23+ sales forecast templates (and how to use them the right way)

by Steli Efti
sales-forecasting

Imagine two sales managers walk into a room.

Sales Manager #1 wants to crush her quarterly targets and has an idea of what it’s going to take to get there. Who knows, maybe she’ll even take home a plaque for salesperson of the year.

Sales Manager #2, on the other hand, doesn’t hope. She knows exactly how many leads need to enter her team’s pipeline every single day to get where they want to be 90, 180, and even 365 days from now.

The difference between these two sales managers can be explained through one simple, yet ultra-powerful tool: A Sales Forecast.

Before you yawn and your eyes glaze over, realize forecasting doesn’t have to be a complicated or tedious tool to manage. In fact, with the 23+ templates and examples we give you in this post, you can track your entire sales process in as little as 5 minutes a day.

Listen: If you’re a sales manager, VP of marketing, or in charge of generating revenue for your business, it’s okay to wonder if Bitcoin will ever bounce back or if the White Sox will ever win another World Series. But it’s not okay to wonder about your sales numbers.

Sales forecasting gives you the super power of always knowing what’s coming down the pipe. In this post, we’re going to show you step-by-step methods, give you templates you can use in your business, and more. But, before we jump into that, let’s dive a bit deeper into its importance and the factors that influence it.

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The importance of sales forecasting

23+ sales forecast templates for any sales team

Sales forecast examples: See data in action

How to forecast sales

7 methods of sales forecasting

Sales forecasting tools

8 things to consider when designing a sales forecast

4 things that negate a good sales forecast

Additional resources to help make sales forecasting easier

The importance of sales forecasting

Sales forecasting is important because it allows you to see what your business looks like in the future. While your competition may be guessing where they’ll be in 6-12 months, you’ll know exactly where your revenue will be. And that means you can spend confidently on advertising, hiring, and more.

You’ll also have the advantage of spotting potential issues with your lead flow, follow up, and sales process before they rear their ugly heads. So you’ll never be caught off guard and scrambling to make up quotas hours before the 31st of the month.

Instead, you can show up to work each day, check the pulse on your business-generating activities, and take calculated actions to get where you want to go.

For example, if you notice you’re generating 10% less leads than you need to hit your sales quota, a forecast can warn you it’s time to scale up your lead generation efforts before it’s too late. Or maybe you need to double down on content marketing? Or perhaps you just need to pick up the phone and start smiling and dialing?

The point is, you need to know your sales numbers.

sales-forecasting-not-rocket-scienceForecasting doesn’t have to be rocket science.

On the opposite side of things, maybe you notice your lead flow is great, but that one of your sales reps (or sales funnels) is performing better than average. Instead of reacting to this news months after the fact, you can immediately start putting more leads through that funnel, flow, or sales rep and crush your quarter.

Sales forecasting also plays a pivotal role in a number of decisions. For example, say you’ve got a rep who’s calling on leads from one campaign and unable to convert them into customers. That might be a sign to shut off spending on that lead source. Or it could be an early tell that the sales rep needs to be coached… or even shown the door.

That may sound harsh, but having these tough conversations after the fact never helps anybody. But if you’d just known earlier, you might have been able to work with them on the plan to fix the problem and save their job.

It’s not just about turning bad reps around. If you’re blowing past expectations, you can also know when it’s time to start recruiting. Because the reality is, by the time you realize you need more help, it’s already too late.

Lastly, it is a powerful motivation tool for your sales team — especially if you have a longer sales cycle. It allows you to paint a clear picture that the work your team is doing today is going to pay off months down the road—in a big way.

As the great business thinker Peter Drucker said, “What gets measured gets managed.” And sales forecasting is how you measure and manage your sales process from start to finish.

23+ sales forecast templates for any sales team

Every sales forecast has the same goal: to give you a glimpse into what your business will look like in the future. But there are subtle tweaks in each technique for different types of business.

For example, if you’re a small business with a physical location, your forecast will look very different from an e-commerce business that sells mostly through an online storefront. Both businesses still rely on traffic, a sales process, and follow up. But how those variables shake out couldn’t be more different.

So we want to give you templates for any type of business. That way, you’re able to manage your lead flow and forecasting — no matter what type of business you run or are in charge of growing.

