A sales forecast is the expected future number of products/services sold by a company within a certain period. Every company wants to know today how much will be sold tomorrow. But sales planning is a complicated task.
Right from the start – nobody can predict a pandemic like the one we are experiencing these days, nor can they predict its effects. The good news is that those who record their sales figures today are at least prepared for future events. We asked our experts for multi-channel distribution and summarized the 10 Dos for successful sales planning.
- Sales planning is important and target-oriented for every company and should therefore be implemented. If you align your further business planning with it, you are doing everything right!
- If you define the most important markets in consultation with Sales and Operation Planning, sales planning can be carried out in a targeted manner.
- Statistical forecasts support your sales planning. Use them as a basis of information and decision support. 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 is and could be relevant for a statistical sales forecast should be recorded and should be easy to analyze.
- When introducing sales planning and in many other cases the following applies: 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. A target-performance comparison reveals weaknesses in your forecasts.
- Only experts with domain knowledge should adjust sales forecasts, otherwise important correlations are easily overlooked.
- Sales planning should be systematic and run 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 that the respective experts can make their contribution 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 effects of the individual measures. There are numerous tracking tools and automatic analyses for social media for this purpose. A great side effect: You can quantify the success of the individual campaigns.
Now it’s time to get to the numbers! Involve your in-house experts, record your sales figures and track the effects of Corona/COVID-19, so you can be prepared for future events of a similar magnitude.
Daniel Büttner, a scholarship holder at the Graduate School of Logistics, deals with the topic of sales forecasts in multi-channel distribution. He is doing his doctorate on the subject in cooperation with his practice partner Vorwerk International & Co. KmG. His research results and forecasts are directly incorporated into business practice.