How to Improve Sales Forecasting Accuracy: 2 Steps

How to Improve Sales

The Holy Grail of Sales Management

Nearly everyone in sales management agrees on one simple matter. The ability to accurately and timely forecast sales results is the Holy Grail of sales management. Accurate sales forecasting culminates all preceding activities. It allows enhanced cash flow and proper resource allocation. Furthermore, it causes improved product development, sales trends, and investor/board credibility. But how do we improve sales forecasting accuracy?

The ability to accurately forecast sales improves sales performance. In fact, the CSO Insights 2013 Sales Management Optimization Study demonstrates sales performance improvement when managers are compensated on forecast accuracy. Results contrast when forecast accuracy is not considered or seen as a critical sales manager function.

In the quest for the Holy Grail, most organizations set their CRMs to track sales pipeline activity. These systems build a reporting infrastructure that views and organizes sales activities. However, sales leaders continue to be frustrated with the quality of the output. This relates to the accuracy of the sales forecast.

So how does sales leadership improve forecasting accuracy? Offered below are two simple steps to mitigate the frustration. Follow these two steps carefully. Revolutionize your sales procedure. Actually, it’s easier than you think.

steps to improve sales

How to Improve Sales Forecasting Accuracy- Step One:
Define the Information That Drives Client Buying Decisions

Firstly, the foundation for forecasting accuracy lies in the information we elicit during the qualifying step of the sales process. Secondly, information defines opportunity. Mostly, sales are either won or lost by the information we gather while qualifying. Ideally, the information we acquire is meaningful. This helps us determine what, why, and how the client will make a buying decision. Thus, sales success is predictable.

Client information is critical to accurate sales forecasting. Thusly, it is imperative that sales leadership define a clear set of information requirements that consistently determine when a client is well qualified.

The identification and implementation of information requirements is a prerequisite for step two.

How to Improve Sales Forecasting Accuracy- Step Two: Integrate your information requirements and CRM application

Once information requirements are in place, sales leaders can further leverage their CRM investment. They do this by integrating requirements into their core CRM application. The integration of information requirements into CRM provides many benefits.

  • It is a visual reminder to reps of what information is required.
  • The integration allows for a single view of the client.
  • CMRs are a standard repository of client information. Sellers analyze CMRs for new product introductions and product life cycle management.
  • It allows sales managers to coach the qualifying step of the sales process against a standard. This is crucial.
  • Sales managers understand which reps need improvement on how to qualify accounts.
  • Forecasting accuracy improves dramatically. This happens quickly. Forecasts should be based on a consistent set of information requirements. This is in contrast to the opinion of the seller on sales probability. In fact, the CRM application assigns sales probability based on the completion of information requirements. Requirements can be weighted by importance. Additionally, they alert reps to areas that need further development to increase sales.

Organizations should set standard information requirements based on what, why, and how clients buy? Does your CRM generate sales probability? Conversely, reps need to assign the probability themselves. This is vitally important.

Learn more about the emerging sector of CRM2.0 space. Moreover, we help integrate predictive sales management analytics with core CRM capabilities. Contact AXIOM Sales Kinetics. Our priority is to improve your sales pipeline. AXIOM Sales Kinetics has over 30 years of sales leadership experience. Past clients include Time Warner and countless others. Additionally, we have a proven track record of top-tier sales performance. We are here to help.

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