Sales Forecasting: Guesswork Vs. Data & Technology
Sales forecasting is an integral part of the process – and often the most difficult to get right. Tracking your pipeline is never a straight, clean path. You won’t always get what you expect. There will be days when your pipeline looks full and clear and every lead looks like they are about to convert. On other days, when prospects do not seem to be responding, it may seem like you are going to miss your targets. The reality of forecasting is that there is no real precision; it boils down to calculated guesswork. Many sales representatives enter the arena armed with the age-old (and improper!) cliche: under-promise and over-deliver. Unfortunately, this leads to several inconsistencies in your pipeline, with missed sales opportunities going unreported, other sales ops going under-reported and fudged numbers. When sales representatives mindfully lower their forecasts to avoid missing targets, productivity takes a hit.
MAKING USE OF DATA
Forecasting does seem like calculated guesswork, but you can take advantage of existing data to create more workable forecasts. If you have collected sales data over the years, utilize the most recent numbers to analyze and project forecasts. On the other hand, if you are launching a new product in the market, you will not have past sales data, but you can record and analyze other data that may influence sales numbers. Take note of the important decision factors that lead to a sale and how well your product matches up. You can even benchmark your product with a similar product in the market to make an educated forecast.
TAKING ADVANTAGE OF TECHNOLOGY
Tracking all your leads is the best way to get a clearer picture of your sales projections and forecasts. You need to use technology and tools that help you track meetings and conversations easily, which, in turn, generates data that you can use. When you record customer preferences and past behavior, you can look at your pipeline and tell when a buyer is about to disengage, or when they are ready to close the deal. This allows you to step up your game or change your approach. You can also spot the effectiveness and efficiency of each sales representative. This enables you to identify their strengths and weaknesses and coach them towards better outcomes.
Salesvue makes tracking easier with its one click call log screens and automated follow-ups. This acts as a guide for sales reps, making it easy for them to identify which touchpoints to utilize and which ones to drop. You can eliminate guesswork and learn exactly where your forecasts are coming from.