Can Better Forecasting Improve Sales Performance?


This article is co-authored by Gerard Baglieri and Carlos Nouche.

If it doesn’t matter who wins or loses, then why do they keep score? – Vince Lombardi

If sales is your livelihood, then exceeding your stated quota is your scorecard and primary goal. Forecasting is not just a manager’s responsibility. Some reps will argue, “If the amount I forecast comes in, then the job is done.” This is short-sighted in several ways:

  • If a deal is committed and doesn’t close, or worse, slips for a quarter or two, how much time have you invested?
  • Deals that linger often shrink in size
  • What is the “opportunity cost” of focusing on a poorly qualified opportunity?
  • If this scenario plays out regularly, it’s likely that the territory will be segmented

As managers, we’re constantly measuring our people on their ability to plan and execute. As sellers, we’re evaluating our opportunities to determine where we’re strong, where we’re weak, and how to best cover the gaps in order to increase our odds of winning. In the end, we won’t receive a shiny gold star for being the best value based representative, but we’ll be measured by how much business we’re able to get across the finish line.

Our approach is directly correlated to the process a customer follows in making buying decisions. Assessing the buying process from a customer’s perspective is the best way to determine if an opportunity is truly qualified. This is done with the Opportunity Review Process using the Qualified Prospect Formula®

What are the top line critical (BUSINESS ISSUES) driving urgency?
What challenges/obstacles do we address particularly well? (PROBLEMS)?
How do we uniquely solve them (SOLUTION)?

VALUE: What are the measurable outcomes to justify the purchase/project?

POWER: Who’s involved and have we engaged?

PLAN: What are the mutual steps to achieve the outcomes?
The Opportunity Review Process analyzes the key components of a deal to identify what is missing and provide guidance on what to do next. Taking the time to objectively review your deals will be very helpful in managing and prioritizing your time.

  • Forecasting is key to sales success, both as an individual and a sales leader.
  • When forecasting, have a checklist so that you can spot/identify any missing item and, ultimately, drive a more consistent result.
  • When reviewing your deals, everyone will know that you did your best and worked hard. What they will want to know, what are the possible risk factors that may cause your deal to not come in.

It’s all about continuous improvement.

For more information, watch the replay of a recent webinar Carlos delivered on the topic:

Good Selling!

As a Vice President of Visualize, Gerard helps organizations improve business metrics by creating a better connection with their customer’s definition of value. He is focused on refining his client’s selling approach & their ability to differentiate – to drive increased revenues, market share and profitability.