December 30 2017
Granular Forecasting with Salesforce
We tried to use “Customizable Forecasting”, but it only allowed six months into the future, which didn’t fit with our yearly per-month sales targets. Moreover, we couldn’t split those quotas into different components, like sales targets per platform or purchase type (“New” vs “Upgrades”). Neither Salesforce module supported such customization. Instead, we designed and implemented our own–Granular Forecasting–with three requirements:
- Leverage Salesforce Reports and Dashboards for real-time progress at a territory level
- Split sales targets by platform and purchase type and territory
- Allow non-technical person to collate targets in a spreadsheet with a repeatable import process into Salesforce
The resulting workflow lets our Vice President of Sales create the yearly sales targets in Google Sheets. I download them as a CSV and then run a Rails rake task to import them into Salesforce as opportunities with the stage set to a new name called “Target”. Each opportunity included a set of “products” which represented the platform and purchase type for that target. For instance, the “January 2017 - France” opportunity contained 6 products for the combinations of platform (Mac/Win) and purchase type (New/Upgrade/ASM).
By including the targets in the normal workflow of opportunities, we’re able to use Salesforce Reports for granular forecasting. This custom approach to forecasting won’t work for everyone, but by ticking off the design requirements, we have a forecasting workflow that works well for us.