Recently, forecasting in Zoho CRM —which is one of its main features— has been significantly updated. Its capabilities have been enhanced to help organizations understand their pipeline better, make accurate forecasts, and set realistic targets that can help sales teams achieve them. Here’s a walk throughout all the improvements that were made:
Condition-Based and Multiple Forecasts Across Different Periods
Now you can create multiple forecasts, which can include all your deals or deals that match specified conditions, with a greater control of the forecast periods. Forecasts can be created for all the available hierarchy (Role/Reporting to and Territory). They can also be created monthly or quarterly for these forecast periods:
- Current: 4 quarters/12 months of current fiscal year.
- Future: 4 quarters/12 months of the next fiscal year.
- Completed: The previous 2 fiscal years.
Two forecast types can be created based on the attribute that is used to set targets for your users:
- Forecasts based on deal revenue: Targets are based on currency fields like Deal Amount, Expected Revenue, or other custom currency fields defined on the Deals module.
- Forecasts based on deal quantity: Targets are based on system defined fields like Count of Deals and other custom number fields.
Best Case and Committed Deals Options Under Forecast Category
In the past, deals only had three forecast categories that were associated with them: Closed Won (deal was marked as “Won”), Closed Lost (deal was marked “Omitted”), and Open (deal was marked as “Pipeline”). Now, open deals can be tagged with new options under the forecast category:
- Best Case: Open deals that have a high chance of being won.
- Committed: Open deals that sales reps commit to winning.
Instead of generalizing all open deals as pipeline deals, this separation offers a better view as to where a particular sales rep stands in terms of the deals in their pipeline. This allows the administrator to make more informed decisions when setting targets for a particular user.
Moreover, sales reps have the option to manually update the forecast category in a specific deal to the applicable option when needed. The deal amount will be updated in your forecast during its next sync.
Transparent Split of Deals in Pipeline for Ideal Targets
While setting targets for your users, a popup with your pipeline data shows the split of deals to give you full visibility of where each user stands in-terms of sales numbers. The deals are divided into open and closed won deals. Open deals are being further split into Best Cases, Committed, and Pipeline deals.
Zia Proposes Target Suggestions and Target Achievement Predictions
When creating a continuous forecast, Zia (Zoho CRM’s AI assistant) will calculate and suggest targets based on the historical data of your chosen forecasts. This will be available in the forecast creation page when setting targets.
Also, the historical and current deal closure pattern of users will be analyzed to give you the predicted target achievement for the users. Achievement predictions will be available in the Target Achievement report.
Compare Your Performance Throughout Different Forecast Periods
All your created forecasts will be available in a list view under the Forecast module. You can now drill down into a particular forecast and compare how your organization’s performance has progressed through the years.
Depending on the duration selected in the filter, the following data will be consolidated and shown at the top: Total Target, Achievement, and Gap.
Below the consolidated data, the forecast data for each quarter/month for the selected duration will be listed for an all-encompassing analysis. If necessary, you can drill down further to analyze the performance of individual users or roles.
In previous versions, forecast records beyond two previous years were lost. This defeats the purpose of having past forecasts available, since that data might still be very of grand importance. That’s why Zoho CRM now has the option of archived forecasts.
Completed forecasts over two years from the current year will now be archived. For example, if the current year is 2022, forecasts of 2021 and 2020 will be available on the forecast list view page. Meanwhile, forecasts from 2019 or older will be archived.
Forecasts will be archived automatically upon editing forecast configuration (changing either the hierarchy or forecast type). For example, if the hierarchy is Reporting To and it’s changed to Territory or the forecast type is edited, the existing forecasts would be archived. Forecasts will be archived if the hierarchy preferences are modified in Company Details.
In the archived forecast page, the forecasts are listed in chronological order. In addition, you can filter them based on Hierarchy, Forecast Type, and Time.
Things to Keep in Mind:
- The archived forecasts can’t be edited; they are just for viewing purposes. Users have to option to delete a forecast.
- Up to 5 years of forecasts records will be available as archived.
- Changing the start date of your organization’s Fiscal Year will delete all the existing forecasts, as well as the archived forecasts.
Forecast Managers are Empowered
In this update, forecast managers can build their own forecasts and assign targets to their role, their own target, their colleagues, sub roles, and users. Individual teams can have their own distinct forecasts and targets which can be focused on. These forecasts will be visible for the admin, CEO, and the forecast manager of a higher role who can monitor these forecasts and update them when necessary.
If a forecast manager’s target has been changed by the CEO, admin, or a forecast manager from a higher role, the changed target is locked and can’t be modified by the forecast manager.
Please note that all these major updates are already available in Zoho CRM.
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