You can keep track of your business’s sales cycle by using a Salesforce tool known as Forecasting. This feature helps you predict how well your sales plans will go based on available Opportunities. How well your Opportunities go depends on several factors, including forecast categories.
Forecast Category Defined
A forecast category is a certain category to which opportunities are mapped depending on its stage in the sales cycle. Forecast Categories segment opportunities as they are moved along a series of different stages. An opportunity is assigned a particular forecast category to help determine its outcome based on how it behaves within your sales cycle.
Forecast categories are already pre-determined by Salesforce. However, you may choose to manually overwrite the default values if you deem it fitter for your particular business processes.
Types of Forecast Categories
Here are the default values of forecast categories in Salesforce:
- Best Case – This value is assigned to opportunities that have high likelihood of closing, opportunity amounts that were already closed and won, and the amounts under the Commit Category. Opportunities belonging to this group have 50-75% probability.
- Pipeline – This value may be assigned to opportunities with less than 50% of probability. It may include amounts from all of your open opportunities.
- Commit – This value includes opportunities you strongly see as future closed won. That’s why opportunities in the Commit category have high probability rates, usually at 75-99%. It also includes amounts that were already marked as closed won.
- Omitted – These includes amounts that really don’t contribute to your overall business forecast.
- Closed – Amounts from closed-won opportunities are classified under this category.
These forecast categories are assigned based on your opportunity’s characteristics and behavior within the sales cycle.
Considerations in Using Forecast Categories
These considerations must always be taken into account when working with Forecast Categories:
- An opportunity’s Stage, Probability, and Forecast Category often go together. Changing the value under the opportunity’s Stage automatically changes the Probability and Forecast Category to match them all together.
- Mapping forecast categories to its equivalent opportunities is only available in Customizable Forecasting.
- To customize forecast category values, simply go to the Opportunity object. You’ll see Opportunity Stages picklist values here. Forecast Categories for each picklist value are located to the far right of each picklist value.
In summary, forecast categories is a great tool to determine if an opportunity does have a chance to play well in your particular business process. Categories foretell how well an opportunity behaves during the sales cycle, alongside Stages and Probability rates.