The War Room

Is forecasting kind of bullshit?

I’ll start by saying I’m looking forward to hearing the good opinions as to why it’s not but it’s a question I’ve been wanting to discuss and this community provides a good opportunity to do so without being ridiculed.

Managers want accurate forecasting so they can report accurately upwards, so on and so forth. That I get - but a deal is only real once it’s signed (and even then I’d like the money deposited in my account first). I’m sure others have this happen often where you need to forecast something for the current month so you do. You think it has a decent shot and the champion is even hinting it could happen - and then it doesn’t - so you slide it to the next month, rinse and repeat. I know this isn’t the spirit of forecasting but it happens quite a bit.

My point is - fundamentally what does it matter what I project happens vs what actually happens? I sell software - it’s not like I need to project inventory for my widgets over the next 3 months.

Maybe forecasting just means my direct manager has something to talk about with me in terms of the deals I’m working? You would need me to keep track of opportunities somehow and I suppose you could attach a date to it but ultimately if the goal is always closed won as soon as possible - does it matter?

I’ll add that I’m interested to hear the arguments as to why its important - particularly in larger companies with mature sales organizations. My only experience is in start ups with 50-70 employees but we sell to companies of all size including fortune 100.

👑 Sales Strategy
Good Citizen
Business Development Lead
Was typing something out here but figured the answer is best coming from someone higher up in their org's chain. SVPs/CEOs, where you at?
Enterprise Account Executive
I’ve always been in the same boat as you.. does it really matter if it comes in now or May/June as long as it comes in??? 

But i think it comes down to SVPs/RMs saying they will hit a % of their target and then needing your deal to get there because someone else lost one. They ask for accurate forecasts so when they are 100k short, they know what deal is closest to coming in to try and pull it in. 

Maybe? I’m not sure tbh 
Notable Contributor
Director Sales and Market Development
Gut feel, upside, best case, blood commit. Which number are they actually showing? Lol. Yeah there is alit in forecasting that could be improved. Agree that deals push and its a total rinse and repeat cycle. But forecasting accurately, that's a skill
Account Executive
From the copier industry point of view and regardless of inventory, all of the higher ups salaries here depend on our sales vs. budget quota.  If we are behind budget, they will implement strategies to help get us to our goal.  If we are ahead of budget, they want to celebrate it.  
Account Manager
It definitely matters in the hardware space with distribution planning our inventory around projected sales. That being said, I think we all know a lot of how we forecast is fluffy. More an art than a science that's for sure.
Sales Forecasting
Thoughts on managers who make you be very liberal on forecasting?
Fuck forecasting, and fuck people who change their minds.