How to Master Your Sales Forecasting

Sales forecasting image - man drawing chart on glass

Sales forecasting can seem ambiguous, especially when your expectations don’t line up with your targets. In Forbes.com, author and business consultant Scott Edinger writes, “To say that forecasting is the bane of existence of most sales managers and leaders is a bit of an understatement. For most representatives, the choice between working on the forecast and getting a root canal would lead to a trip to the dentist.” Here, we examine Scott Edinger’s tips for better sales forecasting and delve into how to up your prediction game.

Good forecasting requires a good sales strategy

As Edinger points out, sales forecasting is only as good as your strategy. Before you go any further, examine how you’ve forecasted in the past. Endinger recommends things like a SWOT analysis, a review of customer criteria, and strategic consideration. Consider surveying your team to see where they’ve experienced setbacks and successes and what suggestions they might have for leadership in future strategy.

Is your buyer buying?

“Learn how buyers buy,” Edinger advises. An examination of your customers’ buying habits and patterns can be both thought-provoking and surprising. Where are they spending capital—both within your organization and outside of it?

Good forecasting requires an effective process

Once you are clear about the way that your customer is buying you can develop your sales forecasting process. The design will be dictated by the nature of your business and your relationship with customers. It may consist of a milestone driven process or a “time-series” forecasting approach or some combination of the two.

Good forecasting requires continual improvement

As Edinger points out in his piece, a forecast is a “snapshot,” and sales forecasting represents only a small piece of the overall picture. Other variables that influence your business are constantly in flux, from the economy, to customers’ needs and interests, to your own interests and business model design. The only way to move forward is to do just that: put one proverbial foot in front of the other—and to improve upon those steps with each inch.

This article is adapted with permission from: “How to Master Your Sales Forecasting” article at Tenfold blog