A realistic sales forecast can help you plan resources, and spot problems, while you still have time to do something about them. Making sales forecasting into an exact science is always going to be a challenge. There are so many variables to achieving a forecast that is reliable, reasoned and realistic.
Do you struggle to be objective when forecasting sales opportunities? Strong relationships, warm referrals, gut feeling, competitive advantages can all give you that warm fuzzy feeling about a deal, yet how often does something go wrong?
The timeline slips, your influencer leaves, the budget gets reallocated, the business gets acquired, or just too busy. Alongside this, you’re relying on your sales team to be objective, not optimistic, about the steps taken to qualify the deal.
How does Flowlens support more reliable sales forecasting?
Alongside our user-friendly lead management, task, email and interaction tracking and quotation tools, Flowlens Sales Forecast reporting help you understand the decisions your sales team make about the deals they expect to win.
Define and quantify your sales cycle
Flowlens helps you define what your sales process looks like, step by step, and what makes a substantive change from one state to another. If you haven’t analysed the journey of successful sales, and the ones that go wrong, how can you make reliable predictions about future deals?
For example, here’s our sales cycle, comprising of 5 main stages. For us, first step is to qualify the need exists, and the company has a firm timeline, budget and authority to proceed. Next we use online demos and workshops with influencers and decision makers to validate how Flowlens will do the jobs they need done.
After validating the need and requirement, and reviewing the costs associated with the solution we move to proposal stage, however we don’t register a substantial step forward until we know we’ve been short-listed. A verbal or email confirmation marks the next stage, however the deal isn’t 100% until the contract is signed.
At each stage we assign a percentage value, allowing us to quantify the value of the pipeline based on probabilities, not gut feeling.
Visualise your sales forecast
Working all these calculations out and displaying them over time is something Flowlens does for you. So you can see how your forecast is shaping up over time, and across the stages of the sales cycle.
Driving better sales qualification
Flowlens gives you the tools to capture lead qualification information as the deal progresses.
Create simple forms that capture essential information as you move along the cycle. This tool will keep your sales team’s focus on answering the right questions consistently and ensuring they have clear answers. If there’s no clear answer, there’s no basis for moving an opportunity along the pipeline.
Track accuracy of deal stages, values and forecast close dates
Flowlens sales lead activity log tracks the changes you make to the sales stages, values and forecast date. How often has a ‘hot’ deal slipped from month to month? Help your team make more accurate predictions by testing previous decisions and learning against the latest hot prospect.
In summary, Flowlens provides user-friendly tools to support day-to-day sales activity and help your sales team work more efficiently. The tools help you manage more effectively, challenging qualification assumptions, and supporting an accurate forecast model that works for your business.
Flowlens is a fully integrated business management solution for small OEMs and Assemble to Order / Build to Order companies. Flowlens runs in the cloud, negating the need for expensive servers and support.
Most ERP systems are too expensive for small companies. Our affordable subscription service means you can access a higher level of management control and reporting, across pre-sales, sales, production and after sales helping your business grow, profitably.
Flowlens minimises the duplication of effort and manual tasks common in most small manufacturers. Flowlens centralises all important customer, product and supplier information (in sync with whatever financial package you use). Flowlens shares common data across various functions of sales, stock, manufacturing, invoicing and after-sales.
Small businesses don’t have the people and time to devote to implement large software systems. Flowlens is modular, you can adopt it gradually, minimising downtime and cost and helping manage change internally. Flowlens is user-friendly and easy for your team to learn. We provide cost effective remote or on site training.
Your existing customer and parts data can be migrated to Flowlens, and we’ll guide you on this as part of our implementation and training services.
Flowlens works alongside your existing accounting package. We integrate with Sage, Quickbooks Online, Kashflow and Xero.
How Flowlens helps you plan production and meet customer expectations
Flowlens integrated features work together to make your day-to-day job easier, removing manual and repetitive tasks, and sharing information throughout the process.
To achieve the end result, the following elements work together:
Define Your Parts & Products
Flowlens lets you define your raw materials, standard components, sub-assemblies and products. Our product configurator tools lets you define the options, upgrades (and price uplifts) for your product. This puts you in control of what your Sales team can sell, and ensures they do so at the right price to get you the right profit.
