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How to Use Forecasting in Salesforce

Forecasting is a Salesforce process used to predict future sales movements within a business group. Users get an overview of their business revenues, gain insights on sales forecasts, and make sound business judgments according to the presented data.

Creating a Sales Pipeline

The first step in managing forecasts in Salesforce is to create a sales pipeline. A sales pipeline contains opportunity stages that reflect an organization’s sales process. By default, there are 11 Salesforce stages; however, avoid adding all of them to the pipeline. Add stages that are only applicable to the buying process of the business’s customers.

  1. Go to Setup and click on the Opportunities tab.
  2. Go to the menu and select View Fields.
  3. A list of fields will appear. Click on Stage. The Opportunity Stages Picklist Values will appear.
  • Choose the New tab to create a new stage (either open, closed/won or closed/lost) and assign it a closing probability.
  • Choose the Reorder tab to shuffle the pipeline stages order according to the organization’s sales process.
  • Choose the Replace tab to replace a current pipeline stage. Opportunities will be reassigned once this option is used.

Using Forecast Categories

Salesforce bases its forecasting method on forecast categories. These categories are assigned to each Opportunity as it moves through the stages. Users can also define what stages will fall under each category, and if overriding them is possible. Here are the four categories:

  • Pipeline -50% probability
  • Best Case – 50-75% probability
  • Commit – 75-99% probability
  • Closed – Closed Won

Here are the steps to create Forecast Categories:

  1. Open an Opportunity by clicking the Opportunities tab.
  2. Select View Fields from the menu.
  3. Click on Forecast Category in the fields list. The Forecast Category Picklist Values will appear. Click on one to change its name.
  4. Assign a forecast category to each stage of the sales pipeline.

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