We are approaching the last month of the quarter, where most organization’s Sales Forecast can no longer rely on the hope of “making it up next quarter.”
If improving your sales team’s Sales Forecast predictability in 2019 is a priority, we suggest you consider the following core elements to your approach:
- Adhere to your sales process (or build a buyer journey centric process) — You need sales stages that everyone understands so that understanding can drive clarity to your sales organization for opportunity advancement.
- Separate Pipeline and Forecast reviews — Think depth vs. breadth. Complete Pipeline reviews every other week and Forecast monthly. Don’t mix these two different motions.
- Have a cadence — Informal or prolonged Forecast reviews make it difficult to understand where the opportunities have been, and where they are going. For contrast, if you are trying to lose weight, would you weigh yourself once every other month or weekly?
- Make sure the Forecast process is top-down to the field — Each salesperson should own their forecast and build up accountability from there.
- Train everyone on the process — Assume that unless trained otherwise, every sales leader will have a different method for preparing a Forecast. You need consistent adoption and implementation for success.
- Coach to the process — This will help quickly identify if your approach needs adjustment. As you adjust, you should see the impact in your Forecast accuracy.
- Track and measure — You are what you measure. Look at metrics beyond Win Rate. Dig further into stage duration, opportunity age, number of times close dates are pushed, and in what stages opportunities enter the Pipeline.
In past 2-Bullet Tuesday emails, we’ve emphasized that a thorough Pipeline review is foundational to a successful forecast. The Forecasting process will be considerably simplified with a thorough Pipeline review in advance. Don’t try and fix the Forecast process until you’ve fixed the Pipeline review process.