Eliminate the Guesswork with Sales Forecasting: Part 2
Stop playing the guessing game!
Being able to predict the revenue of your organization is vital. An accurate revenue forecast allows for planning, focusing on the right aspects of your business, making informed strategic decisions, budgeting, and allocating resources appropriately, just to name a few. This in turn saves you time and money. One of the best new features included in the Dynamics 365 2020 Release Wave 1 is Sales Forecasting. It enables you make accurate predictions, eliminating the guesswork. Part 1 of this blog focused on the basics of sales forecasting, as well as configuring sales forecasts. In this second part, we will focus on viewing and analyzing sales forecasts.
Viewing a Sales Forecast
*Note when viewing a forecast, the first thing that needs to be done is to review prerequisites and security roles. In order to configure a sales forecast you must have either a system administrator or forecast manager role. The administrator sets who will have visibility to the forecast, but they are the only one who can make adjustments or changes. For more information on setting up viewing permissions view Microsoft’s document on viewing permissions. To learn more about how to configure a sales forecast, visit part 1 of this blog series or register for our Sales Forecasting webinar. During our webinar, we will discuss, not only how to build monthly, quarterly, or annual sales forecasts for your sales team, but also how to use forecasts with your Dynamics 365 Goals, and how to create reports.
Using Sales Forecast enables your organization to predict the amount of revenue your sales team will generate within a given timeframe. Sales Forecasts can play a significant role in your company’s success. By using a forecast:
- Sellers are able to track their performance against targets and identify pipeline risks that might jeopardize their ability to hit the targets.
- Managers are able to track individual sales performance against quotas, to proactively provide coaching.
- Directors are able to use forecast trends to anticipate departmental sales and reallocate resources if necessary.
- Organization leaders are able to use projected estimates to change product strategy or convey updated projections to investors.
After signing into the Sales Hub:
- At the bottom of the site map, select Change area , and then select Sales.
2. Under Performance, select Forecasts.
3. On the grid page, do the following: The sales forecast will display all categories as designed by the administrator or forecast manager.
- From the drop-down list, choose a forecast. (Forecasts that you have permissions for will appear here).
- Select the forecast period you wish to view. Options in the drop-down list reflect the number of forecast periods defined in the forecast configuration. The current period is the default.
4. When setting up a forecast, the administrator can choose to customize the forecast or use out-of-the-box categories. The following is a list of out-of-the-box categories offered:
- Users: Shows the hierarchy of users as defined by the Manager field. To learn more, see Forecasts and sales hierarchy.
- Quota: A target amount set for a specific owner over a given time frame. The progress bar is calculated against this value.
- Pipeline: Shows the aggregated (rolled-up) value of estimated revenue for all open opportunities that have the forecast category set as Pipeline (low confidence). This value can be adjusted during forecast.
- Best case: Shows the aggregated (rolled-up) value of estimated revenue of all open opportunities that have the forecast category set as Best Case (medium confidence). This value can be adjusted during forecast.
- Committed: Shows the aggregated (rolled-up) value of estimated revenue for all open opportunities that have the forecast category set as Committed (high confidence). This value can be adjusted during forecast.
- Omitted: Shows the aggregated (rolled-up) value of excluded revenue for all open opportunities that have the forecast category set as Omitted.
- Won: Shows the aggregated (rolled-up) value of revenue that’s generated for all won opportunities that have the forecast category set as Won.
- Lost: Shows the aggregated (rolled-up) value of revenue that’s lost for all lost opportunities that have the forecast category set as Lost.
To learn more about viewing a sales forecast, we have included this video from Microsoft:
In the forecast grid, you can perform the following important functions:
- View and manage underlying opportunities – To understand which opportunities are affecting forecast values. Underlying opportunities can be viewed in the kanban view or in a table view.
- Adjust values in a forecast – provides sales managers or sellers the ability to estimate the final amount that they expect for a forecast’s opportunities to bring in at the close of the forecast period.
- Maintain up-to-date forecast data – Forecast data is automatically recalculated. You may also choose to manually update the data and refresh.
A forecast is a reflection of a seller’s pipeline.
Pipeline management is a big part of forecasting. To get the most accurate forecast, it is vital to not only know what is in your pipeline but also how to accurately adjust it. Data can either be viewed in a grid view or a Kanban view. The Kanban view is a new capability that allows sellers to quickly and easily move deals between forecast stages while also seeing how these changes impact their forecast.
Analyze revenue outcome by using predictive forecasting
In order to utilize predictive forecasting, a Dynamics 365 Sales Insights license must be purchased or a trial started. Predictive forecasting helps sellers and managers to improve their forecast accuracy based on data. These AI-driven models look at a combination of data and the open sales pipeline to predict future revenue outcome. The screen below shows an example of a a screen with a prediction column.
To learn more, see about premium forecasting.
- Project accurate revenue with sales forecasting
- Configure a forecast
- Analyze revenue outcome by using predictive forecasting
- Retrieve forecast and snapshot data using msdyn_ForecastInstanceActions for GDPR
How can we help?
Contact enCloud9 to discuss how we can improve your sales forecasting and tracking capabilities with Microsoft Dynamics 365. To see how Sales Forecasts can play a significant role in your company’s success, join our April webinar as we take a deep dive into one of the upcoming updates coming to Dynamics 365: Sales Forecasting. We’ll be discussing
- How to build monthly quarterly or annual sales forecasts for your sales team
- How to use forecasts with Dynamics 365 Goals
- Creating reports