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10 Factors for Forecasting Deals

  1. Compelling reason to change: If your dream client doesn’t have a compelling reason to change, it’s difficult to forecast that deal. Like a crime, you are looking for a motive. No compelling reason to change doesn’t mean you may not win eventually, but it’s not a deal you can forecast with any certainty that you are going to win it by a certain date.
  2. Client driven date: If the prospect doesn’t have a date by which they believe they need to–or want to–implement your solution, the date in your CRM is merely a placeholder. How can you forecast a date when the client isn’t even aware of the date you have selected?
  3. Support beyond formal process: Do you have access to the stakeholders you need? Do you have access to the information you need? How much closer than “arm’s length” are you? It’s a mistake to forecast a blind RFP with any certainty over 17% unless you helped write it.
  4. All stakeholders are known and engaged: In small companies or large companies with a dominator hierarchy, you may be able to make a deal with a single stakeholder. But in larger, more complex deals, you are likely to need consensus. You won’t know how to build consensus if you don’t know who the stakeholders are. Not knowing them means they don’t support you. Maybe lower your certainty.
  5. Obstacle identified: If you don’t know who your obstacles are, you may want to reduce your certainty when it comes to forecasting. If you don’t know how you are likely to lose a deal, then you don’t know where you are likely to be flanked by your opposition or your competitor. Knowing how you may lose is how you know what changes to make. And who you need to help. Hold on that 75% certainty score.
  6. All stakeholder needs are addressed, and the solution tailored: If you don’t know what people want and how your solution may be difficult for them to accept, you can’t give them what they want. If you have “a” solution, you might want to think about “solutions,” (plural) tailoring your proposal for the people whose support you need and who you will later serve.
  7. Collaboration on solutions: You are much more likely to win a deal in which you collaborated with the contacts within your dream client’s company. If it’s your solution alone, it is not “our” solution. The more the solution belongs to your prospect, the greater the likelihood you win.
  8. Support of leadership: Just because you need consensus doesn’t mean that there isn’t still someone who has to sign an agreement. Consensus still requires the support of leadership. You don’t want to ask if leadership supports the change initiative you are working on with your prospect. Would you rather lose?
  9. Access to investment: A lot of people and companies have problems worth solving. Few of them have an unlimited budget for everything they would like to have. The question isn’t “Is there a budget?” It’s “is this compelling enough for you to make the necessary investment?” You can forecast a deal, but if there isn’t a reason to pay for the change, you are looking a “no decision.”
  10. Competitor’s known: If you haven’t had a scrappy competitor sneak into a deal and beat you, you will. You can’t easily differentiate your offering from your competitors if you don’t know who they are. You also can’t always generate the best deal strategy. It’s better to know who you are competing against than not to know and do nothing.

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Filed under: Sales Leadership, Sales Management

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