WAIT! Need to download a sales forecast fast? Here’s a full list of the 23 templates, including the file type, if instructions are included in the download, whether you have to enter your email to get it and the best features about it. Choose the best one for your business here:

23 Sales Forecasting Templates You Can Download Instantly

Resource File Type Instructions? Examples? Best Feature
Download It Now Excel Yes No Multiple timeframe projections.
Download It Now Google Sheets No Yes Detailed example forecasts.
Download It Now Excel
Google Sheets
PDF
Yes No Built-in profit margin calculation.
Download It Now Excel No No Allows for projections based on lead-driven approach, and projects based on deal stage.
Download It Now Excel Yes No Great for multiple product businesses.
Download It Now Excel No Yes Takes into account costs and markups, great for retailers.
Download It Now Excel No Yes Accounts for seasonality and growth rate, great for e-commerce businesses and retailers.
Download It Now PDF Yes Yes Great, simple monthly report. Best for small businesses.
Download It Now Word Doc Yes No Great for multiple product businesses.
Download It Now Excel No No Has best, worst case, most likely projections, great for companies that do not have a lot of data already, such as a brand new startup.
Download It Now Excel No Yes  Takes into account 36 months of data, presets clear graphs of information.
Download It Now Excel Yes Yes Great for businesses that rely on lots of inventory turnover.
Download It Now Excel Yes Yes Best for businesses with multiple product lines, beautiful output of data.
Download It Now Excel No Yes Takes into consideration lots of costs, good for businesses with a lot of overhead/high costs of goods sold.
Download It Now Excel Yes No Carries data all the way through to the profit and loss statement.
Download It Now Excel No No Takes into account longer deals and projected volume, great for companies with longer sales cycles.
Download It Now Excel Yes Yes Takes into account changing market conditions, good for rapidly changing industries.
Download It Now Excel No No Considers historical growth rate to project future growth, best for businesses with at least two years of sales data.
Download It Now Excel Yes No Allows for scenario planning, you can project based on income goals or target market share.
Download It Now Word Doc No No Allows for projections based on many different variables, such as seasonality, type of service/good sold, profitability per square foot, and more.
Download It Now Excel Yes No Good for small businesses without much data.
Download It Now Excel Yes No Takes into account projected growth rate and increases in marketing/admin costs.
Download It Now Excel Yes Yes Allows for different growth rates for different product lines, great for businesses with multiple products growing at different rates.

Sales forecast templates for startup businesses (beginner friendly!)

sales-forecast-templates-startups

When you’re running a startup business, you’re moving at 90 miles a minute.

It’s a struggle just staying on top of tasks while you’re getting your business off the ground — especially if you’re bootstrapped.

That being said, while it’s tempting to skip forecasting in a startup environment and focus on the more “immediate” business needs, it’s important to know these numbers.

There’s a reason so many startup business find themselves in a position where they need to raise and raise and raise (and give up more and more equity at each stage of growth), and it can be traced back to improper sales forecasting. But with a proper sales plan, you can grow with confidence.

The good news is that just like you keep your startup lean, your forecast can be the same way.

You can do it all for your startup in Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets. The goal is to get the basics down on paper:

  1. The time interval for your sales projection (you can do this on a monthly or quarterly basis)
  2. The price of each item you are selling
  3. The cost of production for each item
Resource File Type Instructions? Examples? Best Feature
Download It Now Excel Yes No Good for small businesses and startups without much data.
Download It Now Excel No No Has best, worst case, most likely projections, great for companies that do not have a lot of data already, such as a brand new startup.


As you can tell, the template for a startup business is simple. The hard part is making accurate projections about your sales future.

But don’t stress. Here are some quick and simple tips for projecting sales in startup businesses:

  • Ask the question: How many widgets will we sell? — If your business sells individual items, start by planning the number of units you think you’ll sell each month. In the beginning, these can just be goals — not true numbers. But as you go through the year, it will give you a sense of how you’re stacking up against your goals. Jump to the section on how to forecast sales below to learn more about what to do when you get some of these real numbers in your database.
  • Look to the past to predict your future — If you have old sales data, this is a great tool for predicting the future. Of course, you’ll need to take into account new variables like increased traffic, leads, or improvements in your sales team’s conversion rate. But the best way to predict what WILL happen is to think about what HAS happened historically, and project those numbers 6-12 months into the future.
  • Think about the steps in your purchase process — For example, as a SaaS company, the number of free trials that turn into paid users is important to knowing what kind of sales you can expect in the future. If you’re not sure where you want to be, get more free trials or fix links in your free-to-paid funnel so you convert free users better. Every startup is different, but think about the steps that your prospect has to go through to ultimately buy, and you can back into your sales projection numbers that way.

