How Do I Forecast Sales
You might ask yourself "how do I forecast sales"? Any sales forecasting is based on an educated guess. What can you do to make your sales forecasting more accurate. Whether your sales forecast methods include using a spreadsheet or using CRM tools like a Salesforce.com you need to factor in some items and ask key questions.
Forecast Sales - How Do I Do It
Here are a few key items to consider when sitting down to do your sales forecasting.
1. Break the forecast down into manageable parts - break it down by month and by product or service. For example, how I do my 12 month sales forecast for the upcoming new year is to first look at each month and each training workshop. I then forecast the sales for each training workshop for each month.
2. Look at your past history by month for any trends. If you are new to the company look at the company trends, work with your manager and factor in whether you are potentially bringing in any new clients or starting from scratch.
3. Look at your numbers objectively. It is important to try to be as objective and realistic as possible.
4. Talk with your existing customers and potential customers to understand their strategic plans for the coming year. Do they have approval to purchase your product or service from you or your competitor or has something changed?
5. Document your reasons, explanations, justifications for each number. I have found when I do not have any back up notes it is hard to recreate my numbers if anybody asks.
6. Review your current funnel. How real and objective is it?
7. Look at the data from your CRM tools. CRM tools like a Salesforce.com can analyze the abundance of data that can affect your sales performance.
8. Revisit and adjust your sales forecasting monthly. It is a work in progress.
Ask yourself these questions
1. Is there an opportunity this year for additional sales with current and past clients?
2. Is your market currently stable or it it growing or shrinking?
3. Has your competition grown, developed new products, lowered their price,etc.?
4. Has there been turnover at your existing clients?
5. What is going on in your industry and your clients and potential customers'industries? Are there new trends that will affect your sales positively or negatively?
How do I forecast sales? With preparation, analysis and asking the right questions you can develop a good sales forecast. Do not expect your sales forecasting to be perfect. It is an educate guess. Your CRM tools can help along with these suggestions and ideas.
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