7 Things Every Sales VP Should Know About Sales Forecasting 

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Imagine you just received an urgent message from the directors at your company. They have to make an immediate decision that will set the direction of the company for the next five years. The decision will be based primarily on the sales forecast for which you own responsibility.

The meeting is in one hour, and they need you to present an accurate sales forecast.

If this were to happen to you, would you be able to deliver an accurate forecast? If you’re not sure, consider these seven things that can help you foster accurate sales forecasting.

1. Prepare 30, 60 and 90 Day forecasts.

Most salespeople and sales managers can accurately estimate what is going to be happening during these time frames. As a result, you should be able to get good data for these timeframes from the sales team.  

2. Make it easy.

Make sure the sales forecasting process your team must develop and maintain is simple and straightforward. If your CRM is difficult or confusing, your sales team is less likely to use it. Keeping it simple improves your ability to keep it accurate.

3. Scrutinize the forecasted sales carefully.

You’ve heard the expression, “You can’t believe everything that you read.” This probably was originally written about sales forecasts. Don’t trust the information you see without applying some good old fashion common sense.

For example, you might see that certain sales opportunities have been in the pipeline for an extended period of time and that the close date keeps being reset to some point in the future. If you see this, question the sales team regarding the real status of the opportunity and, unless the sales managers can give you a compelling reason to keep them active, consider eliminating these opportunities from the forecast.

4. Develop a sniff test.

Develop some rule of thumb guidelines to help you quickly assess if something doesn’t look right in the forecast. For example, your average sale per salesperson is $ 25,000 and the average sales person sells 10 deals per month. That translates into a typical monthly forecast of $250,000. Any out of the ordinary numbers should raise a flag. Developing some quick review metrics will help you sniff out problems quickly and correct any mistakes.

5. Make sure the sales forecast and the sales goals are consistent with one another.

If you plan to sell $48M annually, then make sure your quarterly sales forecast is consistently tracking at $12M.  If you have sales goals tied to products, make sure you are forecasting sales by product line and watch for deviations in the forecasts. There should be clear alignment between sales goals and sales forecasts.

6. Make sure your sales forecasts are consistently reviewed to determine accuracy.

If they are not accurate, analyze why and make adjustments to improve your next forecast.

7. Have great reporting tools.

Make sure you can quickly and easily pull current pipeline data out of the CRM. Make sure that the reports you get are in their final format. Don’t get data that you then have to manipulate, summarize or sum up separately in another program. If getting your reports takes multiple steps or involvement from multiple resources, figure out a way to change the process.


Having these seven things down will give you the ability and confidence to predict and present an accurate sales forecast when the pressure is on, even when your leadership team gives you only one hour to prepare!

Author: Mack Powers

Source: Xoombi

 

 


6 Things Great Sales Leaders Do

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(via xoombi.com)

Sales leadership is one of the most difficult jobs in business today.

I've always enjoyed watching great leaders in action. When you observe the best, there are six things you'll notice that great sales leaders do.

1. Culture

Leaders define the culture. It begins with establishing a higher level of thinking reinforced with an understanding of how the organization responds in the face of a challenge. And, just as importantly, how it behaves during times of success. Leaders are first people who represent the brand and create an environment for success.

2. Opportunity

Leaders can see into the future and make decisions that will open doors for opportunity. They embrace up-and-coming talent and new ideas. Driven by an unyielding commitment, they take their people and the organization to a higher level of excellence.

3. Development

Leaders gain an edge when they develop their people. It lays the foundation for greatness and creates an "always be learning" attitude. Everything is about coaching, continuous improvement, finding ways to get better, and moving forward in a positive direction.

4. Performance

Leaders understand the business and the key performance indicators that generate results. They build strategic initiatives around leading indicators rather than lagging indicators. They assess a situation, connect the dots, and provide high value recommendations to improve results.

5. Empowerment

Leaders empower their people. Clear expectations, coupled with supreme confidence, allows leaders to step back and watch their people make their own decisions, decisions that will shape not only the present, but the future of the organization. They understand the power of putting people in a position to shine.

6. Recognition

Leaders recognize and reward top performance. They don't wait until the end of the year to celebrate success. Great sales leaders look for daily opportunities to provide sincere and timely recognition. They make their people feel valued, secure, and energized.

 

Author: Doyle Slayton, Co-founder @ Xoombi.com