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How To Improve Sales Forecast Accuracy

As previously mentioned, selling is a great way to make money for many people. With the right plan, and the right products or services, you can give out freebies which is how most people start.

Unfortunately, this does not always hold true for advanced sellers. There are times when a buyer will decide not to purchase from you due to your sale. This is called failure to sell or FNS.

Many times, sellers use forecasted sales as a way to improve their sales forecast accuracy. Some ways to do this are by using predicted results or by using projections.

Get the right people on your team

how to improve sales forecast accuracy

You can increase the accuracy of your sales forecast by having the right people on your team. A qualified salesperson can make a big difference in how accurate your forecast is.

According to business expert Sal Guarmaneza, a good salesperson can add 10% to 15% to the value of an item. This means that if you buy one item, you will get another one later on. This is not mere luck but skill and experience.

Having a good forecaster does not mean that the person is perfect at forecasting, it just means that they know what items are popular at the moment and which ones people want.

Having a good forecaster does not mean that the person is perfect at forecasting, it just means that they know which ones are popular at the moment and which people want them.

Set clear expectations

how to improve sales forecast accuracy

If you make a sale, what does she get for her money? If you give a free product or service, what does someone have to do in order for you to receive your reward? These questions and answers will help you create a clear expectation framework for your salespeople.

It will also help you build confidence in your salespeople to create an environment where people are happy to buy from you, and where they are confident in their product or service to generate strong sales.

By creating a set of expectations that your salespeople know they must meet before they receive any recognition, your team will feel more comfortable and able to achieve their goal of generating sales.

When creating your expectations framework, take time to review the following list of terms with your team and determine whether they are technically words that describe the same thing. Before cutting off discussion of each term, let them help the group collectively decide if it is an appropriate term for this purpose.

Understand your customers’ purchasing cycle

how to improve sales forecast accuracy

As discussed earlier, sales forecast accuracy depends on the timing of purchases. For example, should you expect spring breakers to purchase vacation packages next week?

In terms of the buying process, this includes finding the right time to market a product or service, determining when people are financially ready to purchase and what products they’re looking for. This includes timing promotions and sale periods, as well as finding the right time to initiate a sale.

Knowing when people are in their purchasing cycle is critical for sales forecast accuracy. If you know they’re going to purchase your product at a certain time, then offer an early promo or include them in the beginning of the next marketing campaign.

Unfortunately, this knowledge does not go into all that many sales forecasts.

Identify all possible sales opportunities

how to improve sales forecast accuracy

While a good sales forecast is not impossible at the end of the year, it is more difficult to know when and where to target them.

What do you mean possible sales opportunity? There should be a minimum of two conversations about the same customer, or customer account, over the past month.

While this may seem low to count as two opportunities, it is when two people want to purchase the same thing that they mutually agree to buy it. Thus, this criterion is met.

To improve sales forecast accuracy, identify all possible sales opportunities and schedule a date with each person. If you do not have this feature on your application yet, try creating one next week!

This helps identify potential new customers who may be interested in your product or service and schedule a meeting with them to discuss it. It also tracks any changes to those individuals’ accounts or products so that you can update your forecast.

Create a sales plan

how to improve sales forecast accuracy

This can be a long process, but it is worth doing as it will help you improve your sales forecast accuracy. You can do this by creating a list of products you think your customers should buy, and in order of how much you expect them to spend.

After doing this, you have to figure out what sets your customers apart from the rest of the market. For instance, if they value security when buying hardware, then offer products that feature high quality security. Or if they prefer online shopping over store shopping, offer products that are fast and easy to order.

Once you have created your sales plan, take it into business meetings or company events with other executives to get their feedback. If there are some products or services on which you can lay claim with good sales forecast accuracy, than add those into your plan too.

It does take some effort and creativity, but bringing these aspects into your sale flow will help improve accuracy.

Establish quarterly targets

It is recommended that you have a target goal in place for every project you want to work on. This gives you some guidance in how much work you need to get done and helps ensure your projects are being completed on schedule.

For example, if your goal is to complete a project by the end of the month, then take steps to ensure this is done with appropriate supplies and resources. By having an objective for each quarter, you have a reason to stay motivated while working on your projects.

Having an objective can also help increase confidence when making forecasts. If the last project you made was a poor forecast, it would give you feeling of confidence to do better on this project. Having an objective can help increase confidence when making forecasts.

Update your sales forecast regularly

how to improve sales forecast accuracy

If you notice any changes in your forecast, or if you make a new forecast, it’s important to give yourself a time frame in which the change occurred.

Most forecasts are updated about once per week, so this oversight can make a large difference in sales. As sales grow more quickly, offering the correct forecast every week will help ensure income and profit levels are staying accurate.

In fact, an average of 5% of businesses that sell business services report a annual growth rate of 15% or more. This indicates that even the most seasoned forecasters can improve their sales forecast accuracy.

Why Is Adding Time To Your Sales Forecast Important?

Adding time to your sales forecast is important because it increases accuracy. If you know how much time you’re going to spend on each item during a sale, then you can more accurately predict what you will spend on each item.

However, if you do not take into account the time that items take when preparing their sales estimates, then your sales estimate will be less than accurate.

Track your progress against target

how to improve sales forecast accuracy

If you are still not getting accurate sales forecasts, then this is the time to add more attendees to your event. Add an extra hour to your event to accommodate for these additional attendees.

If you have a guaranteed number of attendees, then your forecast can be pretty accurate. However, if you can hope for some people to show up or make an appearance, then your forecast will be good.

It’s always fun to see people come out and visit your event, so add some incentives such as prizes or treats to increase attendance even more. If people don’t feel like going out of town out of respect for the guests, then more money must be spent on behalf of the event.

As seen in the previous article, how to improve accuracy in sales forecasts the rest of the year round.

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