Sales Forecasting – Common Hurdles

Once you start organizing your work, you will be able to come up with a clear estimation of the amount of your time you should spend on each activity. Still, there is room for exceptions to be made. A wise thing to do would be to keep and maintain a journal where you can keep a record of time spent on different activities in the journal.

Maintain Journal

This gives a clear, transparent idea on how you are keeping up with the plan or the amount of help and practice is necessary in this area. You should first focus on dividing your time into the specific categories according to your responsibilities and priorities, which for example may include −

  • Visits by costumers
  • Personal time
  • Report writing time
  • Reports reviewing time
  • Planning and strategy making time

Sometimes, it is observed that despite all time-saving measures taken and all work efficiently organized, there are still hurdles that people face while designing sales forecasting reports. These hurdles are largely caused due to undesirable interferences in work or due to internal conflicting numbers from departments running multiple projects or disagreement on the sales forecast numbers as either too conservative (sure but low-profit prediction) or ambitious (unsure but high-profit prediction).

Drop-Ins

Sometimes your seniors and your team members do not need your report immediately. However, they might still walk to your desk or cubicle and engage in conversations or share opinions that are time-taking. Such actions are called “drop-ins”. Some examples of the various types of drop-ins are −

  • When you are given unsolicited advice on forecasting.
  • A customer crisis fell upon one of your sales staffs.
  • One of your colleagues suggests referring to some independent survey.

You would initially think that the first and the third may help you in your task. However, following these steps takes away your attention from concrete, first-hand evidence and shifts it towards third-party survey results. The second one may seem like just some unproductive time duration, but the truth is that a large chunk of sales forecasting is tied to inter-departmental working, but not on individual cases, unless it happens to be a big player.

Big Player

Keep in mind that you have included goals and objectives in your plan. Just compare these activities with the priorities you associate with your current task and choose accordingly.

Putting Fires Out

It is a common occurrence in Sales Forecasting to come across some strong difference of opinions. When a forecasting is done, it puts a number up for every department. In such cases, dissent is bound to happen.

Fires Out

For example, the forecasting said that the Sales Department will register a profit of 10%. However, the Sales Department might feel it is too ambitious. If you think it is not an emergency situation, you do not necessarily have to overreact the same way as others. If others see your overreaction, your reputation may go down, instead of going up. Remember that, these unwanted conflicts can be sorted out by relating them to your plan.

Other Projects

Very often other auxiliary projects may pop up that may require some of your time and effort. Though they may need your attention, you can push them back in the priority list. Moreover, the ideology here is to stick to the truth. In case of these projects, you should consult the manager and others associated to prioritize things.