It’s forecasting time for the VP of Sales. The company needs an accurate forecast for production planning, hiring and spending. Sales forecasting can be a challenging task and as a Sales Manager or the VP of Sales, you're asked to look into the future, predict the probable behavior of numerous sales team members and countless customers, and commit “a number” to your management team.
These numbers are then rolled up into an overall forecast and countless decisions are based on that number (from production capacity, to hiring decisions, to investment decisions, etc.). Talk about pressure, huh? Without a clearly defined digital process and data, providing an accurate sales forecast is risky business for all.
Other than gut feel and past experience, many sales managers or VPs don’t have a defined process for how they arrive at these numbers, or an explanation as to why they think their forecast will be more accurate this time than it was last month or quarter.
Beyond reviewing each opportunity and asking the sale professional “when will it close and for how much?” there’s not much more you can do without a digital process.
The good news is, when your sales process is clearly defined within Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Customer Engagement, you can answer these top 10 commonly asked questions – and more – to better arrive at a more accurate forecast:
- How long does it take to win/lose deals?
- Who spends the most time in each phase?
- How long does it take to get a proposal?
- Which customers take the longest to close?
- Who discounts the most to close a deal?
- Who is optimistic early in the sales cycle?
- Pipeline – this week/month versus last?
- Why has the pipeline increased or decreased?
- Are reps increasing or decreasing commits?
- Which deals are being pushed/stalled?
Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Customer Engagement provides a clearly defined digital process and answers to these top 10 sales forecasting questions. If you are met with the hard truth about some of your reps, you can quickly readjust or re-train to avoid an “off the rails” situation. If your pipeline is decreasing, you can have a conversation with your marketing team about what you can do to add more deals to the pipeline. Perhaps you will even learn that a certain type of customer [size, industry, region], is just not worth pursuing.
When armed with more accurate information, Sales Managers and VPs can run their sales meetings much more effectively. They can intervene and help reps on specific case-by-case bases as needed, and ultimately drive a more accurate sales forecast.
Learn more about Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Customer Engagement by checking out our whitepaper, Tools to Address Sales Pipeline and Forecast Accuracy Challenges.