Sales Managers Have Several Methods From Which to Approach Sales Forecasting

Forecasting salesTracking the amount of products and services that are provided to clients by your personnel is a vital part of any business. Developing a good system for forecasting the sales for a given quarter or year is a way to help improve sales management.

Forecasting sales is an inexact science, as predicting the amount of sales or how many new clients are acquired has no basis for future numbers other than relying on past trends and a loose model of what the future of the industry will look like. Experts tend to believe that the benefits of figuring out potential business come from knowing in which direction predictions are wrong and helping create a picture of how the business is doing from these numbers, according to Inc.com.

“People think the forecast is good or bad depending on how accurate it is,” Tim Berry, president of Palo Alto Software, Eugene, Oregon, told the news source. “What I think is it’s how well it breaks into meaningful assumptions you can look at later.”

Several methods can be used to help companies forecast results more effectively. Business cannot be measured against one set of numbers, as multiple sources need to be used in an effort to represent the various constituencies. Each aspect of the business might also be going off of different numbers, again showing that one set of data cannot be the sole determining factor, Inc.com reported.

Another way to improve the next round of sales forecasts would be to develop a model that is able to change, a modifiable tracking system. Instead of taking an average of the sales history and developing it over time, individuals need to be able to include additional factors that would affect performance, the magazine reported.

Aside from improvements to the concepts behind forecasting, there are many technological advancements that can help a company. One product that can transform a company is Lokad Sales Forecasting for Microsoft Excel. This new program allows a business to upload and save sales data through Excel.

Along with providing a one-stop source for sales data, the program provides a new forecasting system that can help customize forecasts for a company on a per diem, monthly or annual basis. Providing the service with new data can allow for adjustment-based predictions, which is a more reliable method, according to Lokad.