Generate Job Cards and Material Demand
Flowlens Job Cards control material needs for each job, allowing you to plan stock availability based on required materials, start dates and due dates. Flowlens can automatically generate job card material lists based on the configuration of products sold. Upon completion of the job card, Flowlens will automatically back-flush the bill of materials, adjusting stock levels accordingly.
Many small businesses we help are focused solely on managing stock yet many of them have direct labour costs that are equal if not more than the cost of materials yet manage labour costs subjectively. Flowlens provides a simple all in one system to track all direct labour costs objectively by project so that you can start managing your labour costs for in the same way you do the products you purchase.
Control Stock Levels and Purchasing
Flowlens tracks stocks levels for your parts, Purchase Orders and Goods Received to ensure you know exactly what you have on hand, what is on order and what is available for production. Flowlens stock management tools help you efficiently control stock value accuracy, manage stock takes and adjustments.
Automated Sales Quotation Builder
Your Sales team benefit from a user-friendly Quotation Builder. Select the Product(s) your customer is interested in, and work through the options and upgrades to arrive at a finished price and automatically generated Quotation. When the Customer places their order, the saved configuration will automatically carry through to the Job Card for material planning, and to make sure that your customers get what they wanted.
The Flowlens MRP shows all active job cards, material requirements and due dates. Stock can be kitted/reserved via Job Cards, to ensure it is available to production.
Integrated After Sales Support
How much do you invest securing new customers? Flowlens provides the simple all in one tools to help ensure your team give them the customer service they need, to keep them as a long term customer, and to ensure you are maximising your profitability. Flowlens Service Management software helps you monitor customer responsiveness, fault-cause-action diagnosis, and control after sales job quotations and costs.
Flowlens works alongside your existing accounting package. This means you can stick with what you know (and save the money you’ve invested already), whilst adding a powerful suite of management tools to help your business grow.
Flowlens is a modular SME cloud software system that manages sales, stock, purchasing, production and after-sales service. Flowlens integrates with Sage 50 & 200, Quickbooks Online, Kashflow and Xero.
With modules starting at £149 per month for 5 users, Flowlens is highly affordable for SMEs looking to grow.
Flowlens helps you avoid duplicating work, and rekeying data. So, Flowlens integrates with your accounts software to pass through sales order invoices and approved purchase invoice data automatically. This saves time, and avoids rekeying errors.
How Does It Work?
All tasks associated with managing sales orders, purchases and stock movements/taking are handled in Flowlens.
You accounts package remains the master for creating your monthly and annual accounts, and other functions such as payroll. Flowlens Stock and Project reporting tools can also provide you with a current Work In Progress and Stock values to be added into management accounts when required.
Benefits of integrating your accounts package
Keep the system you are familiar with.
Many businesses have invested their time and money in an accounts package. By integrating with Flowlens you will enhance this investment rather than having to start from scratch as with most ‘all in one’ systems.
Minimise License Costs and Control Access to Sensitive Info
Many businesses try to use their accounts software to do jobs they weren’t designed for. This usually means giving more staff access to the system, increasing license costs and/or risking sensitive business data being accessible. By integrating with Flowlens your staff will have access to purpose built tools to do their job, limiting access to relevant information only.
Grow at your own pace
By keeping your existing accounts package, you are maintaining a solid and familiar foundation for your business. Your finance team, and accountancy practice will be familiar with your setup. Flowlens offers a modular ‘flow and grow’ subscription service which lets you gradually adopt features and add more users as required. This lets you focus on top priorities, without paying for, or getting distracted by less important features.
How does integration work?
As part of our Customer Success implementation service, we we work with you to setup the integration with your accounts system. Each accounts package has it’s own integration process. We take care to guide you through this process to help you ensure accurate and consistent transfer of information between the systems.
Accountants! Do you provide cloud accountancy advice and services to your clients? Flowlens lets you expand the potential of modern accounting products. We’re eager to partner with practices who want to help their clients grow and streamline their businesses. Please contact us to learn more.
We built Flowlens in response to SME customers who needed an easy to use, ERP-CRM toolkit to help them grow.
Our customers may be small, but they think big. They make, refurbish, supply and service all kinds of tangible assets. From industrial plant & machinery, to ATVs, to street furniture, to intricate aerospace components, and even buildings.
