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Sales Forecasting 

System

Courtesy of TopOPPS

Jim Eberlin, Founder & CEO

HOW TO BECOME 

BEST-IN-CLASS


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YOU’RE LEAVING MONEY ON THE TABLE!!!

The ROI  of reaching a high level of sales forecast accuracy can be incredible if you 
follow the guidelines in this blog.  Research that we acquired here at TopOPPS 
from Gartner, Aberdeen and CSO Insights shows that by applying these 
principles, you can have an increase of 11% to 13% in Quota Attainment, 
Forecasted Win Rates, and Revenue Plan Attainment.  On a $10M quota for the 
sales team, this could mean $1.1M to $1.3M in more revenue.  And that’s 
increased productivity without spending more on marketing or adding sales 
resources.  

MAKE FORECASTING EFFECTIVE

Get on top of the forecast early and stay on top of it.  Before we get into how,  you 
have to understand why.  Two things come from getting on top of the forecast 
early – win rates will go up and sell times will go down.  This is due partly to getting 
alignment and better allocation of resources on the right deals early on.  This 
helps make an impact before a deal goes dark or you lose them to a competitor.  
And, once you get the forecasting accuracy down so that you can predict earlier in 
the sales period, you will improve processes.  When you are better organized and 
know what’s going on in the pipeline and sales process – you can concentrate more 
on what works and measure effectiveness better.  

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What’s interesting is that best-in-class still miss the forecast on average of up to 
11%, even right before the end of the sales period according to this research.  This 
article will help in outdoing best-in-class.

OBSTACLES TO FORECASTING

So what are the challenges to achieving best-in-class sales forecasting?  According 
to the research, the following were the biggest obstacles:

1.

 Insufficient and inaccurate data on current deals in the pipeline – this 
certainly does not support any reporting or analytics.

2.

Overconfidence (I call this Happy Ears) or Sandbagging (this is usually due 
to fear of accountability).

3.

Lack of accountability on sales forecast – sometimes managers just give up 
and don’t rely at all on a sales reps forecast – trying to figure it out for 
themselves and forced to be ultra conservative.

4.

Lack of help from manager – managers that are overburdened have to 
triage their help and coaching.  And without empirical data to support 
what’s happening, their coaching is not as effective.

5.

Can’t understand probability of closing – this could be due partly to #2, or it 
could be because it’s a new seller that’s ramping up.  

6.

No formal process or lack of rigor around sales pipeline stages and exit 
criteria.


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MITIGATE OBSTACLES AND BE ACCURATE EARLY

The following four steps are necessary to be best-in-class in forecasting and to get 
out on top of the forecast early.  

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1. Regular RepManager 

Forecast Reviews

Regular pipeline meetings between 
manager and seller are a must – and 
something most companies do at least 
weekly in order to scrutinize deals 
that are being worked.  Aberdeen’s 
research shows that 71% of 
best-in-class forecasters do this but so 
do 67% of the others surveyed that 
are underperforming.  So, what do the 
world-class forecasters do different 
than the others?  See 2, 3 and 4…. 

2. Standardized Rankings to Classify 

All Sales Opportunities and Leads

Elite sales organizations are much 
more rigorous on how they classify 
and rank sales opportunities.  They 
use data driven alerts to guide the 
right kind of behaviors in order to 
qualify opportunities better as they 
pass through the sales funnel.  
Everyone is on the same page on how 
they rank and classify  and have 
confidence that the pipeline is real.

3. Process to Improve Discovery 
Activities to Better Predict Deal 

Outcomes

World-class selling organizations 
outperform other companies by 
following formal processes that allow 
them to separate good from bad sales 
opportunities and to focus the 
attention of sellers on the right 
activities at the right time.

4. Automated Reminders

Modern sales analysis and artificial 
intelligence helps management and 
sellers understand the results of what 
happened in sales pursuits 
historically.  Artificial intelligence 
from applications such as TopOPPS 
can inform sellers with intelligent 
prescriptions to better align 
resources, plan better and act in time 
to make an impact.


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BEST-IN-CLASS LEVERAGE THE RIGHT SOLUTIONS

By implementing solutions like ours, managers and sellers can be best-in-class in 
sales forecasting.  Being best-in-class also means they are having better coaching 
conversations and their reps are consistently doing the same things that they 
need to do in order to advance a deal.  So, what’s the good news to being 
best-in-class in sales forecasting?  The good news is that teams are better 
organized causing win rates to go up and sales cycles to be reduced.

If you’d like to see how our customers are using artificial intelligence and 
prescriptive insights to achieve best-in-class sales forecasting, 

complete this form 

or call us at (877)737-7976.

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