You are here

The science of sales part 3 – Forecasting

There is a certain science behind being an effective salesperson and the approach to sales is ever changing. It is important for sales professionals to keep honing their skills and techniques in order to stay ahead of the game and remain relevant in today’s market. Sam Thomason, Managing Director at Michael Page Sales, spent time with Darren Spence, founder of sales training and mentoring business Sales Gym 360, to find out more about how salespeople can improve their forecasting skills.
The science of sales part 3
In part one we covered Prospecting and how to be relevant to your client, while part two covered Selling Value by identifying the strategic motivations of your client. Once we have mastered both of these skills we can begin to forecast prospective deals. There is a lot of data we can rely on to forecast achievable sales revenue but as salespeople there is an onus on us to provide the lead on this.
In order to win any deal we need to establish trust with our client. Sounds simple, but what does it really mean to be trusted? Firstly we need to have demonstrated that we are both Credible & Reliable, which we covered in Part One. We also need to demonstrate that we are Commercially Minded and can structure a deal in a way that suits the client. Furthermore we need to establish and demonstrate that we are interested in a long term Relationship with our client – we are not in it for a quick win, but are keen to establish a long term partnership. By addressing these four concerns we can establish a genuine trust with our client and move onto analysing whether there is a deal to be made.
Once trust is established we can approach the critical part of forecasting; identifying whether or not there is a deal to be made. It’s a complex process but we can simplify it by qualifying the following six criteria, known as the C.A.R.A.T.S.
Credibility – Ask yourself, does the person we have been dealing with have the credibility within their business to convince their peers to invest in our solution? If not we need to find the person who does.
Authority – Secondly, does that person have the authority to make a decision? Have we met everyone with the collective influence and authority to complete a deal? 
Return on investment – Have we demonstrated that there is a tangible return on investment associated with our product or service. If we have not demonstrated this, we need to, and if we cannot then there is unlikely to be a deal.
Affordability – Is the solution we are offering affordable for our client? Is there budget, or could be budget be made available?
Time – Is there anything happening in our client’s organisation that may prevent a deal from happening? Is it year-end? Is there a change-freeze, a pending acquisition or merger coming up? Any of these things could be a barrier to getting a deal completed
Strategy – Finally, is there a strategic priority that our product or solution aligns to? We covered selling a solution based on the strategic priority of our client in Part Two. By aligning our offering with the strategy of our client we can assure that there is a desire for the deal to happen.
Once we can qualify that we have achieved a positive state for all of the C.A.R.A.T.S, we can be confident that there is a deal to be made. If we can add the trust of our client to this, we can reasonably assume that we are in a good position to make that deal. Forecasting is a necessity. Shareholders will expect to see financial predictions from their sales team. We, as a sales and marketing community, must play our bit in ensuring we are on top of our sales and on top of our forecasts.
Darren Spence is the founder of Sales Gym 360, provider of original sales tools and specialist sales coaching. For a confidential discussion about recruitment in the sales industry contact Sam Thomason, Managing Director at Michael Page Sales.
Sam Thomason
T: 0207 269 2128