Sales forecasting is important for any business as its future plans are based on this.

Sales budget, production budget, marketing budget, the production mix, expansion plans are all built upon the numbers given by the sales forecast. Forecasts also identify the early warning signals in sales pipelines, thus helping in risk management. This increases the importance of accuracy in forecasting.

Today, sales forecasting has become less complicated, more accurate, and massively impactful, thanks to artificial intelligence, machine learning and other recent technologies. Many large corporations of the world use social media to sense and predict demand, increasing the importance of social media analytics. This dashboard predicts the total sales for the next year, drilling down to monthly forecast and regional and category-based forecast. It tries to identify the opportunities to achieve the below goals:

  • To predict the sales trend for the next year

  • To make future plans and decisions regarding resources

  • To make detailed monthly plans

  • To identify sectors where more focus is needed

  • To influence the forecast values using efficient marketing techniques

Goals Questions to ask Dashboard views
Predict future sales trend What is the total forecast value for the selected time period? Forecast Card
Plan detailed monthly budgets How are the actual sales and the forecast

What is the month-wise forecast value till the end of the year? What is the accuracy of the prediction?
Monthly Forecasting Analysis

Monthly Forecast Summary Table
Plan the category-wise and region-wise resources and requirements

Understand key areas important for marketing plans.
What is the forecast value for various categories?


How is the forecast value changing with time across regions?
Category Forecasting Analysis


Regional Monthly Analysis

  • Monthly forecasts help the sales, finance and business teams to plan for the short term. It gives them time and space to adapt or change their strategies according to the market trends.

  • The monthly forecast summary table gives a detailed analysis of what to expect in the twelve months.

  • The constant comparison of the actual value available for the past months with the forecast value builds the company‚Äôs confidence in the forecasting technique. The historical data available plays a huge role in predicting future values accurately.

  • Marketing budgets and other marketing plans depend on monthly, regional as well as category-based forecasting. Which category needs more focus and which ones can be ignored for the current time period is decided based on this data.

  • Suppose the forecast for a particular region is high, staff and other resources necessary to implement a smooth purchase process for the customer need to be in place. This is more important for staying ahead of the competitors.

KPIs
  • Sales & Comparison with Previous period
  • ForecastCoupon Usage Rate
  • Forecast Accuracy
  • Monthly Forecast
  • Product Category Forecast
  • Monthly Region-wise Forecast
Conclusion

An accurate understanding of how the sales increase or decrease in the future can help with the hiring strategy, the inventory levels and in all other preparatory tasks. If the forecasted sales are low, can be boosted through multiple marketing techniques. The insights from this dashboard help in making these critical decisions.

About the Author

Associate Consultant Intern @Devika Hari

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