How to Improve Sales Forecasting
All businesses have a system of sales forecasting that helps determine the kind of sales they expect to generate in a given cycle. However, no sales forecast can be 100% accurate – there will always be areas where there are discrepancies. Here are a few tips to help in forecasting your sales:
LOOK AT MULTIPLE ANGLES
There is no one magic number or estimate for your business. You need to break it down and look at how those targets will be met from different angles when looking at sales forecasting. Create a high and a low estimate and look at the average. You should also look at separate sales forecasts for different products and services, as well as numbers for different prospect profiles.
Just like you set aside a certain amount of time for prospecting and making calls, make time for your forecasting, but remember to space it out. Just like a cake isn’t going to bake faster if you keep checking on it, constantly keeping tabs on your forecasts isn’t going to help either. Allocate a specific time each month to review your forecasts.
WEED OUT THE ERRORS
A forecast error occurs when what was predicted to happen, does not happen – in this case, a conversion. Look at leads that haven’t converted and review it from the start. When you pinpoint what led to the prospect declining, you can improve your forecasting.
STRUCTURE YOUR PROCESS
The most important thing, of course, is to have a structure in place for your sales process. Create an active pipeline so that you can sort your prospects into those who you know will convert, those you are negotiating with, and others who may need more analysis. This way, you will get a clearer picture of which leads will convert and how soon you will meet your targets.
An easy way to streamline your pipeline is to use a platform like Salesvue. Automated follow-ups and customizable campaigns guide sales reps. You can easily track meetings, proposals and outcomes, so you know what works for you and what doesn’t. This makes forecasting easier, because you are relying on data – and not guesstimates!