How to develop a reliable and believable Sales Forecast

Though sales forecasting may seem number-driven, to succeed it needs to be people-driven as well. That means that the people in your business need to feel part of achieving the sales forecast. There are some simple rules you can follow to increase the probability of getting a forecast you can count on and one that people will do whatever is necessary to achieve.

Action Plan for Achieving Forecasting Buy-In From Your Staff:

Share your expectations. Salespeople need to know the annual sales growth rate that you are looking for. Information and communication are key ingredients in securing an accurate sales forecast. It also creates a feeling of personal responsibility for the results.

Ask the right questions and insist on real answers. The real answers will contain evidence to support the numbers. Evidence means hard facts, not merely hunches, about what will directly affect your customers and their future purchasing decisions. Insist that everyone in your organization do their homework and talk to customers on a regular basis.

Make sure your salespeople understand that a sales forecast is for everyone's benefit. Personalize the numbers by showing how the success of your company is tied to the success of its employees. Also, point out exactly how each department's role fits into the bottom line.

Ensure accuracy in the sales forecast to prevent unforeseen layoffs or scrambling to find new personnel. Employees should feel confident that solid projections will ensure the safety of their jobs.

Get a second opinion. Have the forecast checked by a financial or accounting professional. Show them the factors you have considered and explain why you think the figures are realistic.

Once you believe the numbers are substantiated, accept what they say about your company. From that point on, all efforts should be directed toward meeting the projection. Regularly review and revisit the figures with key employees on a monthly basis to ensure that you're on track. Your skills at forecasting will improve with experience, particularly if you treat it as an ongoing "live" forecast.

Learn more about Sales Forecasting

Importance of Sales Forecasting

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