4 Data rich areas to pressure test your forecast

4 Data rich areas to pressure test your sales forecast

3 minute read

In this week’s issue, we’ll look at 4 data rich areas that get to the heart of your rep’s forecast call.

Poor cash, stock and resource management can have serious consequences for any business making accurate forecasting a key capability for Sales Leaders.

Given the importance of forecasting most leaders understand accuracy is vital and that consistent accuracy builds trust, trust enables strong decision making which in turn drives growth.

Deep diving these 4 data rich areas pressure tests your deals and improves forecast accuracy

Let’s get started.

Interpreting a reps deal update is not the basis for consistent accurate forecasts, when it comes to forecasting, relying solely on your interpretation of your reps updates, and deciding if their optimism or pessimism is misplaced is unlikely to lead to consistently accurate forecasts.

Gathering and analysing the right data provides insights in to deals and prompts the right questions to pressure test your reps deals. Combining your experience, your data driven insights and your reps evaluations provides a good foundation for accurate forecasting.

  • Customer verifiers

Having customer verifiers built into each process stage is valuable both in terms of testing a customer’s commitment to solving their problem and keeping deals moving forward.

When it comes to forecasting, verifiers provide useful insights and prompt some important questions, which verifiers remain to be completed? why are they not yet completed? what is the plan for getting them completed? How long to complete them? does this make the close date realistic and the win likely?

  • Close Dates

How confident can you be in the close date, understanding why a deal will close on that date is key, how well has your rep understood the problem being solved and its cost to the business, what is the event driving the decision and what is the cost of a delay?

Your data can quickly and easily tell the story that supports or challenges a close date, for instance, how do the days in each sales stage compare to other similar deals? If longer at every stage what does this look like for the close date? has the close date been pushed back previously, is the reason for previous push back understood and resolved? Could it happen again?  

Pressure testing the close date, is the close date realistic given the sales stage? have the verifiers been completed? what is the event driving the decision? It’s worth paying particular attention to deals with a close date at the end of the quarter as this is often a place that deals gather when close dates are uncertain.

  • Customer Engagement

Customer engagement levels on their own can be a little misleading, it doesn’t always follow that low engagement levels lead to lost deals but if the close date doesn’t stand up to scrutiny. If verifiers remain uncompleted and engagement levels are low then should the deal be in the commit stage?

Does the engagement level support the forecast call, have engagement levels increased towards the end of the cycle? Why have activity levels increased or dropped off? Is the next meeting booked? Is the customer responding to emails?

  • Problem statements

While the above focus on the timing of a deal, problem statements provide insights on the value of the deal. Problem statements help anchor your solution to the problem and provide effective tactics during negotiations.

Was the problem statement signed off by the buying team? Have the alternatives been ruled out? Does the proposed solution solve the problem within the boundaries and limitations? Does the solution solve the problem within the budget?

Analysing data aligned to a process provides real value, in this case it enables you to test your reps updates against the only relevant data and playing devil’s advocate, allows you to pressure test your reps forecast.

When you’re ready there are 3 ways we can help you unlock your data:

  1. Get Started with a Sales Leaders Briefing
  1. Find and close the gaps in your pipeline management and sales forecasting

        DETECT – Assessment

        DEVELOP – Framework

  1. OneView our Pipeline and forecasting app.

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