the right technology), and use our best practices in your business.

Dave Borelli, Global SVP, Sales Performance Management, Salesforce
Dave Borelli Global SVP, Sales Performance Management, Salesforce

Dave Borrelli has 17+ years of software experience in both individual contributor and sales leadership roles. He built the commercial business for Salesforce Canada, and is now focused on scaling Sales Performance Management globally.

More by Dave

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