Forecasting in Salesforce – Best Practices

Forecasting in Salesforce enables you to view the best estimate of revenue you are able to generate in a specified timeframe like the fiscal quarter. According to SFDC this forecasting is accurate and intuitive but this is not the case every time as you can create and customize forecast in different ways.

There are two kinds of forecasting features that are offered by Salesforce; customizable and collaborative forecasting.

Customizable forecasting is used for customizing the forecast for the needs of your business. This kind of forecasting is used for custom fiscal year, opportunity lead adjustments, territory management, snapshots and forecast history.

Collaborative forecasting provides your business with more flexibility and more intuitive user interface. The unique features of this kind of forecasting include ability to rename the forecast categories, expandable forecast tables and forecasting on the opportunity splits.

The advantages of Salesforce forecasting are that it is easy for the sales representative to maintain an accurate and correct representation of the opportunity status. It helps in adding the numbers so that it can produce a forecast that is based on close dates of opportunities.

I’ve broken down some guidelines for you to follow when it comes to Forecasting in Salesforce

  • You should always forecast by pipeline and not only by forecast stages as you should combine forecasting meeting and pipeline management.
  • Be sure to mange the killers of your forecast very well so that they do not ruin your forecast.
  • Look for the early warning signs like poor and tainted forecasts that can be very harmful for your business.
  • ¬†Always document the different processes of your business as documentation is very essential for improving the business processes.
  • Track the important details of your business at opportunity level.
  • Measure everything that is related to the potential deals which includes activities like outreach, meetings and emails for determining the contribution of each to the total revenue
  • Create actionable tasks with the completion dates and next steps that pertains to every opportunity
  • Map your sales stages to the forecast categories and also adjust the closed probability that is based on the historical data used for increasing the accuracy of the forecast.
  • Customize the names of the forecast categories for matching with the terminology and process of business.
  • Create dashboards for the metrics of every activity that is related to the potential sales.
  • When you are adjusting forecast, it is always advisable to converse with your subordinates that provides you the opportunity to understand their expectations.
  • You can also use Chatter for forecasting information and sharing opportunities with your sales teams so that together you can pay attention to the important details.
  • Run reports to check performance and analyze trends
  • Forecast adjustments on a weekly basis as the change of opportunities can take place any time as this also helps you in avoiding the out of date adjustments.
  • Designate each sales manager as forecast manger if he/she has subordinates in the forecast hierarchy. This helps in rolling the forecasting visibility up to the next level of the hierarchy with the help of forecasting in Salesforce.

Amanda McDonnald
Amanda is the Lead Author & Editor of Rainforce Blog. Amanda established the Rainforce blog to create a source for news and discussion about some of the issues, challenges, news, and ideas relating to Salesforce usage.
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