Does the thought of sales forecasting make you cringe? If so, you’re not alone. In my research, I found that many business owners and even some marketing professionals shy away from tackling sales projections.
It can’t be for lack of information.
There are plenty of websites that can teach us how to develop market research and sales forecasting skills. Perhaps you want to develop a sales forecast for better Etsy inventory management. Or maybe it’s important to know when to import additional products from eBay to Shopify, or Shopify to eBay. Whatever the situation, the how-to information is out there.
So then, what’s the problem? That’s why I want to look at sales forecasting from a human perspective.
It’s just an educated guess
That’s all it is. You don’t need 100% accuracy. That would be impossible anyway unless you have a way to predict the future. Do the best you can with what you know today, but err on the conservative side. You can always go back and revise later.
Tim Berry, contributing writer at Entrepreneur, emphasizes this by stressing that, “You don’t need a business degree or an accountant’s certification. What you need is common sense, research of the factors, and motivation to make an educated guess.”
Part Science, Part Art
And part math. You know, the stuff we learned in third grade: addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. However, it goes deeper than just making projections based on math calculations and market research.
You have to feel it. Explains sales consultant Dave Stein, “Art applied to selling is the ability to excel at such things as making decisions based on gut feel, counting on instinct and acting upon hunches as a critical success factor.” The same could be said for the inexact science of sales forecasting.
We should always remind ourselves that what really matters is to trust our gut feeling and know that we can do it. And then sales forecasting becomes a fun creative challenge rather than a burdensome and scary task.