A sales forecast is the future expected number of products/services sold by a company within a certain period of time. Knowing today how much will be sold tomorrow is what every company wants. But sales planning is a complicated task.
Right off the bat – no one can predict a pandemic like the one we are experiencing these days, nor can they predict its impact. The good news is that if you record your sales figures today, you are at least prepared for future events. We checked in with our muli channel distribution experts and summarized for you the 10 Dos for successful sales planning.
- Sales planning is important and goal-oriented for every company and should therefore be implemented. If you align your further corporate planning with it, you are doing everything right!
- Define the most important markets in consultation with sales and operations planning, so that sales planning can be carried out in a targeted manner.
- Statistical forecasts support your sales planning. Use them as an information base and decision-making aid. The use of qualitative and quantitative forecasting methods should complement each other. Information technology supports your forecasts. In particular, sales of items that are less important for your strategy should be automated.
- The data that are and could be relevant for a statistical sales forecast should be recorded and be analyzable without much effort.
- When implementing sales planning and in many other cases, keep processes and procedures as simple as possible.
- Maintain the accuracy of your forecasts. With the start of your sales planning you are in a continuous improvement process. Weaknesses in your forecasts will be revealed through a target-performance comparison.
- Only experts with domain knowledge should adjust sales forecasts, otherwise important correlations are easily overlooked.
- Sales planning should be systematic and pass through all relevant departments of the company. A large number of measures have an influence on sales. Therefore, the expert knowledge of the respective departments must be incorporated. The information in the sales plan should be tailored to the needs of the departments, so the respective experts can contribute more quickly.
- Financial planning should be based on sales planning and not the other way around. Without a solid sales plan, planned sales represent fictitious figures and are like looking into a crystal ball.
- Marketing measures should be linked to a suitable evaluation. This is the only way to quantify the impact of individual measures. There are numerous tracking tools and automatic analyses on social media for this purpose. Great side effect: You can record the success of the individual campaigns numerically.
Now it’s time to crunch the numbers! Involve your in-house experts, record your sales figures and track the impact of Corona/COVID-19, so you can be ready for upcoming events of a similar magnitude.
The topic of sales forecasting in multi-channel distribution is the focus of Daniel Büttner, a fellow in the Graduate School of Logistics. He is doing his doctorate on the topic in cooperation with his practical partner Vorwerk International & Co. KmG. His research results and forecasts flow directly into business practice.