In Part 1, I reviewed the different methods of choosing the numbers that power your forecast – Unweighted, Weighted, and Committed. ASPEC supports these three methods – and you don’t have to pick just one. In fact, you can use more than one as a double check to validate the numbers you are seeing.
Let’s talk now about the operational side of using the Forecast function in ASPEC.
For most opportunity tracking tools (either in CRM, or stand-alone), forecasting falls into one of two categories:
This is the idea that forecasting is left to a reporting section of the software tool – it is considered output. The kind of output you run once a month or once a week. This comes from the pre-historic days of CRM – which many of the current crop of Cloud vendors copy. Forecasting should be interactive – rather than run a report on a territory and product, you should be able to apply a territory or product filter to your forecast.
With ASPEC we have entered a market where there are tons (and I mean tons!) of ultra-light CRM vendors. For many of these products, there is no forecasting component. They may assign a probability by stage (sigh), but they offer no method to easily review your total forecast.
So let’s talk about how to forecast in ASPEC.
The screenshot below shows the Forecast section in ASPEC. It’s highly configurable, so let’s take a look.
|1||From||This is the month that you want the Forecast to start from.|
|2||To||This is the month you want the Forecast to end with. This month must be after the From month.|
|3||Type||This is the method of selecting which value to display. Check out Part 1 for more on these options.|
|4||Date Chart Options||Change the bar chart to a line chart, and optionally show the values on each node.|
|5||Date Chart Grouping||Group the chart by Month, Quarter, or Year.|
|6||Pie Chart Grouping||Group the Pie Chart by Product, Opportunity , or Owner.|
|7||Sorting||Sort the list of opportunities by any of the values in the drop down, and change the sort order (descending, ascending) with the button to the right.|
|8||Data View Grouping||Select how you want the opportunities to be grouped in the list – by None, Month, Quarter, or Year.|
|9||Opportunities||This is the list of opportunities for the data range selected (in 1 & 2). The colored first column represents the phase – where Blue is Probe, Green is Prove, and Red is Close. The diagonal yellow and black row represents overdue – which means the close date for the opportunity has passed.|
|10||Global Filter||Global Filter works in the Forecast section – select the sales person, territory, and/or product for filtering.Note that Global Filter is only available in ASPEC Business.|
|11||Export||Export the list of opportunities to excel, CSV, or HTML. Note that only opportunities that match the date range and the global filter selected will be exported.|
Here are some examples of what you can do in the Forecast view:
Show a 90 day forecast for the Northwest region
Set the From to the current month, and the To field to 3 months from now. Click Global Filter, and under “By Role”, select the region. Click OK .
Show a total forecast for a certain Product (or, get your Product Managers involved!)
Set the From field to the current month (or previous months if you want to see any Overdues in the list). Set the To field to a month in the distant future. Click Global Filter, select the “Products” tab, and choose the product(s) you want to filter by. Click OK.
Make sure your forecast isn’t tied to 1 or 2 opportunities
Select the From and To fields for the month you are looking in to. Over on the Pie Chart, change the grouping to Opportunity. In the screenshot below, IBO#130 is responsible for 28% of the forecast!
Export all opportunities closing this month for Product A in the Northwest region
This is getting easy. Select the From and To fields to the current month. Click Global Filter and choose the Northwest Region. Click the Product tab, and select the product. Click OK. Now click Export, and choose XLS. Done!
As a sales person or manager, it’s important to look at your forecast on a regular basis. Forecasting isn’t just a report you run once in awhile – it is a living, breathing view of the future business for your company.