Imagine making a dessert, let’s say a rich and moist dark chocolate cake. You took your hours, with cocoa powder on point and baked on a perfect 180 degree with mouth-watering results. But damn! You missed that half chocolate dipped Strawberry on the top of it. Even after putting so much hard work and patience in your recipe, you lacked your skills at the garnishing part. This was undoubtedly the most important part of that Chocolate Cake.
Same goes with Sales Forecasting.
Sales Forecasting is that half chocolate-dipped strawberry in any organisation.
This strategy helps organisations in making better decisions about the future of the business. They use historical data on sales of products and services to make predictions about future sales.
Here are a few points that can help your sales team forecast accurately:
Differentiated Vision Match
This is the holy grail of successful forecasting. Vision Match, easiest defined, is when the prospect agrees that using the capabilities of your solution they can resolve their problems and can make significant business improvements.
Checking this would help you understand if the rep has made an effort to probe the customer for their business issues and challenges or has made a transactional sales pitch (show the presentation and drop a proposal)
Mapping the decision-makers
How often do sales reps forecast large deals without having a single conversation or even access to the person who will sign off the deal? This is the number one reason behind all opportunities. Check if they have mapped the Power, decision-makers, influencers in the deal and if they’ve had at least 1 conversation with the Power and have a vision match with them.
Else, you would continue to hear “ He is travelling this month…. “
Mutually agreed and written the next steps
B2B sales is a game of gaining small agreements from the first calendar invite to signing off the deal, it is a part of the huge value chain of agreements that come together. The idea of next steps comes intuitively to experienced salespeople, but yet we miss the mark when it comes to gaining agreements on the next steps. Remember a good closure plan has three components:
- It is mutual
- It is written
- It is based on realistic time frames.
Check for signs if the rep has an email confirmation on the closure or next steps for you to be confident about the opportunity moving in the right direction.
A verbal confirmation means nothing and only has a 10% possibility of it coming through.
Lastly here are a few questions that you must ask the reps, next time you are sitting in a deal review or a forecasting call:
- Why are they doing this?
- Who else will be involved in decision making? Have you met the CMO yet?
- When is the next meeting/ call scheduled? Is it on the calendar?
- What is the impact of doing this on their business? Does “your power” agree and understand the impact our solution will bring both at a business and personal level?
- Who else is there an objection you have faced so far? What will it take for them to sign off?