Category Archives: sales forecasts
5 Sales Forecasting Techniques to Improve
The key to improving the accuracy in sales forecasting rests with knowing what you need to measure to find out what you want to know. With today’s technology and the near ubiquity of Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems, it’s more important than ever to give forethought into how you construct your sales forecasts. Otherwise, the data that you get from your time and technology investment may not be what you need to make the right decisions or achieve a real difference in results.
Here are five things that matter most in sales forecasting:
Don’t bother with CRM if you don’t have a sales process. Without an effective sales process in place, how can you trust your CRM technology to provide relevant insights into where deals are stalled or progressing in your pipeline? How can you begin to measure verifiable outcomes and assess the performance (or coaching needs) of your sales force? How will you recognize leading indicators of customer engagement and gain greater confidence in forecasts? There’s an old saying: If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will take you there. Without a sales process, the metrics you pull from your CRM will often be just numbers. Forecast with metrics that matter. Many sales forecasts are built on probability analysis using weighted metrics. The scenario might go something like this: My historical win rate for opportunities in Stage Two of » Continue Reading.
1) Start by knowing your personal close ratio and that of your organization:
Top performing companies — 46% average close ratio Average — 29% average close ratio Lagging — 19% average close ratio
2) Take your preparation up several notches. Build your industry, company, and stakeholder knowledge and prepare insights and ideas to share with your clients.
3) Know where your clients are in their buying cycle and look at your sales process through their eyes.
4) Ask informed questions that indicate you have knowledge and experience to share and to motivate your clients to engage with you. Focus on the “why” and “why not” questions, not just the “what.” Understand as much as you possibly can about the business outcome before your visit and probe to understand the decision process, access the executive, understand the risks the client is concerned about and value you must be prove.
5) Ask who the competitors are, what their solutions include, and then ask the tough questions to find out how the customer feels you compare to the competitor.
6) Speed up your responsiveness — when a client asks for something, find out when he or she needs it and beat that time frame. Anticipate and deliver before the client asks for it.
7) Find ways to take the load off the client to keep things moving. For example, if he or she says “Let’s set a phone call to…” not only set » Continue Reading.
According to CSO Insights, sales forecasting accuracy hit an all-time low of 46% in 2012. Just about every business and industry experiences peaks and valleys in their sales cycles, but, even with large investments in sales and marketing automation technology, the problem is getting worse and not better. Did you just throw good money after bad in hopes of achieving sales forecasting nirvana? What on earth is going on?
Last week, I shared how sales organizations can stop driving with their rear-view mirror and turn on their headlights with predictive analytics. At Richardson, we call them verifiable outcomes.
For as long as business has been conducted, most sales organizations have attempted to measure their progress and success – yet, they have done so by reviewing results on a retroactive basis rather than utilizing verifiable outcomes. Pipeline conversion, target achievement, and forecast accuracy are common measures. The issue is that these are outcomes that have already occurred. Imagine driving a car by looking through your rear-view mirror. Not a great way to get where you want to go.