Research Perspective

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Developing Best Practices in Sales Forecasting:

Effective Processes and Tools Produce Best Results

Sales Forecasting Requires Commitment

The purpose of sales forecasting is to anticipate and facilitate sales activities and help representatives identify opportunities, reach quotas and achieve the maximum potential of their accounts and territories. We find that sales forecasting is often attempted but less often done well. More than half (57%) of organizations participating in our sales forecasting benchmark research said that their forecasting process is not reliable.

To be effective the forecasting process must involve all stakeholders and use complete, timely information. The sales forecast should rest upon a single central data repository from which all authorized people can access information. While the forecasting process must be systematic, forecasts themselves must be flexible enough to accommodate changes in deals including their status and amount. This requires everyone to provide timely information that can be made available to whomever needs it. Therefore management must insist that everyone in the selling process contribute the data they have and keep it up to date.

To assure reliability, the validity of that data must be verified. In our research, half of organizations said the data used in their forecasting process isn’t accurate. In contrast, almost half (46%) of those that make accuracy a primary measure of performance are satisfied with their forecasting process.


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