Creating a valuable and accurate sales forecast is dependent on your ability to anticipate the success of sales. So how does the founder and CEO of forma.ai Nabeil Alazzam motivate and drive his team to maintain momentum? Through sales incentives! Using sales incentives and data-driven forecasting, Nabeil encourages his salespeople to reach specific and measurable objectives.
How Nabeil defines sales forecasting:
- It depends on whether the forecast is for a team leader or a representative. As a leader, it’s taking data across the team and using it to aggregate results.
- On the rep level, accuracy is critical. If you’re confident which accounts close, you can better visualize what else is needed to do to hit a target number.
Common forecasting mistakes:
- Being overconfident with deals without a data-driven element to justify the belief.
- Instead, utilize checkpoints throughout the sales process to know if a prospect will move forward.
- Another common mistake is that a lack of nuanced checkpoints leads to overprioritizing a fast-cycle sales prospect.
- As a sales rep, use data to allocate time free of bias towards the accounts most likely to close (without taking the speed of the sales cycle into account.)
Segmentation and forecasting go hand-in-hand.
- Use data when thinking about an audience cluster. A checklist sales reps have for different groups of people can and should look different depending on the best likely outcome for each group.
- For managers, don’t think of data points as averages across the board.
- Understand your different customer segments and establish guidelines within each audience as data points.
Start data-driven forecasting:
- Forecasting is a crawl, walk, run approach.
- When running, you can automate the segmenting approach. In the crawl, it’s simply acknowledging that people buy differently and may need different buying propositions.
- Think about the types of clients you serve and what success looks like with each of those groups, segmenting by sector, growth stage, and the number of employees.
- Think about the forecasting method and sales practice you should apply to each (and create data points based on these audiences.)
How can incentives help our forecasting?
- Incentives drive behavior. And, ideally, better salespeople get paid more. If you can’t set forecasting successfully, you can’t allocate the proper incentives to the right salespeople.
- If you start to novice a prospecting segment is beginning to lag, you can be specific in your incentive to correct your trajectory.
- The goal should be to design incentive structures so the rep understands how much time they should allocate to that goal without detracting from the overall performance.
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