No Crystal Ball Needed

shutterstock_461417587_editSales Forecasting Relies on Past Data to Predict Future Sales

Just imagine how much of a competitive advantage your business would have if you could predict the future. You’d know which marketing strategies worked. When to hire staff. When to buy more products.

You don’t need to add a psychic to the payroll. In fact, you probably already have the key components to provide insight into future sales and related expenses. It’s just knowing where to start. Melissa Krische, general manager of Batzner Pest Control in New Berlin, Wisc., admits that her company has a bit of an advantage. “We have been around for 70 years. That does help when it comes to determining how much we want to grow.” Batzner sets annual sales growth goals in three lines of business—residential, commercial and bed bugs. Those annual goals are typically based on the prior year with a certain percentage of anticipated growth added. But the sales forecast is not just a piece of paper that lies dormant until the end of the current year; Krische looks at it frequently.

“If we see that one week we don’t have as many phone calls or web leads, we look at what we have to do to increase our chance of meeting goals,” Krische said. “Maybe it is call coaching in our call centers or re-emphasizing training. There is always something you can improve upon.”

It also means heeding what marketing is working—and adjusting spend as needed.

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By Sandy Smith