August 2, 2021

Written by

Collective[i] Team

  • Posted in
  • Sales Forecasting

Sales forecast example marketing plan

A good marketing plan can’t exist in a vacuum or silo. It must take into account factors such as internal and external data, market size, target audience, and the most up-to-date sales forecasts available. Smart marketers and sellers understand that different types of sales forecasting in marketing can produce a strategy that works for everyone in the company, not just one team. According to LinkedIn, 60% of sales and marketing personnel believe that the misalignment between their departments could damage their company’s financial performance. In other words, collaboration in forecasting matters for the bottom line.

The good news is that today’s modern solutions make it easier than ever to integrate forecasting into a new or existing marketing plan. Here we will discuss the methods of sales forecasting, the components of a marketing forecast, and how to work smarter — not harder — when creating and implementing a marketing plan.

What are the methods of a sales forecast?

Before looking at the different components of a marketing forecast, let’s review the three methods of a sales forecast: opinion, historical, and prescriptive.

  • Opinion sales forecasting, otherwise known as qualitative forecasting, champions the opinion and intuition of experts. It relies on sellers’ gut feelings, as well as market insights gleaned from interviews, surveys, or research about product opinions.
  • Historical sales forecasting, sometimes referred to as quantitative forecasting, involves collecting and interpreting historical data to detect patterns that can be applied to the future. This data is usually internal quantitative sales data.
  • Prescriptive sales forecasting is a relatively new approach that marries the older methods of opinion and historical forecasting, combining the data gleaned from each and using neural networks to give sales teams more automation possibilities and accurate forecasts. At Collective[i], our platform pools sales activities from CRMs and other traditional work tools to provide teams with daily forecast insights that drive sales. Prescriptive sales forecasting provides the best of both worlds while freeing up more time for marketers and sellers to do human work, such as selling and communicating, instead of data entry and analysis.

What is a marketing forecast?

A marketing forecast is a process by which teams predict future trends, characteristics, revenue, and other key performance indicators. If that sounds familiar, it’s because marketing forecasts are quite similar to sales forecasts — the primary difference is in their use. Marketing forecasts provide teams with data about how marketing efforts in particular impact sales and leads. They can help businesses understand future leads, the marketing channels that are most effective, and the best way to move leads through the sales cycle with communications and sales strategies.

Good data — data that is accurate, descriptive, and relevant — is necessary to create any accurate forecast, and marketing forecasting is no different. How do you write a marketing forecast? By making use of the following key pieces of information:

  • Market data includes internal and external data about a product or service’s market. It may feature competitive intelligence, customer feedback, and commercial transactions for a company and its competitors.
  • Market size refers to the number of buyers in a potential market.
  • Target audience could include buyer personas or other key pieces of information about buyers and leads, such as their needs and preferences, where they look for information (on a website, on social media, in a printed advertisement, etc.), and any relevant demographics.
  • Sales forecasting data may include how much revenue a company expects to earn over the next quarter, how many leads it plans to have, where current leads are in the sales journey, and more.

Once all the pertinent information is gathered, it can be combined to create a marketing forecast to identify revenue, track leads through various marketing streams, and understand how long it takes to convert a lead to a sale. A marketing forecast is more than a simple plan to guide marketing projects and enhance lead generation. It’s a way to develop budgets and measure short- and long-term ROI. Here are two examples that illustrate how effective a marketing forecast can be:

  • A B2B company’s marketing forecast may indicate that its target audience spends the majority of their time researching information using search engines rather than social media or print resources. It could use that information to alter its marketing plan to include more paid search advertisements or to enhance its SEO strategy to capture more clicks.
  • A B2B company may find that its leads spend several months in the consideration phase of the sales journey. Empowered with that knowledge, its marketing team can work to produce new educational and persuasive content to help sales teams move their leads into the decision phase more quickly.

These examples highlight the benefits of marketing forecasting in general. To kick it up a notch, Collective[i] developed tools such as Intelligent ForecastTM to analyze buyer and seller behaviors, automate processes, and help sales and marketing teams work together to make smart decisions and produce more leads and conversions in an intentional, cohesive manner. Our platform augments traditional opinion and historical forecasting elements with a vast network of market and third-party data that gives teams updates, recommendations, and risk alerts so they can forecast better and pivot when needed.

How do you forecast sales in a marketing plan?

By using prescriptive forecasting tools from Collective[i]. In the past, teams have entered data into a marketing forecast template or Excel document and spent hours analyzing the data to develop an actionable plan. But there’s a better way. Rather than providing marketers with a stagnant sales forecast example marketing plan, Collective[i] offers adaptive and prescriptive forecasting tools that provide daily forecasts and real-time market information to inform actionable, accurate sales forecasting and marketing plans. Get started with Collective[i] today.

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