How To Effectively Use The Forecast Function In Salesforce

Category: Technology
Tags: Outbox Systems, Salesforce integration, using forecasting in Salesforce
Author: outboxsystems | Website: Connect and integrate your cloud services.

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This Outbox Systems steplist is for Salesforce users who want to use the Salesforce Forecasts function which comes standard with the software. The Forecasts feature allows you to forecast and plan your sales cycle using information that users are entering in Opportunities. Therefore, if you are already using the Salesforce Opportunities function, you should be able to start using Forecasts without much additional setup. Step Image 00:00:00
From a web browser, open Salesforce. Click "Setup" on the top right of the Salesforce home screen. The setup menu screen will open. On the left navigation bar, select "Forecasts" under the Build/Customize heading. "Forecasts" is at the very bottom of the list. Step Image 00:00:00
The Forecasts Setting screen will open in the main window. Note: this feature is not enabled by default when you start using Salesforce. Check "Enable Forecasts" at the top of the screen under Forecasts Settings. This will reveal "Select a forecast type" and "Enable forecast adjustments" setup functions. Step Image 00:00:00
Under "Select a forecast type," click the gray bar "Add a forecast here." The "Configure a forecast type" functions will appear. You can have up to four forecast types. The options are: Opportunities measured by revenue, Opportunities measured by quantity, Product Families measured by revenue, or Product Families measured by quantity. The Product Families forecast is useful for salespeople with sales requirements tied to product categories. For the purposes of this steplist, we will describe how to configure an "Opportunites measured by revenue" forecast. Select "Opportunities" from the Forecast Type dropdown menu under the "Configure a forecast type" heading. Select "Revenue" under the "Forecast Measurement" heading. Step Image 00:00:00
Below the "Configure a forecast type" section is a section entitled "Select fields to display in the list of related opportunities." When you click a cell in the Forecast table, the opportunities that roll up into that cell appear in a list below the table. To customize your list, under the "Available Columns" dropdown menu, select the Opportunities categories you wish to show. These categories will appear in the "Selected Columns" window directly to the right. If you want to remove one you have previously chosen, highlight it in the right hand window and click "Remove." When you have made your selections under the "Available Columns" dropdown menu, select "OK" on the lower right of the main window. Step Image 00:00:00
This will take you back to the Forecast Settings screen. This will show the forecast settings you have chosen. Under the "Forecast Type" heading, there is a section entitled "Configure the default forecast display." This is where you can choose your forecast period and default range. Users typically choose values that correspond to their company's timeline. These settings will apply to all forecast types. If you are satisfied will all the settings on the Forecast Settings page, click "Save" at the bottom of the main window. Step Image 00:00:00
At this point, your organization is ready to use the Forecasts feature. However, each user will need to enable Forecasts on the User Profile page. To enable users, go to the Home navigation bar on the left hand side of your screen. Under "Administer" "Manage Users" select "Users". Step Image 00:00:00
The "All Users" page will appear in the main window where all of your users are listed. When you select a user by clicking on their name, the User Profile page will open. In the right hand column of the User Profile page, there is an "Allow Forecasting" checkbox. It is the 16th setting from the top, right above "Call Center." To allow the user to use the Forecasts feature, check the box next to "Allow Forecasting." Step Image 00:00:00
Another important setting that affects Forecasts is the Role designation. This is located at the top of the right hand column on the User Detail screen. (The same screen on which you enable Forecasts.) This allows you to define a user's role according to your hierarchy. Step Image 00:00:00
To look at a Forecast, select "Forecasts" from the main Salesforce toolbar at the top of your window. The Forecast page will open. On the top part of the Forecast window, the Forecast data is shown with the timeframes on the left and the columns entitled; ""Closed," "Commit," "Best Case," and "Pipeline," to the right. Underneath is the Opportunities list. The data in the Opportunities list view is the information attributable to the Forecast above it. Step Image 00:00:00
There are three Opportunities components that will effect the Forecast matrix. First, the Stage drives whether it falls under "Closed," "Commit," "Best Case," or "Pipeline" Forecast category. Step Image 00:00:00
The second Opportunities factor is Close Date. This determines where it falls in the time periods column on the left of the Forecast window. Step Image 00:00:00
The third Opportunities component reflected in the Forecast is the Amount. This comes into play when your Forecast measurement is set to Revenue - which is taken from Opportunities. Step Image 00:00:00
If Stage, Close Date, and Amount information is entered correctly by your users in the Opportunity Field/Stage window, your Forecast setup is finished. Step Image 00:00:00
It is important to understand how the Forecast Category feature works. From the Salesforce vertical navigation bar on the left side of the screen, under the "Build" heading, click the sub-category "Opportunities." Under "Opportunities." choose "Fields." The Opportunity Field window will open. Step Image 00:00:00
In the Opportunity Field window, choose "Stage" which is the second to last field in the first column (on the left) in the Opportunity Standard Fields window. The Opportunity Field/Stage window will open. In the Opportunities Stages Picklist Values section (third section down from the top), the Probability and Forecast Category columns are located in the center. If users progress this stage, it will drive the Forecast Category by default. You can choose whether users can override this, but if not, it will remain as defined here. Note: The Forecast Category "Closed" only includes the "Closed/Won" Opportunity Stage. The "Closed/Lost" type is listed as "Omitted" in Forecast Categories. Step Image 00:00:00
In order to use Forecasts most effectively, monitor your Forecasts Categories and Probabilities regularly. You can define where the Forecast Categories advance through the Opportunity Stages. Many companies set Pipeline at 50% or less, Best Case at 50% - 75%, and Commit at 75% - 99%. Step Image 00:00:00
This steplist was created by Carolyn Adams, VP of Client Services for Outbox Systems. For more information, call 855.256.8391 or email Step Image 00:00:00
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