Market forecasts- how I would get them wrong – 2

Assumptions, B2B, Marketing, Product Management, Sales

In yesterday’s post I wrote about how your plans and forecasts go wrong, if the product on which you have based your service model itself doesn’t succeed or the OEM loses focus.

Today we will look at other aspects where because we didn’t see the obstacles in advance, we couldn’t meet our forecasts. This is again from a B2B perspective where we were involved in direct sales to customers.

One big gap which generally arises when we the product managers, do forecasts, is discounting the human factor. We are so focused on the positives of our product or services that we forget that our product has to be sold by someone. I have tried giving targets and I have tried to get sales people to create their own targets and I have failed in both situations.

The key reasons I think, are because we believe that human beings will work consistently like a machine. We lose focus quite fast. If you have to ensure that your forecasts don’t fail then you need to incorporate the factors which can get your persons de-focused.

So think in terms of what all obstacles may come up that you will need to face and what will be your plan. This doesn’t mean that other things can’t go wrong. Its about figuring out what all you can think of in terms of the obstacles. Also understand that I am not looking at moves your competition will make.

As an example one project execution has not gone as per schedule….and your sales person has to hand-hold the customer. How will he make the sales calls then. What happens if half your sales force leaves together or spread across the year and you are not able to hire the right kind of sales people on time. In B2B sales where the lead times are high getting the new person fully operational is a very big challenge. Same could happen on your delivery side.

The more assumptions about your plan that you can call out in advance, the better you can work your forecasts.

Till next time then.

Carpe Diem!!!

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