Published On: September 1, 20203 min readBy upilot
Forecasting your sales is one of the most crucial aspects of sales management. But accurately forecasting sales is easier said than done. So let’s try and unlock the mystery behind accurate sales forecasts.
But accurately forecasting sales is easier said than done. So let’s try and unlock the mystery behind accurate sales forecasts.
But, before we start, let me share with you an experience. Years ago, I started as a sales intern at a company that sold office supplies. It was my first step into the world of sales, and boy I loved it!
After a few days of training (basically days of watching and learning), I was assigned the responsibility to qualify inquiries and hand over to sales – a typical SDR role.
I picked up the skills naturally and to everyone’s amazement (to a large extent mine!) I had begun chasing small deals and closing them. Everything was hunky dory. I was happy; I found the sense of belonging – sharing the highs and lows of ‘selling’!
And one day, an inquiry came in. It was for sizable numbers of a non-standard item – the kind for which there was no inventory held.
After consulting with my manager, I sent out the best price. I damn sure about winning this deal that I went on to include it in my forecasts for the month! I was young, ambitious and optimistic!
Couple weeks later, it turned out that there was no real opportunity and the guy was just price shopping.
The feeling was dismal, not because I couldn’t close, but if not for my manager, my forecast would have ended in the purchase of items that would never get sold, at least for a long time.
So the first secret to great sales forecasts are the people – the reps who are chasing deals.
Oftentimes, reps make the mistake of being too confident OR being too pessimistic (because they don’t want to put their neck on the line!).
As a managers & sales leaders, you need to be smart weighing the deals in the pipeline that your reps are chasing. And you need to factor in their past performance to verify their projections.
Forecasting takes time, and you’ll never know if you’re getting it right!
Especially, when you have you have (say) 10 reps that are chasing 1000 deals in the pipeline. How do would you go about verifying their projections? Obviously, meetings and emails are not the best way to do it!
But the technology just makes it seamlessly easy. And yes, it is the second piece of the puzzle to great forecasts.
A CRM software helps visibility into your pipeline and sales process.
Almost all CRMs in the market today supports sales forecasting in one way or the other, but not all CRMs are the same! Most CRMs in the market are just glorified contact management systems.
A great CRM will help you do more! Example, features such as pipeline and performance insights helps optimize your sales process. So you’ll always know where things are going wrong when the actuals don’t meet the projections.