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How to Run 

Effective Forecast 

Calls

A step-by-step guide to make 

forecast calls valuable and 

productive

Courtesy of TopOPPS


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Overview

I remember my days as a sales rep during the forecast call.  Our only 
preparation was to come up with an excuse to go first and get it over with. 
The proverbial line of “I need to go first because I have a big demo” was 
what everyone raced to say first, while the rest of us languished until it 
was our turn to commit a number and recite our deals supporting it.   

It was painful to hear all the happy stories on deals, because everyone 
was afraid to bring up bad news to our manager.  It was equally painful to 
hear the classic coaching of my sales manager, “Ok team, I really need all 
of you to hit your number this period”.  How unmotivating can you get for 
a forecast call?   

The following are three things to focus on for effective forecast calls (and 
an excuse to go first in the meeting is not one them.)

By Jim Eberlin, CEO & Founder of TopOPPS


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PART ONE

Focus on top deals. 

Be succinct.

1

Each rep should cover their top five deals. 

These deals are opportunities they are 

confident in and are well beyond 

qualification.

.


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Focus. Focus. Focus.

Each rep should review their top 5 deals that they are confident in and are well 
beyond qualification.  A rep may be assigned 40 opportunities but the focus 
should be on the top few deals.   

Do discuss:

1.

….overview of the pain and your solution and why they should buy now

2.

….deals that can close this sales period

3.

….next steps including any resources the rep needs

4.

….forecast category of opportunities (see examples in BE OBJECTIVE and 
WHAT’S CHANGED below)

5.

….changes (see examples in WHAT’S CHANGED below)

Don’t discuss: 

1.

….deals you haven’t talked to a decision maker in a reasonable amount of 
time

2.

….early stage deals even if they are shiny and exciting – save them for 1:1s 
if you need help 

3.

….deals that have no next meeting or call actually scheduled, and it’s been 
over a week since the last conversation with a key individual on the buying 
team

4.

….too much of your subjective opinion – only state factual anecdotes 
including compelling reasons from the actual words of the prospect  

Knowing what to cover (and what not to) is essential.


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PART TWO

Be objective. 

Let a score determine 

the top deals.

2

This scoring system will help you 

focus on just the top deals during 

the forecast call. 


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Building Opportunity Scores

Score opportunities so that it is very clear which are your best opportunities that 
require the most priority.  The score will help in the ranking process so that you 
can focus on just the top five deals on the forecast call.  Opinions are good from 
the sales rep but should only account for a small percentage of the score.  Look at 
three major tenets of scoring each opportunity:

1. Opportunity Progression Score:

This is based on the stage of the deal.  Typically there are three to five 
stages of a deal and there are exit criteria within each stage.

Exit criteria examples include qualification questions, sales activities 
such as demos, resource allocation and any activity within a certain 
stage based on the progression of the deal.

Most companies only score the stage – but they should also score the 
milestones of each exit criteria and the following 2 areas.

2. Ideal Customer Profile Score: 

This is a score based on the deal scenarios that you typically win.

Company size, industry, region, contact roles – all are examples of ICP 
(Ideal Customer Profile)

3. Momentum Score: 

All the activities that show momentum  

Examples:

a.

Meeting scheduled

b.

Positive check-in within a reasonable amount of time

c.

Communication from decision maker in reasonable amount of 
time

i.

This could be in the form of email, call or meeting

d.

Time span that opportunity sat at the progression point (the 
stage or milestone)

e.

Last activity date of any kind 

Progress, Profile and Momentum


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Building Opportunity Scores

Scores are a sign of opportunity health – they are not a weighted forecast 
calculation.  They tell you if a deal is likely to close or fall out.  Scores are an 
essential part of the forecast call for two reasons – 1)  So management doesn’t 
waste time talking about junky opportunities and 2) Sales reps know where to 
spend their valuable time.

Scores also help in classifying opportunities for the forecast.  A system of 
categorizing opportunities may include the following examples: COMMIT, BEST 
CASE, UPSIDE, PIPELINE.  Understanding the forecast classification is also 
important within the forecast call.  

Progress, Profile and Momentum


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PART THREE

What’s Changed?

3

Bad news early, isn’t bad news.


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Good & Bad Changes

The more everyone knows about the top opportunities, the better – bad news 
early is not bad news. So, within the forecast call – the sales rep should discuss 
changes. For example, price reductions, movement of the top deals they’ve been 
discussing in previous calls. Watch for these changes and make sure they are 
brought up in the forecast call.  

Example of changes:

Opportunity amounts that changed – why?  
Deals that fell out – why?  
Deals that advanced or regressed – why? 
Deals that closed – celebrate!

The sales rep should defend their position on the reasons for the change with 
confidence – their manager will appreciate that.

Managers should be calm and objective at all times during the meeting.  Any 
indication of being upset or angry over deals that regressed or fell out of the 
forecast will cause the sales team to only tell the manager what they want to 
hear.  Accountability is important but will come out of the results.

The more everyone knows about the top 

opportunities, the better.


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There’s good news… 

Automation will make this more accurate, easier and much more effective. 
Connect with us to learn how TopOPPS makes the forecast call effortless and 
successful. 

Contact us

 to learn more.

Predictive Analytics & AI 

for Sales