Sales forecast templates for small businesses

sales-forecast-templates-small-businesses

You’ve heard the stat that 90% of small businesses fail. But maybe you wondered, “Why?” In many cases, it’s because they don’t manage their cash properly. And, in large part, that can be traced back to improper sales planning.

Just like with startup businesses, it’s tempting for small businesses to skip this process and focus on the more immediate business needs. But, as a small business, you need to at least ballpark what your sales, costs, and profits will be in 6-12 months, or you’ll put yourself at risk of closing up shop too.

For small businesses, we recommend keeping your forecast simple so it’s something you stick to managing and not something that stays on your to-do list for months and months.

All you need is Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets to get started. Here are the best templates you need to begin:

Resource File Type Instructions? Examples? Information Required? Best Feature
Download It Now PDF Yes Yes None Great, simple monthly report. Best for small businesses.

Download It Now Excel Yes No None Good for small businesses and startups without much data.
Download It Now Excel No No None Has best, worst case, most likely projections. Great for companies that do not have a lot of data already, such as a brand new startup.

Sales forecast template for e-commerce businesses

sales-forecast-templates-ecommerce-businesses

Forecasting is critical piece of an e-commerce businesses’ success.

Without a proper process in place, you won’t know how much to spend on advertising, what tactics are working, and what needs to be stopped immediately.

Unlike service-based businesses, e-commerce businesses also need to manage inventory flows. And if you’re not predicting sales properly—for an upcoming holiday sales spike or seasonal sales decline—you could end up without enough product on hand, or owing your suppliers a lot of money… without any way to pay them on time.

Here are some powerful templates you can use:

Resource File Type Instructions? Examples? Best Feature
Download It Now Excel Yes Yes Allows for different growth rates for different product lines. Great for businesses with multiple products growing at different rates.
Download It Now Excel Yes No Great for multiple product businesses.
Download It Now Excel No Yes Takes into account costs and markups. Great for retailers.
Download It Now Excel No Yes Accounts for seasonality and growth rate. Great for e-commerce businesses and retailers.
Download It Now Excel No Yes Takes into consideration lots of costs. Good for businesses with a lot of overhead/high costs of goods sold.
Download It Now Excel Yes No Carries data all the way through to the profit and loss statement.


At the end of the day, the minimum you need to be tracking includes:

  • Traffic to your store
  • Your store’s conversion rate
  • The average order value
  • The total revenue generated
  • Your costs per items sold and ad spend

The templates we’ve provided will help you manage these variables and a lot more.

Sales forecast template for any B2B

sales-forecast-templates-b2b

In B2B marketing, the sales process can be a long and arduous battle.

It’s ultimately worth the months of back and forth, the never-ending game of telephone to get the decision makers on the phone, and wining and dining the clients to get the deal.

But when lead cycles are long, you need to know your numbers so you know what leads are coming into the system, who needs to follow up, and what’s expected to close and when.

That’s where a sales forecast comes into play. For B2B companies, it will (ideally) track the entire journey from anonymous first touch through purchasing all in one place.

Here are a few powerful templates you can use:

Resource File Type Instructions? Examples? Best Feature
Download It Now Excel No No Allows for projections based on lead-driven approach and projects based on deal stage.
Download It Now Excel No No Takes into account longer deals and projected volume. Great for companies with longer cycles.

Sales forecast examples: See data in action

The templates we’ve provided are great, but here’s the truth: Downloading these templates does nothing for your sales team or company if you don’t know how to use them.

To ensure you’re able to use these templates to make intelligent business decisions, we want to give you links to step-by-step resources that walk you through exactly how to put these numbers into the templates in different scenarios.

That way you know exactly what data to put in the sheets, when to update it and how to use it to make actionable decisions in your sales team.

1. Sales forecast for hardware startups

In this resource, you’ll see what a forecast for a hardware startup might look like, and what information you would need if you’re in this industry.

