Every business needs forecasting to plan their sales cycle. Sales teams use forecasts to express their expected sales revenue over a specific time frame. Managers, directors, and executives will find forecasting useful, especially when they make decisions.
Forecast amounts represent the totals of opportunities in different categories, that is, Pipeline, Closed, Commit, and Best Case. Companies assess a set of opportunities to determine these amounts. Some of the factors that influence the forecast include:
- Forecast type
Your company could choose to work with no more than four projections, each with its adjustment data and quota. Switch between them as the need arises. Users also get to monitor the forecast amounts periodically. The monitoring is usually through a roll-up for a hierarchy manager.
Before you can enjoy these and more benefits, your business needs to understand how forecasting works in Salesforce.
Let’s look at what you should know as you create your company’s Salesforce forecasting strategy.
With Salesforce, you should create customizable reports with ease. Follow these straightforward steps to set up forecasting in Salesforce.
- Define Forecast settings
Here you get to select the most appropriate forecasts for your company. Find this in the Quick Find box and enable the forecast that best suits your business. You can always add another forecast type if you deem it fit.
You’ll also need to choose what information will be available on the forecasts page. This information could be anything from opportunities, product families to overlay splits. The sales team should have a more straightforward time assessing revenue and quantity projections. All these will be available in the sales pipeline.
As you define the settings, you should be clear on the measurements that will guide your forecasts. You could either select revenue, quantity, or both depending on your preferred forecast type.
While at it, remember to select the forecast date type, especially if you choose to work with the Lightning Experience. The date could either be the scheduled date, close date or product date. On product families, clarify the families that each user will handle.
- Enable Users
Not everyone will have access to the forecasts. You’ll need to select users, probably members of your sales team and a couple of executives. You’ll then need to edit the general information of the selected users to allow forecasting.
These users will become part of your forecast hierarchy (we’ll discuss this in the next step). With time, you can choose to enable new users or disable existing users depending on the growth of your company.
- Create a Forecast Hierarchy
Once you are clear on the designated users for your forecasts, you’ll need to set up a forecast hierarchy. Your organization’s hierarchy of users should inform how you create the forecast hierarchy. Don’t forget to update this hierarchy as often as possible. The regular updates ensure that everyone is up to speed with the available forecasts.
The hierarchy includes forecast managers that are responsible for several subordinates. The manager’s forecasts will consist of all the estimates from their subordinates. With the managers in place, ensure that you have given them the forecast manager designation in your hierarchy.
You can opt to create specific territories for better monitoring of the forecasts. A forecast manager is usually in charge of such territories.
- Choose a Forecast Currency
This step is especially vital for organizations that use multiple currencies in their operations. Work with your sales team to figure out the best currency for your forecasts.
- Determine the Forecast Date Range
Depending on your settings, your forecast will include amounts from monthly or quarterly reports. You could either go for the custom or standard fiscal years. Once you choose the date range, Collaborative Forecasts users will find this as their default. The users can always customize the date range for their forecasts.
- Customize Forecast Categories
Within your forecast, you’ll need to assign different opportunities to forecast categories. The categories could either be Pipeline, Closed, Commit, Best Case or Omitted depending on the stage of the opportunity.
If you follow these steps diligently, you will create a customized forecast for your business. Salesforce enables you to select data that you’ll find in the forecast. Provisions for the date start and the scope of the estimates are also available. For privacy, you get to decide whether or not people can share data.
As you customize the settings, be sure to select the forecast period. Salesforce also requires you to include users with specific forecasts. This section allows you to give access rights to different users. Check the accuracy of your settings before you hit the Set up button.
Do you have partners working alongside your sales team? Well, Salesforce forecasts allow you to include these partners in your forecast hierarchy. The amounts from the partner’s opportunities become part of your projections. The only downside is that such users won’t access Collaborative Forecasts.
What is the capability of collaborative forecasting?
Salesforce introduced Collaborative forecasting to provide updated functionality on the existing Customizable forecasting module. Once you enable this tool with impacted users, you should be good to go. Besides adjusting forecasts with time, this module allows you to keep tabs on the opportunities responsible for the estimates.
With a capability of collaborative forecasting, here are some the tasks you’ll achieve:
- Change the amounts of specific opportunities.
- Have access to forecast and quota data.
- Use territory management to monitor forecast data on each territory.
- Create custom report types.
You shouldn’t confuse pipeline management and pipeline forecasting regardless of the subtle similarities between these two concepts. Pipeline forecasting looks at key data points to predict how your firm’s sales performance will play out for a particular duration.
In pipeline management, on the other hand, you asses your pipeline’s efficiency. This aspect of the business also extends to looking at the possibility of closing sales. It should be clear that pipeline forecasting has little impact, if any at all, on sales performance.
Your company should, however, use pipeline forecasting to make sound business decisions. You can base these decisions on the sales volume estimates that should be more accurate.
We can’t talk about different Salesforce forecasting tools and fail to mention customizable forecasting. This accurate, flexible tool has helped countless organizations accurately predict revenue from sales. Customizable forecasting also enables you to get a sneak peek of the products or services you are likely to sell.
With the robust tool, you can select different date ranges and predict sales in these ranges. The tool is among Salesforce forecasting modules that allows you to use revenue and quantity to forecast sales. The flexible solution has also proved decisive for companies with advanced requirements.
Setting up this feature requires you to enable Customizable Forecasting and define settings plus individual features. Once you allow this tab, users in your company can view and submit customizable forecasts based on your settings.
You’ll also find five standard report types that are not customizable. It is always good practice to specify settings that work best for your company when working with Salesforce Forecasting modules, and the customizable feature is no exception.
Salesforce Customizable forecasting allows to you set your fiscal year for forecasting. In this case, you get to decide your forecasting cycles – either monthly or quarterly. The forecast hierarchy is the other important feature of this module. You’ll list all the users, enable them with the Allow Forecasting permission, and decide how each forecast will accumulate with time.
Don’t forget to update the forecast hierarchy. Managers need to keep tabs on their junior’s forecast amounts. Speaking of managers, they are part of the hierarchy and perform specific roles — forecasts of everyone below the manager in the hierarchy roll up to the hierarchy manager.
When it comes to submitting the forecasts, you take Salesforce forecast snapshot of data in your projections. Submit the estimates in batches and save time in the process.
With these great features, Salesforce customizable forecasting has remained a firm favorite among businesses. The bad news is that 2020 will be the last we see of Salesforce Customizable Forecasting. Salesforce already provided Collaborative Forecasting, discussed above, as a suitable alternative for companies.
With all these insights, you have a pretty good idea of how forecasting works in Salesforce. Businesses with an accurate Salesforce forecasting plan can manage their sales expectations with ease. With Collaborative forecasts, for example, you get to predict sales revenue from your opportunity pipeline. While at it, you can still include product families and opportunity splits in your forecasts.
From pipeline to closed sales, Salesforce Collaborative Forecasts ensure that you can plan your sales cycle with little to no trouble. The forecasts also cater to any adjustments that forecast managers and their subordinates make on their forecast amounts. Such properties ensure that your company doesn’t miss out on the constant changes along the way.
The tips mentioned above should help you on your way to creating a suitable Salesforce Forecasting for your organization.
And once you have your forecast set up, it’s now time to add another dimension: true customer engagement.
Using Ebsta Team, you can track engagement between a rep and their prospects, which we then surface in Salesforce to incorporate into your reporting. Our 1,000 customers are using this data to reduce sales cycle, increase close rates and identify opportunities at risk.
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