In the first week of the existence of this Blog, you might believe it or not, there are already actual readers out there giving me encouraging feedback by e-mail. Many thanks to those readers! If giving comments and feedback by e-mail is the preferred way for you too, this is the e-mail address where you can send your comments to: email@example.com. (By the way, if you click the link to my detailed profile on the left hand side bar, you can find the address there too.) There is also functionality provided on the bottom of each entry to provide comments directly to the Blog. I have set the parameters so that you do not have to register before you are able to enter a comment.
Here is what readers said about this Blog. They found the entries to the point, they confirmed that they had made similar observations and some could already see how this Blog develops in a good reference to find answers to Sales Management related questions and problems. Thank you all for these encouraging comments.
One reader made me aware, that adjusting forecast to the business plan is only the tip of the iceberg of political forecasting. He has observed that what could be considered reasonable business plans are toped up to suit management or shareholders dreams. Think of the damage you can do to your enterprise by adjusting your forecast to a business plan that is oriented toward a stretch goal. People usually hate to be cheated. Then why do we do these things in serious business?
Through a comment from a reader I also discovered another frequently observed forecasting practice, the clandestine forecast. I actually have observed this quite frequently myself, but my memory needed some kicking to bring it to the conscious again. I have usually found this phenomenon in environments where political forecasting is practiced or as a sign of resistance to a newly introduced CRM system with integrated forecasting functionality. Managers did not trust the new system and they had no incentives to abandon their current practices. Think what such behavior does to the adoption of a CRM system by the sales people you manage. We do not want to go into this now but it might be a worthwhile topic for another entry some day.
Here is how clandestine forecasting goes. Besides the official forecast, you have another “operational” forecast typically captured on a spread sheet you have designed by yourself so that you can see the real thing, to manage your troops. When you hear about these things you no longer wonder why there are sales people out there spending more than 20 hours per month on forecasting. I do not even want to think how much management time goes into such forecasting practices. A colleague of mine suspects that in enterprises he works for, managers might spend more than 2 days per week with the forecasting ritual.
Now think of what I said yesterday about management induced forecast errors, how you can detect them and what you should do once you have detected them. Stop meddling with the numbers.