Business Type: Startup
Key Lesson: With hardware sales, seasonality, channel tracking, and getting in front of purchase orders can have a huge impact on your bottom line.

2. Sales forecast for e-commerce digital marketing

Learn what a forecast for a e-commerce company might look like, and what information you would need if you’re in this industry.

Business Type: From startup to established business
Key Lesson: With an e-commerce business, you can get in front of issues early and often by tracking your traffic, conversion rate and advertising costs from the get go.

3. Sales forecast for a fast growth SaaS company

In this post, you’ll see how to forecast sales in a fast growing SaaS company, and what information you would need for budgeting and monitoring growth as the year progresses.

Business Type: From startup to established business
Key Lesson: In an early-stage software company, one of the hardest things to do is project new customers for the year. This is especially true for fast growing SaaS companies, but it’s key to running your business into growth and not into the ground.

How to forecast sales

forecast-sales

Trying to build a sales forecast can be overwhelming, especially when you first get started. A quick Google search tells you to sign up for dozens of fancy tools, software or get a degree in finance to build an accurate plan. But the truth is forecasting can be quite simple — if you follow a step-by-step process. We broke it down into 4 easy-to-follow steps you can use to build a great forecast for your business. If you’re in need of a quick and dirty solution, this is more than enough to get your process underway.

Step 1: Calculate your sales run rate

One way to get a rough revenue forecast is to look at what would happen if your sales kept happening in the future at the same rate they are today.

You do this through a simple equation: Divide your current year-to-date sales by the number of sales periods to date. For example, if you’ve made $120,000 through March 30. Then divide $120,000 by 3 months. That tells you you’re generating $40,000 per month. That’s your run rate. Then, multiply that number by remaining sales periods in the year to come up with an annual projection. So in this example it would be $40,000 * 9 months left in the year. This tells you $360,000 is the sales volume you can expect through the end of the year — if you change nothing about your business.

Projected sales = Run rate (Current sales/number of sales periods this far) x Remaining # of sales periods

This is one of the most basic and, frankly, inaccurate ways to build a sales plan, because it doesn’t take into account seasonality, growth or decline in your business. But, it’s a starting point that you can refine with the following steps.

Step 2: Adjust for historical trends and seasonality

If you have historical data, it’s important to incorporate that, too.

You want to take a look at the previous 12-24 months of your business; look at which months saw spikes and where you saw dips. For example, if your business sells clothing to consumers, it’s common to see a massive spike around Black Friday and Cyber Monday, and a dip off in the summer.

These spike and declines can be massive. In fact, according to Shopify, the world’s largest e-commerce solution for small and medium businesses, “throughout the Black Friday Cyber Monday (BFCM) shopping weekend, November 24th to the 26th, Shopify merchants collectively made over $1.5 billion USD in sales.”

That’s not an average day or weekend — by a long shot.

Also, if there’s seasonality or trends in your business, you should look at the percent increase from your average month that those time periods spike or dip your sales. For example, if your sales typically spike by 30% in November, adjust your sales run rate to take these trends into consideration.

If you don’t have historical data or seasonality in your business yet, don’t sweat it. Just skip this step.

Step 3: Modify sales forecast for anticipated market trends and changes

Businesses aren’t built in a vacuum. You build them in a world where changes are made every day, so you need to consider changes in the marketplace.

Things like changes in overall market growth rate, consumer behavior, and emerging trends can have a huge impact on the numbers you can expect to see in your business.

For example, if you sell in the natural health market, and the industry is projected to grow by 23% in 2019, that can be a benchmark for your growth rate. Double that is really aggressive. It’s possible with a great closing system, but everything has to go right. But a 10% growth projection might be too low.

These numbers don’t define you, but they can be helpful ways to project what could happen.

Step 4: Add your firm’s strategic business plans

The outside world has a huge impact on your business, but what you’re doing internally also affects the results you might expect over the coming months.

Are you launching any new products? How have product launches performed in the past? Are you marketing to new customer segments? How many new customers do you expect these new markets to add to your customer file?

Are prices changing? What would that do to sales if they did? These can all have big effects on your future revenue and important considerations for your sales plan.

