MaRS Library Building an early-stage B2B sales forecast
Forecasting is a term used to describe the process of estimating future sales and revenue. Even before you have regular sales activities and revenue streams, it is important to understand how to create solid revenue forecasts. When done right, forecasting is a methodology that allows you to reasonably predict revenue.
If you have little or no experience with forecasting, this workbook will help you understand the basic approach for building a revenue forecast.
Download and use this workbook to:
- Determine the value of your sales funnel.
- Define the key variables in your sales funnel.
- Calculate a monthly sales forecast.
To assist you in the forecasting process, we have created a series of three workbooks. To meet the diverse needs of startups in Ontario, the workbooks cover two different situations: pre-revenue/pre-sales (that is, before sales activities) and early-stage sales (the onset of regular sales activities).
This workbook is designed for companies with early-stage sales. It steers you through a bottom-up approach for basic sales forecasting and helps you predict sales revenue by calculating the future value of your sales opportunities.
For the pre-revenue/pre-sales situation, we offer two other workbooks:
- Bottom-up sales forecasting for pre-revenue startups: A way of calculating the potential revenue for your company for a specific period by multiplying the number of likely sales for each product or product line, the average value of sales, and when they are likely to occur.
- Top-down sales forecasting for pre-revenue startups: A way of calculating your potential revenue by starting your assessment at a macro level to find market size and potential market growth, and then estimating your own revenue as a function of your assumed market share.
Most Sales Force Automation software (SFA) contains functionality for predictive analytics that can automate some of the forecasting process. Even if you have access to an SFA software package, we recommend going through this workbook, especially if you have little or no experience in revenue and sales forecasting and your company is just beginning sales activities. This is because you will not be able to benefit fully from an SFA tool until you develop a solid understanding of the variables that affect the accuracy of your forecast.
Building an early-stage B2B sales forecast
Become great at sales. Check out our free Selling for Entrepreneurs online course. It provides over two hours of expert sales instruction designed for startup founders who want to lead sales and accelerate company growth.
- Designing sales compensation plans for your startup.
- Should startups build distribution channels or sell products directly?.
- Sales calls: Tips and techniques for calling potential customers.
- Build a technology sales team that supports your market strategy and sales process.
- Bootstrapping—stretch funding for startups and other ventures.