Sales reps don't always give their managers the ability to forecast in one general way. No matter how much a manager will try to promote certain behaviors throughout their sales team, some sales teams will just have a variety of sales personalities that can forecasting an ordeal. However, there are optimal forecasting methodologies for different types of sales reps and knowing the different methods could make or break your quota this quarter.
Score-based forecasting is best for new reps who are looking to ramp up into your sales process. This forecasting method takes out a good amount of subjectivity when it comes to the ranking of opportunities. It establishes an objective standard to discern good deals from the bad. Score-based forecasting also allows sales managers the ability to trust in the deals that a rep is working while helping the rep get a solid grasp on what a good deal looks like. The main issue with this method of forecasting is that it requires reps to be fairly consistent in inputting their data into the system. That's why this is best when used to onboard new reps onto your sales process.
Using a commit-based forecast is best for your seasoned reps that you can trust to be good for the deals they say will close but are less-than-stellar when it comes to updating the CRM. The use of a commit-based forecasting puts the power into your reps hands while giving you the ability to gauge how well your reps actually predict the success of their pipelines. If a rep begins to struggle using commit-based forecasting, it can be a great coaching opportunity and a time to consider moving their forecasting to the score-based approach.
For those reps that just want to rogue, there's the coverage-based forecasting method. Forecasting by coverage requires very little CRM input from the sales reps, rather, it takes into account the reps historical performance, their current pipeline, and current coverage. From there, this method does it's best to generate a forecast number to fit the rep. As you can probably guess, this method takes a good amount of mathematical gymnastics and few faith-based assumptions in order to work for a forecast. While this is not an ideal way to produce a forecast number, it is still better than most. The hope is that as you find ways to encourage data input, your reps will give you enough data so that can utilize another forecasting method.
The best situation is to have reps that can all be managed through the same forecasting method but, in sales, things don't always go as planned. It can be difficult to manually keep track of each sales rep's best forecasting strategy, but it also doesn't have to be. Investing in a sales process automation solution will make that experience much easier.