Once you’ve included everything in steps 1-4, you’ve got the bones of a great forecast in place. But that’s just one simple and overarching way to build this. There are other—more advanced—ways you can do it, depending on what metrics you have and rely on for growth.

7 methods of sales forecasting

methods-of-sales-forecasting

When it comes to sales forecasting, there isn’t a cookie cutter solution.

Depending on the data you have on hand, the key metrics you need to track, and how confident you are in the data you have, you’ll need to adjust your process so that it provides actionable information to you and your business.

The good news is that we’ve done the hard work of sorting through different methods, explaining how they work, and who each type is right for. So let’s quickly go through the 7 methods and who should be using them.

1. Lead-driven forecasting

What is it: In its simplest form, lead-driven forecasting takes your previous lead conversion rates and projects future sales based on your current lead volume. It can also be used to determine how many leads you need to reach a particular revenue goal.

A more advanced method can help you assign a value to different sales processes by analyzing various lead sources and their previous conversion rates.

This is important when you realize that without a prospect, you don’t have a client, and without clients, you don’t have a business.

To get started, you’ll need to know your leads per month from your previous sales cycle, lead-to-customer conversation rate by lead source, and average sale price by source.

Who it’s for: Those who have clear historical acquisition data on how your lead sources convert and a steady stream of inbound leads.

2. Length of sales cycle forecasting

What is it: This method removes the gut-reaction, guesswork out of a rep. Because it is objective, it only considers how long a lead typically takes to close on an individual rep’s sales, and how long it has taken to close similar leads in the past.

Even better, this method can allow you to apply it to numerous sales cycles. For example, a trade show and a referral takes different close times, and this method allows you to group sales by type and still get an accurate prediction.

Who it’s for: If you have accurate data on when a prospect enters your sales pipeline and through what source, this method can be beneficial. But if your marketing and sales efforts are not closely aligned or this information is not easily communicated amongst both teams, this method may not be for you just yet.

3. Opportunity stage forecasting

What is it: The opportunity stage method looks at your sales pipeline and considers how likely that lead is to close and, thus, turn into sales for your business.

For example, it’s unlikely that a new prospect will close right away. So you might assign the potential close rate of 7%. But someone who has gone through a product demo might be 80% likely to close.

The point is, you can account for where the prospect is by looking at which stage they’re at. For example, if your average deal size is $10,000 and a prospect has gone through a product demo, you can assign a forecasted sales number of $8,000 ($10,000 x 80%).

If a prospect has just entered your funnel, you can assign a forecasted sales number of $700 ($10,000 x 7%).

Who it’s for: If you have good data on the likelihood of a prospect closing depending on where they are in the sales cycle, use this method.

4. Intuitive forecasting

What is it: This is a subjective method, based on trust and open communication with your sales team. Your salespeople are the ones on the ground, getting leads and closing sales, so they can sometimes be a good resource to forecast sales.

Naturally, because this method is more subjective, it is harder to verify and scale. However, it’s a great option if you’re lacking in historical data and your reps can think objectively and talk to you honestly.

Who it’s for: This use-at-your-own-risk method is actually a really good fit for early-stage startups or companies without a lot of historical data or past sales information. It’s a great first step until you have a bevy of accurate data.

5. Test-market analysis forecasting

What is it: If you’re launching a new product or service, this method allows you to do a limited release, see how the market responds, and project sales based on those early data points. It’s not perfect — by a long shot — but it’s a starting point for projections when you do a full rollout.

Who it’s for: If you’re releasing a new product or a startup doing a soft launch, this is a good way to test the waters and get a sense of the volume you can expect when you make it available to everyone.

6. Historical forecasting

What it is: This method looks historical sales data and applies it to the future. If you sold $100,000 in January last year, this model assumes you’ll hit a similar number this year. If you want to make your numbers more forward-looking, simply apply your projected growth rate to last years numbers to come up with this year’s projections.

So if you’re growing at 12% year-on-year and made $100,000 last January, this January projected sales would be $112,000.

Who it’s for: This is a fast and simple solution for any business that has at least one year of sales data to look back on.

7. Multivariable analysis

What is it: Instead of using blanket projections, this method allows you to project based on a number of variables and different closing ratios.

