Forecasting – the Commit Process

I know every other VP of Sales or a front-line sales manager (FLM) struggles with forecasting accuracy so I thought to share what has worked really well for me with very high level of accuracy.  It’s the Commit Process.  This is part of the way to build up your rep forecast roll-up and it must always be combined with a data-driven forecast based on pipeline stage conversions (and this requires making sure that your Sales Process and stage entry/exit criteria and stage milestones are clearly and well defined).

Note that Commit is not a Pipeline stage and never should be (I’ve seen this before and it’s a wrong way to do this because Pipeline stages or thus steps in a Sales Process must be based on the buyer’s stage and buyer’s verbally committing to you has nothing to do with a stage).  So, a “Commit” is a Forecast Category, not a Pipeline stage.

When the rep commits a deal and sets the “Commit” in the Forecast Category, they should be able to answer the following:

  • Do you have the full CHAMP (or BANT, or MEDDIC, or any approach you use) fully qualified and re-qualified, specifically the M & P:
    • P-Prioritization – this is one of the priorities still (not merely a timeline)
    • P-Process – the rep knows the a) decision-making and b) purchase process
    • P-Plan – there is a plan to move forward within the ___ time (typically the cycle of the last 1-2 pipeline stages, typically this is short)
    • M-Money – confirmation on the ROI for the money/investment into the solution
  • Is your primary contact the $DM (decision maker), do they have a sign-off from the $DM, or are you in contact with the $DM and did they verbally commit and confirm fit and that we are winning?
  • Is there a compelling event and thus a CRA (compelling reason to act)?  This is more than just Prioritization above, but an event on their end.

As part of the Commit process, a VP of Sales or an FLM must:

  • Make sure to focus on the right Opps that truly belong in Commit or Best Case
  • Tighten up the Opps in Best Case (some best case Opps must be pulled in to backfill the 5%-10% Commit at times)
  • Inspect micro-commitments and engagement from the prospect and the sales activity from the rep
  • Assess the 7 risks on each Opp in the Commit and Best Case
  • Look at Opps above Best Case to see what to work for that potential 5%-10% backfill

What else?  How do you run the Commit process and increase forecast accuracy?