THE single question most frequently asked of any sales manager is “ how are the prospects for the month looking?”. The answer to which will either give you a great night’s sleep or will quickly get your mind focussed; if prospects are good then you can concentrate on closing them. If prospects are poor then my job is to help find more. But NO decision can be made on prospecting, planning resource, hiring and firing or financial budgets until you have accurate, consistent forecasting of business.
Forecasting was pretty high on my agenda when I took over my role as Head of Sales because it is so integral to good, timely decision-making. Our sales team, through the use of InforCRM and regular feedback now consistently close within 3% of the forecast. And that doesn’t mean you don’t experience the peaks and troughs of sales, but at least you can plan confidently around lean months. And the same is true of closing 150% of what you forecast (some might argue that over selling can never be a problem) where it causes credit issues and longer lead times.
Creating the procedure and discipline in CRM isn’t rocket science, but trusting it….well that can be a leap of faith that will pay back time and again.