For example, let’s say you have two sales reps selling the same product but different account sizes. The different deal sizes may have wildly different closing ratios. For example, a $1 million account may have a small probability of ever closing, but a $5,000 account may close at 80%—depending on what stage the prospect is in. A multivariable analysis accounts for these kind of factors and more.

Who it’s for: If you have varying deal sizes and close rates and want a more accurate projection of what your sales volume will be 6-12 months in the future, this method can provide a lot of value to the business or sales team that tracks their data diligently.

Sales forecasting tools

Using the proper tools are essential in accurately planning and driving your business’ growth. Good data equals good business decisions, so consider these tools and assets to forecast sales.

1. Sales CRM

You want to accurately and dependably predict your sales so you can set realistic revenue goals within your business. Your reps need to be able to track and share sales, closes, or potential issues with you. That’s exactly why a powerful, easy-to-use CRM is a key tool in sales planning.

In fact, CRM is such an important tool that 91% of businesses use it.

Having a platform to leverage accurate data about your customers and reps’ performance is vital, and can profoundly help you forecast and streamline your sales data. We may be a tad biased, but we really like Close CRM.

In general, sales teams should be regularly tracking their progress—weekly, monthly, quarterly—to see if things are progressing in the right direction. Gain a better understanding of how your team is performing and take corrective measures when there’s fluctuation, or determine what’s working well and why. Perhaps your team is performing well because a rep or two on the team is closing more deals. If that’s the case, reward them and show other members of the team that their hard work pays off. Overall, you should always keep an eye on your sales team’s progress.

To track the progress of your sales team, you could use a boring spreadsheet that requires ongoing manual data entry. But who has time for that when you can be making more calls, sending more emails, and connecting with new leads? A great alternative to the hassle of creating a spreadsheet and inputting data is a CRM like Close. All communication, from calls to emails, flows through the app. Close gathers all of this data to automatically compile these reports for you, allowing you to focus more of your time and energy on what matters most—tracking your sales team’s progress in real-time and taking action so that they can be more productive.

Here’s what our sales team’s dashboard in Close looks like:

sales-crm-activity-overview

2. Internal systems and communication

There are a lot of external factors to consider when forecasting sales—changing economic conditions, competitor advances, legislation, or even the seasonality of what you’re selling. But there are also a lot of internal factors that are key to an accurate prediction.

For example, be sure that you’re crystal clear on your individual and team sales goals. Open communication, using tools like Slack, and defining what success really means to you and your organization is key. Setting realistic goals that fit into your overall sales strategy is vital.

Your sales process can be the foundation of your future growth and an accurate forecast. Be sure everyone—from your reps to sales managers—understand what steps can be repeated to turn a prospect to a client. That process should include a timeline, win rate, etc.

In that same vein, you must have standardized definitions of the key leverage movers in your business. Everyone in your organization should know exactly how to qualify a lead, an opportunity, a prospect, and a close. You’d be surprised how flexible some employees may view these terms, so you want to ensure when reps are reporting on their work, everyone is on the same page. This will lead to your most accurate forecasting.

3. Your team

What’s one of the most powerful resources you have? Your team. Your reps and salespeople are the movers and shakers for your forecasting efforts, so be sure that you keep an eye on them. Fluctuations in your team can drastically impact your predictions. Any changes that occur should be reflected in your sales plan.

Internal policies can have the same effect, so be sure you’re accounting for potential changes in incentive programs, commission structures, etc.

8 things to consider when designing a sales forecast

designing-a-sales-forecast

While revenue in your business may fluctuate year over year, you can begin to establish patterns to effectively forecast sales. Below are several important factors to consider as you begin your process:

1. Your business type

In this post, we’ve shown you the factors that make up a sales forecast, and how to determine which is best for your business. It boils down to a number of factors, such as how old/new your business is, the growth rate of your industry, and how leads turn into sales.

But the biggest factor of all is knowing what data you have on hand, and which will be the most actionable for your business. Don’t sweat about getting it perfect. Choose one of the templates provided, and go from there.

2. Past performance of your business

By considering the past performance of your business, you’ll be able to see how each aspect performs under various economic conditions. That way, you’ll have a good sense of how your business will perform if those factors occur again. By adapting and being flexible in any economic condition, you can develop a more accurate plan.

