Recently I’ve been asked several times about my thoughts on sales forecasting.
Many companies spend a huge amount of resource micro-managing each salesperson’s pipeline so they can come up with forecasts of how many deals might close in a given month or quarter.
The data they generate gets filtered up to top management who ask questions or themselves nitpick which then gets pushed back down the line to the individual reps. It’s an unproductive and never ending cycle.
Indeed, many CRM and salesforce automation software products are primarily used by managers to forecast sales rather than being used by salespeople to work with buyers.
Buyers control the buying process, not you
Obsessing over sales forecasts and having sales leadership focus on “managing” salespeople to forecasts is a growing problem. It a big reason why salespeople are less effective today.
The sales cycle is no longer. Now it is a buying cycle because potential customers have near perfect information on the web.
Buyers can see what your company is up to, how your products work, what the competition is doing, how much others paid for your services, what your CEO is saying on social media (or not), and much more.
A micro-management of salespeople via CRM and salesforce automation systems leads to failure because those systems were built and the algorithms developed in the old days of selling. As soon as you obsess over forecasts you’ve lost.
Instead, focus on the buyers and their problems and let salespeople do their jobs without interfering and forcing them to enter ridiculous amounts of data into your systems.