HireVue’s video technology software has changed the way hundreds of companies hire and train employees.
Yet the Salt Lake City-based company has also experienced a game changer internally when it comes to its sales planning. By adopting a new approach to financial planning and forecasting, HireVue has produced this eye-popping statistic: Forecast variances dropped from 20% to 2%.
HireVue’s Team Acceleration software allows managers and recruiters to screen job candidates through internet video interviews and predictive analytics—and now the company can do rolling 12-month sales forecasts. This gives them a clearer picture of revenue and sales projections thanks to a cloud-based FP&A solution from Adaptive Insights.
Thom Keyes, director of FP&A for HireVue, shared his insights on the new and improved business operation.
How did your company perform its sales forecasting previously?
Before Adaptive Insights, we made educated guesses on our sales growth and focused on once-a-year planning. While they weren’t wild guesses, they certainly weren’t as tight as we would have liked. We knew we had to make some changes. We now plan on a continuous basis, so we can tell where we are and where we’re going. And it’s important that we do so: We’ve partnered with more than 600 of the world’s most successful companies and attracted more than $45 million in our most recent equity funding. So clearly, accurate forecasting connects directly to our bottom line.
Can you provide more insight into the benefits of better forecasting?
With the monthly rolling forecast, the finance team can easily analyze and report on expected closed sales by representative, by ramp rate, and by quota attainment. And this is important, too: The reporting is also streamlined. With OfficeConnect, the team provides the CFO with quick access to key metrics, including monthly and annual recurring revenue, sales by customer segment, sales by representative and geography, and customer acquisition cost analysis. The executive team is leaning on us more and more, and my team and I are an integral part of this forward view of the business.
How does your focus on better planning and forecasting support HireVue’s growth goals?
A skilled, global workforce is essential for continuing to build a positive growth trajectory in this competitive recruitment and training arena. There’s no other way around it. But building that team requires effective sales planning to make the right hiring calls to accurately project sales performance related to revenue goals. Now we can accomplish crucial sales planning tasks thanks to modernized, strategic FP&A practices.
It sounds like this isn’t a cookie-cutter approach in evaluating every salesperson in every market.
That’s correct. We’ve found we could leverage Adaptive to roll out a driver-based sales planning model that takes every salesperson into account at a personal performance level. Rather than make educated guesses on sales growth, we’re able to create a detailed, bottom-up sales planning model that is driver-focused—based on the performance metrics of each sales rep. Not only does the model incorporate quota attainment and sales ramping levels, but it also takes into account seasonality so that sales are weighted higher toward times of the year when new customer acquisition is historically higher. And here’s another variable: Each sales rep’s quota is tied to assumptions based on territories and customer size targets. In other words, salespeople on small and medium-sized businesses are measured and forecast in a different way than those serving larger enterprise customers.
So what does all that mean for your company’s sales projections?
Our finance team has the ability to do rolling 12-month sales forecasts to see a clear picture of revenue and sales projections to plan business performances more accurately, with actuals from NetSuite regularly adding to the planning data. With Adaptive Planning and OfficeConnect, there is tremendous confidence that we have a much more accurate view of the business. It’s easy to build our own reports and extract data to show how our sales planning model works under different scenarios.
Can you measure the impact of improved reporting and forecasting?
Absolutely. Here’s an example of a number that makes it worthwhile: Variances in our monthly sales forecasting have gone from 20% to 2%. Because the sales plan is far more accurate, finance and sales teams are able to collaboratively perform scenario analysis based on sales team growth and productivity assumption drivers. It’s now a piece of cake to run a scenario analysis to determine when and where to grow the sales team, and what impact each new hire will have on the top line and bottom line of the company.
Do you have advice for others who might want to improve their forecasting?
You have to keep evolving, that’s for sure. It’s not just about getting a new FP&A solution, it also requires leveraging the many capabilities of that solution to get the full benefit. Our mission is to grow our customer base and keep them happy. With Adaptive Planning, we’ve upped the game. We’ve made the move from thinking about planning once a year to planning on a continuous basis, so we can tell where we are and where we’re going. Once you see the benefits and improvements, it’s easy to be an advocate for this change and forward progress.
Visit the Customer Success section of our website to learn how other companies are using Adaptive Insights to transform FP&A.