3. External market conditions

We live in a global business environment, which means that an issue happening in one place in the world can have a real effect on your business or other associated businesses. Companies that have international clients can be the most affected by various issues, such as politics or trade deals. Be sure to study current events in your global markets to make informed decisions and project accurately.

4. The landscape your industry

While your forecast will consider historical company performance and events, it’s also vital to factor in current industry performance. Even if you are unaffected by current global events, market growth, government legislation, policies, and taxation rates can affect your industry. These things can impact your market share, so it’s important to consider them when forecasting your future.

5. Inflation’s effect on your business

From currency value to your clients’ disposable income, inflation has major effects, and you can’t ignore it in your forecasting. Depending on the market or country, you may need to project artificial inflationary adjustments. And because no business has control over inflation, it’s even more critical to factor in these things.

6. The internal workings of your company

There are several internal elements that can affect your forecast. Changes in policy, advertising, quality, price, resources, investors, and leadership are all data points you should work into your forecast.

7. Your promotional strategy

The sales and revenue you’re making now could very well be traced back to last year’s marketing efforts. So as you forecast, don’t discount the marketing techniques you’re doing now or have done. You can use look at those to have a better sense of results to come.

8. Seasonal changes and swings in your business activity

There are several factors beyond the control of the business enterprise, but seasonal demands from your clients can have a drastic impact on your performance. Consider seasonal or recurring events or global trends that you could align your company or branding with, such as holidays, sporting events and more. Understanding and planning for these kinds of events can help you increase your sales and revenues to unprecedented levels.

4 things that negate a good sales forecast

negate-a-good-sales-forecast

To avoid inaccuracies and spot errors in your sales plan, make sure you know some of the main reasons for failure (before it’s too late):

1. Market changes or customer behavior

Customers can be finicky, and a product or service they love may quickly fall out of fashion. It may not always be easy to predict when market shifts may happen and when trends will pass, but you can be sure that your product is unique and offers something they can’t get elsewhere. If your product is similar to something trendy or already in fashion, be sure yours can stand the test of time.

2. Inaccurate sales history 

It’s clear that a proper sales history is vital in successful sales planning. If you don’t have historical data, you will struggle to anticipate the future. Your forecast will be rooted in guesses, rather than predictable data.

3. Customer attitudes

It may be challenging to predict your customer’s changing attitudes to your product or service. Even misinformation about a product can have a significant effect on a client’s attitude. We live in an hyperspeed, review-centric market. Keep an eye out for rumors or trends that can spread swiftly and have lasting effects.

4. Marketplace changes

Forecasts can be affected by company or industry growth, stall outs or declines. Before you dive in, know that it’s almost impossible to account for every outside factor. But with the tips in this post, you’re armed and ready to know how to account for them where you can.

Additional resources to help make sales forecasting easier

resources-to-make-sales-forecasting-easier

Sales forecasts are incredibly helpful in keeping your business thriving. And like any business, your strategy and method has the ability to change and evolve. We suggest revisiting this post regularly as you grow and bookmarking the below resources to become a sales forecasting pro no matter what the world throws at you.

Is your forecast not working? Here’s a fix

At times, forecast can spit out wild and wacky numbers. But it’s not always a fault of your forecasting technique or data. Sometimes, errors can come from issues in your sales funnels or follow up. This post walks you through some potential fixes to your sales funnel and data flow so that you can come with more accurate predictions going forward.

How to choose the right forecasting technique

You don’t have to go to Harvard to see how they think about building these kinds of plans. In this deep dive article, The Harvard Business Review discusses in detail how to tackle sales forecasting down to the smallest details — like what happens if international policies change or consumer preferences pivot. It’s more than you need to get started. But if you don’t want to bite the apple and want to eat from the fruit buffet, take a look.

Why communications is key to accurate forecasting

Sales people are known for making promises to clients. Sometimes that’s not an issue. But when a promise is made that the tech team can’t keep, it can be a big issue. To keep these kinds of issues at bay and help your sales team hit targets without promising everything under the moon, check out this article on keeping information flowing efficiently between your sales and dev teams.

Bookmark the ultimate library of sales resources

Want to blow your sales forecast out of the water? We’ve compiled a giant library with the best sales resources to help your team crush their numbers. From sales scripts, to follow email templates, to tips on crushing demos, we’ve got it all in one place for you and your team.

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