By predicting future sales, companies can make informed decisions that will lead to increased revenue and growth. For each stage of your sales process, you assign a probability that a deal will close. Maybe it’s 5% if they reply to your initial cold email, rising to 50% if they agree to a product demo, and 75% if you book a pitch meeting with their key decision-makers.
The technique relies somewhat on intuition, as does the intuitive method, but the sales category method brings more structure and discipline to the process. As you get going, remember not to be overly focused on complex formulas. Do regular reality checks to make sure your sales forecasts accord with common sense. Bounce forecasts off sales reps to get realistic feedback, and revise.
With the right and accurate data, you can prevent your systems from producing inaccurate forecasts and misleading your sales rep. Furthermore, you’ll need clean data – no matter how good your software is, your results will be inaccurate if your reps don’t monitor their progress and activity. This method takes into account the opinion of your salespeople, who are closest to your prospects.
For instance, school districts typically assess new purchases in spring and decide what to buy in fall. If a complementary solution sees unexpectedly high demand, you‘ll probably see your sales go up too. The more peanut butter people buy, the more jelly they’ll buy definition of sales forecast as well. For example, if you sell consulting services to hotels, you’d be interested in an anticipated rise in tourism. You can then use this data to figure your monthly or quarterly forecast. Imagine you have two reps, each of which is working a single account.
These can range from a subjective factor like seller bias to a broader category like economic issues. We have outlined the most common sales forecasting challenges below so that you can anticipate them and deal with them proactively. They could decide to staff more customer service touchpoints, fund more external marketing events, or invest more in the community. They could get ahead of purchasing new equipment or upgrades that get more expensive the longer they wait. Without a sales forecast, leaders are making critical spending decisions in the dark.