We are proud of the range of industries and applications our product supports. But what’s the one thing they all have in common?
They all want to GROW!
They want to grow their turnover. They want to grow their profitability. They want to enhance their customer service.
Our customers inspire us with their vision and determination to bring their product to market. They energise us with their passion for their businesses, their products, and their customers. We provide the tools that reduce wasteful manual effort and nurture customers for long term gain.
Our customers have integrated business processes, but the old tools were disjointed, manual and inefficient.
Building a sales pipeline and converting orders. Managing production, stock and operations. Delivering timely and effective customer care. These are too often disjointed, duplicated and inefficient processes. Flowlens unites these business critical functions in one system, removing waste to create an platform for business growth.
Our customers don’t accept the inefficiencies of outdated processes and ‘silo’ thinking.
Our customers don’t accept the inefficiencies of outdated processes and ‘silo’ thinking. They demand tools that nurture leads, convert sales, deliver on promises and develop relationships. They demand reliable business performance information. They demand simplicity, because complexity slows them down.
Our customers may be SMEs, but their vision and capability is huge, and Flowlens provides the tools to achieve that vision.
If you share that drive, determination and vision, we’d be delighted to have you on board. Please shoot me a message at email@example.com or book a demo.
Flowlens is designed to make day-to-day life simpler for small business.
Spending hours searching for information, or collating spreadsheets, isn’t anyone’s idea of fun. That’s why we’ve made Flowlens easy to use, and easy to capture and find information of different kinds.
The following tools can be found throughout these Flowlens features to easily and consistently find information, and get your job done faster.
Reporting and Exporting Data
Most features (e.g. Enquiries, Leads, Quotes, Orders, Parts) in Flowlens offer a range of ad hoc filters, which enable data to be searched quickly. Headline stats are also displayed for the selected data set. Get a quick report on your data, or if you want to do more analysis, at the bottom of each page you’ll find an option ‘Download as CSV’ and in some cases also ‘Download as PDF’ making it easy to extract or print data for offline use.
Find Everything In One Place
Store details about the people and organisations you do business with. These might be suppliers, customers, partners, or indeed competitors. Everything is easily accessible via the organisation/customer dashboard:
Nearly all information created by or in Flowlens links back to a company. For example you’ll find Contacts, Addresses, Enquiries, Sales Leads, Orders, Purchase Orders (if it’s a Supplier) and Asset Register for after-sales service. You’ll also see that Companies have tabs for Emails, Comments, Uploads and Interactions.
Manage Your Tasks
Tasks are another important feature that you’ll find throughout Flowlens. Always ensure that objects you’re working on have the ‘next task’ set, so you won’t forget critical activity when it is due. This is very handy for Sales Leads where timelines may be several weeks or months, making it difficult to stay on top of everything.
Your My Tasks page is a handy way to keep on top of tasks. You can also get a feed of your Tasks in your Outlook, Google or other Calendar application.
You can create Tasks for yourself, or assign them to other users, making delegation easier.
Keep relevant communications within Flowlens for ease of reference in the future. To send a new email, start typing the name of a contact to select a recipient, followed by your subject and message. You can also attach files that have been uploaded against that feature. If the contact replies to an email you have sent from Flowlens, you will receive the reply in your normal inbox, and in Flowlens.
You can also store external emails for future reference. Within the Emails tab you’ll find an email address such as:
You can use this email address to copy emails sent from your existing email client to software. You can either CC this email, or Forward emails to it. Emails will then appear in the relevant Email tab listing for future reference.
Store and find/download relevant files against a feature, by clicking ‘Choose Files’ and selecting the file(s), or drag and drop on to the page.
You never know when you might want to refer to notes about customers, suppliers, projects or service tasks. To make a note for future reference, use the Comments tab. This simple tool can be handy for storing meeting notes against a Sales Lead, or details of issues raised against an Order or a Part.
Stop Searching, Start Finding, Grow Faster
Many businesses waste time on the basics. These features can get your team joined-up and working faster.
As an integrated system, Flowlens can help you manage all aspects of your business process, including Stock, Sales Orders, Enquiries, Customers, Production, Purchasing, After-sales Service and Marketing Campaigns. (It also integrates with your Accounts package). Unlike most systems, you don’t need to buy all the features, only the ones you need.