Forcasting

Accurately forecasting revenue from future customers is as much Art as it is Science.

The science of forecasting is the arithmetic to do totals and to calculate a ‘close’ percentage. But, in practice, Art is more important.

Art is coaching your Sales Reps to understand.

  1. Where they are in the selling process.
  2. How much further to go.
  3. The tactics for how best to get there.

For most companies, every deal is different, but not wildly different. The steps in a strategy to move one prospect along the sales cycle is mostly a tactical variation of the strategy used for the last prospect.

For this reason, forecasting does not need to be complicated.  And, ContactScience® Forecasting is a simpler and better way. ContactScience® Forecasting has three value propositions to address every forecasting challenge.

The three values are Simplicity, its Visual Interactive nature and Accuracy.

Simplicity

A four-stage forecasting model.


Any current pipeline approach can be adapted to this four-stage model. Converting from an existing CRM is easy. Existing steps are aggregated into one of the four stages. We help you do that.

The four stages we suggest are Information Gathering, Solution Confirmation, Proposal, Negotiation. 

For each stage, there is a set of questions to be answered and tasks to complete to get to the next stage.

Only when the information is gathered can the opportunity be moved to the next stage.

These are the four stages: 

Information Gathering is just what it implies; gathering the data needed to begin the steps to creating a new customer. What do we need to know to succeed?

The Solution Confirmation stage can be viewed as a trial close.  In this stage, you review three key elements: what you have learned about their situation, how you believe you can improve it, and the logistics in doing so (price, timing, implementation / installation, etc.).

The Proposal stage is simply a formal presentation. Depending on what you sell, it might contain a demonstration, a prototype, a test drive, references, etc.

The Negotiation stage is an optional stage. Generally, this is when your prospect has conditionally or verbally said yes. There might be a purchase order to receive or terms and conditions to be finalized. It can be a critical stage, or it can be nothing more than a holding stage waiting for a written confirmation.

We know that every opportunity will not make it through too close. So, at each stage, the probability that a specific deal will close is assigned and the dollar forecast adjusted accordingly.

If the probability of closing any prospect in the Information Gathering stage is 20 percent, the long term forecast of a $1000 deal is valued at $200.

This feature provides a future forecast based on the prospects current step. We suggest starting out with the probabilities of 20%, 40%, 60%, 80% respectively for each stage.

Visually Interactive

The Visual Nature of the Forecast provides an immediate snapshot of whether the forecast is balanced. Does Sales move prospects into the stages in a predictable pattern?

The mechanics are Science, often click intensive, often complicated. ContactScience® has a two screen and a mouse approach for Managers to easily forecast revenue.

The graphic, interactive
report requires only
one click to

Review

whether the prospect should move to the next stage.

Confirm

value of the deal.

Change

the expected close date.

From the Forecasting report screen, managers can access the opportunity details with one click. If they make changes, they return to the report with changes reflected.

Note: A great insight into long-term revenue health is to examine the number of Initial Appointments currently set. Initial meetings feed the forecast. The report also shows who is scheduled for First Appointments.