The War Room

Thoughts on managers who make you be very liberal on forecasting?

Throughout my 10 years of software sales I've seen just about any forecasting style you can think of. Sandbagging, Keeping it forecast real, and forecasting something every quarter just to have something forecasted... Now I have a boss where if a deal on the team slips, she comes to me asking me to forecast something else. I say no... Then she convinces me to do it anyway... Thoughts on how you would handle this?

-Personally I'm a pussy and just play the game, forecast these deals that aren't ready yet/pray they come in/Apologize later, and use it as a "coach me how I can be better moment"... What would you do?

🎱 Sales Forecast
WR Officer
Senior Account Executive
Unfortunately you gotta play the game to stay employed. Necessary evil.Β 
Account Executive
I'm unfortunately too honest. If something's not going to close I'm real about it
Territory Manager
I would just be honest. Tell her you’ll do everything you can to bring it in early but remind her there’s a reason you didn’t forecast it in the first place.
WR Officer
Bean Juice Drinker | Sales Savant
Does she come to you because you're the go-to...or because she knows you'll do it? Either way, keep moving with the strings like the good puppets we all are!
Strategic Account Executive
I'd say its a mix of I have an active pipeline, and she's axed a few guys on the team who went against the grain...Β  So she knows I'm not willing to play with fire...
Senior AE
Have to play the game for optics and political purposes as much as it may suckΒ 
Valued Contributor
Senior Account Executive
I prefer to forecast what I know I'm going to close & upside everything else. I realize managers try to end within 10% of their forecast but my take is that I'll only get aggressive if I don't have enough sure shots to get to quota that month/quarter.

I mean I don't have 10 years of experience under my belt, but in my experience if a manager asks you to forecast too aggressively, they're probably more concerned about their own number than supporting their individual reps getting to goal, which is not a good sign.
Strategic Growth
As someone who's been on both sides of this fence (being told to forecast for the sake of forecasting, and telling folks to forecast), I get your frustration.

The reality is, your boss is probably protecting not only her job but also yours as well. My guess is that she's under regular scrutiny from her superior asking where the next $500k revenue is coming from. If she can't at least paint a blurry picture that said revenue is indeed coming, you're both exposed. Remember, the average tenure for a VP of Sales in a SaaS environment today is like 18 months (or something ridiculously low like that), so the pressure is very real (I don't know if you report to a VP directly, but you get my drift). I'm not saying that fudging a forecast is right, but this isn't the first time it has happened, and it won't be the last.

If I were you, I would continue to play nice, but I would also be very careful to not over-forecast. Talk about new leads, contacts, and opportunities, but don't make it up for the sake of it. That's when it gets dangerous for you as an AE.
Sales Manager
Be honest but also don’t be way too conservative that you are leaving deals out of the pipeline or not having them in the correct stage.Β 
Had a manager like that. IΒ΄m pretty conservative by nature so I felt bad listening to him. I tried to have something on paper/mail from him saying I should just up the forecast, but he would never answer and always call me. That bastard.Β 

Lon story short: he was a bad manager and I only worked there for 6 months until I was fed up with it.
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Fuck forecasting, and fuck people who change their minds.