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Revenue Platform Groupthink Has Lost the Plot

Updated: 5 days ago

Of AI, BI, and UIs


Choices are great for customers. Almost every week I uncover another new “revenue platform” vendor—or two. They all promise the same things: better forecasting, pipeline growth, reduced deal slippage, and increased win rates. Fantastic!


But it also seems that every new vendor copies capabilities of the others. There’s groupthink about what customers need. That would be great if the capabilities offered were demonstrably helping improve sales. They’re not.


Here’s what’s wrong with the groupthink:


Forecasts don’t grow sales, precise AI forecasts definitely don’t grow sales


Revenue platform vendors claim early and hyper-accurate AI predictions (within 2%!). A perfect forecast on week one of the quarter misses the point. Your forecast should help you sell more or improve your chances of making your “call”—not just tell you what you will sell if you keep doing business as usual.


If you beat your week-one forecast, then your forecast was inaccurate—by definition. A forecast can’t be both hyper-accurate and help you sell more.



BI metrics should be tied to sales and presented in context


BI metrics summarize what happened. That’s useful! But they are distractions unless they are correlated to sales. For instance, do multiple Close Date pushes hurt a deal’s chances of being won? Maybe, but you'll only know if you measure it. (Probably not for most businesses—it may actually be a positive. We've measured it!.)


Context helps you understand if a statistic is of concern or noise. If segment A’s win rate is 5% higher than the average, is that meaningful? Confidence intervals would give you the context needed to know.


BI metrics proliferate. Most of them, however, are uncorrelated to sales (or unproven), or presented without context. Some of them are just nonsense. Distractions at best. Misguidance at worst.


The Owl and the Pussy Cat
The Owl and The Pussy Cat. Illustration by Edward Lear for his charming 1870 poem of the same title. The poem tells the nonsense story of two improbable lovers who sailed away in a pea-green boat for a year and a day, to the land where the Bong-Tree grows.

Sellers don’t need another UI to submit forecasts and update opportunities


Revenue platform vendors want to own users for forecast submission, rollup, and management opinion (calls)—something already supported by every CRM.


Sure, the Salesforce UI is crufty. But, is that really why your sales team is not updating their opportunities and forecasts?


Do you really want to pay for another UI?

 

The alternative?

  • Forget about hyper-accurate AI forecasts. Focus on realistic forecasts. Look for insights that define strategies to improve your odds of beating your goal.

  • Instead of countless BI reports. Fewer metrics—about things you control—that are correlated with sales and presented with context.

  • You’ve got a UI. Save your money for analysis that helps you sell more.

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Cover image by Tom Fishburne, used with permission.

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