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Sales forecasting techniques for company in transition

I'm having a difficult time with sales forecasting and the challenges that come with that.

The problem stems from change at all levels:. new CEO, mostly new sales department, changes in the marketplace and changes in our product line and thus our marketing.

Has anyone dealt with a similar situation? Any insights, tips, etc appreciated.



Thomas Aiken
Title: Managing Partner
Company: Cedarwood Partners LLC
LinkedIn Profile
(Managing Partner, Cedarwood Partners LLC) |

The only advice I can give is to determine, to the best of your ability, who in the organization, CEO, VP Sales, VP Marketing, Sales Managers, Product Marketing etc. has the most credibility and insight. Past experience and past performance is key.

Questions to ask yourself: Who understands the market, product and competition most? What analysis has been done and are the sources of the data reliable? What outside market analysts are available to provide insight? Its also important that the compensation of those involved in the forecasting process and approval is directly affected by its accuracy.

Michelle Rogers
Title: CEO
Company: Virtually There CFO Services
(CEO, Virtually There CFO Services) |

I agree and would add that when there are multiple factors which can impact the outcome, sometimes it's helpful to look at various scenarios from the lens of best case, worst case and most likely and then combine them as needed to get a sense of where the risks lie. Then you can start the real work of prioritizing how to address the factors which have the largest impact, ones that you can control, etc. and brain storming solutions.

(Director) |

I agree with Thomas.

Topic Expert
Henry Schumann
Title: Manager FP&A
Company: Allscripts
(Manager FP&A, Allscripts) |

If you have multiple products or services, break down the sales forecast into forecasts of individual products or services then consolidate. Conversely if you have a single product or service you may have the opportunity to divide up the sales forecast by geographic sales region or by new customer sales versus repeat buyers.

There should be individual owners of the segments which can provide you insight.

Then you can compare to the CEOs targets and adjust as necessary.

Good luck.

Mark Matheny
Title: VP - FInancial Planning and Analysis
Company: Novolex (formerly Hilex Poly)
(VP - FInancial Planning and Analysis, Novolex (formerly Hilex Poly)) |

That is a tough challenge as you are dealing with a external variables that are new to your organization. One thought is to work backwards. What kind of sales do you need to attain to meet your goals. Then work on how you would get there a by product, segment, salesperson, etc. Then start talking about the reasonableness.

(Director, Consulting Services) |

An interesting challenge that hits home.

Topic Expert
Joan Varrone
Title: CFO
Company: Cloud Cruiser
LinkedIn Profile
(CFO, Cloud Cruiser) |

If you have a sales and lead pipeline you can look at metrics for

Sales cycle time
Conversion ratios of leads to opportunities and opportunities to closed deals
Your marketing budget and programs will provide a forecast of new leads

You also marry this with the number of sales staff and their productivity and quotas to determine what your sales force can produce.

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