A predictable sales forecast is what every company desires to have to help them make solid business decisions. However predictable sales forecasts can be highly elusive and difficult to achieve. There’s often a remarkable difference between what the sales team says they’ll bring in and what they actually land up bringing in.
Having a correct picture of your business will allow you to run your business smoothly and to maximize your sales. Sales funnel management will allow you to estimate your probability of revenue for a certain period of time. Some do exceptionally well at managing their sales funnels.
Do not confuse a sales forecast with a sales funnel – they are much different. Your sales forecast determines the buying cycle of your customer in relation to your business and then predicts your sales. Your sales funnel examines the overall health of all potential sales in your income stream. It then estimates the likelihood that there are enough opportunities moving in the direction of closing to ensure revenue flow for a specified period of time.
A robust sales funnel is a good indicator of your long-term sales health. It’s important to keep all the deals in your pipeline current. Be sure you build a system where your data is constantly reviewed. You should be collecting data on:
* The number of deals in the works
* The number of deals in each sales stages
* Cost of sales
* Size of deals
* Progression of the deals
* Utilization of resources
Next you will need to review your criteria, which could include:
* Customer issues
* Best practices for your sales process at every stage
* Criteria for decisions
Sales funnels come in a variety of shapes and sizes. There are a number of stages that occur. Some of those opportunities are for a short period but far reaching, while others are for a long period but only a few opportunities finding their way into the flow. There is no sales funnel that doesn’t have at least a few holes. This means a deal makes its way into the sales funnel but doesn’t make it to the close of the sale. The key is having good opportunities that will make it from start to close.
It’s important for you to have plenty of deals in each stage so that the next stage remains filled as it filters through. This can ensure you have a steady flow of deals rather than trying to rebound from the feast or famine syndrome.