Sales forecasting is a key element in conducting your business.
The realism that good forecasting provides can help you develop and improve your strategic plans by increasing your knowledge of the marketplace. The forecast that your sales team provides is the source of information that allows you to manage virtually all aspects of your business.
Research from the Gartner Group found that ‘improved forecasting led to tangible achievements, such as a 15% reduction in inventory and a 2% increase in revenue.’
For many SMEs, where resources are limited and cash flow is king, these improvements represent a significant boon to the future prospects of the company.
Technical solutions that can help increase your accuracy
Easier sales forecasting with Salesforce
★ Cumulative Forecast from Salesforce is a more robust feature that allows data to be based on an aggregation of forecast categories: closed forecast – includes only closed deals, commit forecast: reports both committed deals and closed deals, best case forecast – shows closed sales, committed orders, and best case estimates; and open pipeline – shows all four options along the pipeline. Cumulative revenue forecasting gives a more accurate answer to the question, “Based on the opportunities, what will sales most likely deliver?”
★ Quotas and attainments are able to be loaded into Salesforce, allowing more detailed data. Often, sales are not easy to attribute to just one rep. Salesforce business forecasting software allows revenue split and overlay split, allowing quota attainment visibility to be seen by all reps and managers involved in the sale. Hovering gives detail into the sale in order to accurately forecast by department or branch.
★ Custom fields are allowed to be plugged into Salesforce, allowing easy quota attainment visibility, more accurate forecasting and greater user adoption. Salesforce forecasting can also sort by product family to show details.
Charles Kettering, the innovator and head of research at GM from 1920 to 1947 said, “A problem well-stated is a problem half-solved.” When CRM users are able to articulate the problems keeping them from accurate forecasts, custom forecasting software solutions can be adapted into Salesforce and have a tremendous impact on forecast accuracy.