by Russ Lombardo, President – PEAK Sales Consulting
In my sales seminars I often ask the attendees when was the last time they saw an accurate sales forecast. Usually after the laughing dies down I see one or two raised hands. It is truly a challenge to create an accurate forecast, and in today’s difficult economy and crazy world it’s even harder than usual. But reliable forecasting using Salesforce is possible.
Frequently the sales person lets his/her emotions get in the way of accurately forecasting the status of an opportunity. The meeting went great. Everyone got along. The prospect loved the product. Hence, it looks like an 80 percent chance of winning this deal. But wait! Is there a budget? Are you talking to the right person — the one with authority to make a purchasing decision? Have you met all their requirements? Do you know, and can you meet, their timeframe? These are the four basic questions that need to be answered in order to accurately qualify a prospect: Budget, Authority, Requirements and Timeframe (in no particular order).
Chances are you’ll say no to more than one of these critical qualifying questions. But because the meeting went so well, your emotions take over and instead of making an analytical assessment, you make an emotional one and predict a higher probability of making the sale than is realistically possible, or at best make a premature assessment of the probability. Not only are you deluding yourself, but you are setting false expectations for your own income. Furthermore, you are making your boss look bad by feeding him/her inaccurate information that s/he has to present to his/her boss. If you are the manager collecting forecasts from your sales team, then you have to make sure your people are not making emotional forecasting decisions. Click to continue »