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Coaching to the Salesperson's Forecast


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Accurate forecasting is challenging for many sales representatives but coaching can help improve their accuracy.

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Coaching to the Salesperson's Forecast

  1. 1. Presented by: Tim Hagen, President of Sales Progress (A Training Reinforcement Partner Co.) Coaching to the Salesperson’s Forecast
  2. 2. Sales Forecasting The purpose of a forecast is to provide accuracy of projections of achievable sales revenue which is based on historical sales data, trends, analysis of market surveys and salespersons’ estimates. Salespeople are required to create their own sales forecasts. These forecasts have the capability to see at a glance what is going to happen with their sales and how they are doing for the week, month, quarter and even a year. These salespeople are making an important statement as it relates to what they think is going to happen and when. The majority of the time, they overestimate the amount that is going to come in versus what actually does.
  3. 3. Sales Forecasting Challenges Accurate forecasting is a problem for sales organizations. There are many reasons why sales forecasting is challenging. Here are a few of these reasons: • No common language or process • Lack of sales reps forecasting skills and knowledge • Lack of insight of customer behavior • Lack of sales management coaching • Don’t have appropriate tools • Lack of personal accountability of individual salespeople
  4. 4. Why Don’t Salespeople Forecast Correctly? Aside from the challenges facing sales leaders today, there is a big reason that salespeople don’t forecast accurately and it has to do with the emotional element involved. They are emotionally invested in the process and want to believe that every customer who they have a relationship with really likes them and believes they will come through with the sale.
  5. 5. Why Honest Communication is Important It’s important that the company can rely on the sales manager to deliver accurate information. This means that the salesperson must give honest and accurate forecasting numbers to his or her manager. Essentially, there are layers of trust involved starting with the customer who is making the purchase to the sales rep who is trusting the buyer’s authority to make the purchase. Next, can the sales manager trust the forecast of his salesperson whether it is based on past performance or if the salesperson is just telling the manager what he wants to hear? When salespeople are forecasting and the manager wants to know where his team is at, 50% are either lying to the manager or lying to themselves or both. This sets the rep, team and organization up for a fall.
  6. 6. Why Do We Need to Coach Salespeople on Forecasting? According to Jim Dickey, Managing Partner with CSO Insights, he reported that over the past four or five years that 48% to 53% of salespeople never hit their sales forecast. “The salesperson who is going to be your best forecaster is the salesperson who knows the most about his customer,” says Roger Bostdorff, president of B2B Sales Boost, a business advisory company. 1. Integrity: Forecasts are nebulous and it is important to be honest with your forecasting. 2. Accuracy: Companies bank their future on forecasts so it is important to be accurate. 3. Performance Development Revealed: At each stage of the process, there are performance development opportunities.
  7. 7. Coaching to Improve Sales Forecasting To ensure that their forecasts are as accurate as possible, managers can use the following coaching techniques: • Ask Contingency-Based Coaching Questions: For example, ask a rating question: On a scale of 1 to 7, with 7 being very confident and 1 being, I am not sure, how would you rate your confidence in hitting your sales numbers this quarter? What do we need to do to move toward a 7? • Group Coaching: Pair up a higher-performing salesperson with a lower-performing salesperson. Have them work out a plan of action that would help to increase the lower-performing rep’s sales. • Coach to Each Individual’s Different Performance Areas: Some of these areas could be handling price objections, competitor objections, cold calling etc.. This will help to get a true understanding and clarification of the issue and to take action on what was learned thus moving toward the forecasted sales numbers.
  8. 8. Coaching Creates a More Accurate Forecast A coach can help a salesperson create a more accurate forecast by: • Asking Questions: This will help uncover why the salesperson is not hitting their numbers. • Creating Honesty Factor: Coaching provides opportunity for salesperson to be honest with themselves. • Building Comfort: A salesperson who has developed a comfort level with their manager/coach will be more engaged with them. • Being Aware of Emotions: Many reps base their forecasting on emotions, such as, “I feel…”, “I have a sense…”, “My Client really likes me so…” With these type of emotionally-driven statements, the rep is selling themselves as much as they are selling to their sales leaders. Once you uncover the underlying issue that is keeping the salesperson from reaching their quota, you will find that there is either a lack of knowledge, lack of skill or a behavioral issue that is the inhibitor. As a coach, it is your responsibility to motivate them, challenge them, condition them and drive them to improve their sales forecasts in order to reach their goal.
  9. 9. Join our blog For more information on this topic as well as various other coaching topics, listen to our radio show on Blog Talk Radio. Want to Learn More About Coaching? Visit our website: Or call us at 262-377-5655
  10. 10. Contact Us For more information, please visit us at: About Tim Hagen Tim Hagen founded Sales Progress, a Training Reinforcement Partner Company, in 1997. Tim has authored the Sales Progress Coaching Training System™. This system teaches sales and non- sales leaders how to systematically coach their employees to dramatically higher levels of performance! Ask About Our “Sales Progress Coaching Training System” “Where We Build Managers Into Powerful Sales Coaches” Phone: 262-377-5655 Email: Cell: 262-227-8563 Website: Blog: LinkedIn: Connect with Tim: