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Being able to accurately forecast your sales figures is vital in any business in order to set and meet targets and identify areas which may need improvement; or, indeed, areas which you can rely upon to bring in big numbers. You can never 100% predict the world of sales because so much of it is in constant fluctuation and can be affected by external forces beyond your control. However, being able to accurately forecast trends and approximate figures is of huge benefit to any business.

If you are finding that your forecasts and predictions are a world away from reality or you are being let down continuously when you are expecting much better figures, it is time to look at the tools you are using and the skills you are implementing to see where the problem lies.

With some simple skills and tools, and investment in sales training you can begin to more accurately predict the outcomes of leads and contacts so that you can focus your sales teams in the right areas to produce the best results.

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Skills and techniques

While you cannot know with certainty whether or not a promising contact will result in a sale, you can spend time finding out the likelihood of a sale being made. Keeping your pipeline full of quality contacts, of which you have identified a need you can fulfil, will help you to forecast your estimated sales. This is opposed to having a contact book full of people you can talk to and pitch to, but you have no idea how many of those leads will result in sales. Knowing what your contacts need and the problems they need to overcome will help you forecast whether or not sales are likely to be made.

Another technique you can implement amongst your sales force in order to better forecast your figures is a reliable sales process. Teaching your sales team to road map their events, meetings and ultimate sales process is good practice for closing sales. It will also mean that they have the information to hand which will help you determine the likelihood of a sale and therefore improve your ability to forecast your team’s performance. Effective sales processes across your sales team will increase their reliability and predictability, also allowing for more accurate forecasting.

The right tools for the task

Investing in additional systems to work with your CRM can help you to increase your ability to accurately forecast your sales figures as well as helping you to boost your numbers and increase selling time and productivity. A reliable qualification tool can help your team to focus on the more promising leads as it collates all the information known about that contact in order to assess how likely it is a sale will be made. Deal breaking information is also identified as well as is any gaps in the information about a contact. Sales qualification tools can greatly improve the accuracy of your sales forecasting.

Combining the right tools, which provide the most accurate information, and the most effective selling processes, which increase the reliability of your sales team, will ultimately enable you to more accurately forecast your sales figures.