Revamped forecasting in Zoho CRM

Revamped forecasting in Zoho CRM

Forecasting is an important part of a business's strategy to help set meaningful targets, optimize their sales strategies to help users achieve said target and drive revenue for the business.
With this in mind, we've brought a number of different enhancements to Zoho CRM's forecasting capabilities to help businesses understand their pipeline better, make accurate forecasts, set realistic targets, and help sales teams achieve them. Earlier in December, we briefed about these enhancements in forecasts in our Winter '21 announcement. We are thrilled to talk about these changes in detail here.

Create multiple and condition based forecasts across different periods

Businesses were limited to just a single forecast that encompasses all deals, but now you can create multiple forecasts, which can include all your deals or deals that match specified conditions, with a greater control of the forecast periods.
Forecasts can be created for all the available hierarchy:
  • Role/Reporting to
  • Territory

Forecasts can be created monthly or quarterly for the following forecast periods.
  • Current - 4 Quarters / 12 months of current fiscal year
  • Future - 4 Quarters / 12 months of the next fiscal year
  • Completed - The previous 2 fiscal years


Forecast types

Two forecasts types can be created which are based around the attribute that is used to set targets for your users:
  • Deal Revenue based forecasts - These are forecasts where the targets are based on currency fields like deal amount, expected revenue or other custom currency fields defined the deals module
  • Deal Quantity based forecasts - These are forecasts where the targets are based on system defined fields like "count of deals" and other custom number fields

Introducing Best Case and Committed deals under "Forecast Category"

In the current forecasting, deals only had three forecast categories that were associated with them.
  • Closed won - Deal was marked "Won"
  • Closed lost - Deal was marked "omitted"
  • Open - Deal was marked "Pipeline"
Now open deals can be tagged with new options under the forecast category:
  • Best case - Open deals that have a high chance of being won
  • Committed - Open deals that sales reps commit to winning
Instead of generalising all open deals as pipeline deals, this split gives a better picture as to where a particular sales rep stands in terms of the deals in their pipeline. This allows the administrator to make a more informed decision when setting targets for a particular user.

Sales reps also have the option to update the forecast category in a specific deal manually, to the appropriate option when the situation calls for it. The deal amount will then be updated in your forecast during its next sync

Transparent split of deals in your pipeline for optimal targets

When setting targets for your users, a popup with your pipeline data shows the split of deals to give you a better picture of where each user stands in-terms of sales numbers.
The deals are split into open and closed won deals, with the open deals being further split into best cases, committed and pipeline deals.

Zia offers target suggestions and predicts target achievement

When creating forecasts, there are two choices. They can be built from the ground up as a completely new forecast, or they can be linked and created from an existing forecast.
When creating a continuous forecast, Zia will calculate and suggest targets based on the historical data of your selected forecasts. This will be available in the forecast create page when setting targets.
The historical and current deal closure pattern of users will be analysed as well to give you the predicted target achievement for the users. Achievement predictions will be available in the target achievement report.

Compare your performance across different forecast periods

All your created forecasts will be available in a list view under the forecast module. You can now drill down into a particular forecast and compare how your business performance fared across the years.
Depending on the duration selected in the filter, the following data will be consolidated and shown at the top :
  • Total target
  • Achievement
  • Gap
Under the consolidated data, the forecast data for each quarter/month for the selected duration will be listed for a bird's eye view analysis. You can then drill down further to analyse the performance of individual users or roles if required.

Archived Forecast

The purpose of having forecasts is to keep track of the company's performance on various levels of the organization. Thus far, the forecast list view page shows data only for the completed two years, the current year, and one future year. So, as your business continues, you would be losing forecast records beyond two previous years. This clearly beats the purpose of having forecasts as the past data might still be significantly important. Hence, we have introduced archived forecasts as our latest enhancement.

  • The forecast list view displays up to 2 completed years' data. Now, the forecasts created beyond these two years will be archived automatically.
    For example, suppose the current forecast is for Q3 2021. The list view has records for completed forecasts since Q1 2019. The forecasts before Q1 2019 would be archived.
  • If a forecast configuration is edited, the current and future forecasts based on old configuration will be deleted while the completed forecasts will be archived.
    For the above example of point 1, if you edit the hierarchy or any other configuration, the completed forecasts will be archived, and the current forecast for Q3 2021 will be deleted along with any future forecasts created.
When will forecasts be archived?
  1. Completed forecasts over two years from the current year will be archived. For example, if the current year is 2022, forecasts of 2021, and 2019 will be available on the forecast list view page. Forecasts older than 2019 will be archived.
  2. Forecasts will be archived automatically upon editing forecast configuration- changing either the hierarchy or forecast type.
    For example if the Hierarchy is Reporting To, and its changed to Territory, or edit the forecast type, the existing forecasts would be archived.
  3. Forecast will be archived if the hierarchy preferences are modified in Company Details.
In the archived forecast page, the forecasts are listed in chronological order. You can also filter them based on Hierarchy, Forecast Type, and Time.

  • The archived forecasts cannot be edited, they are just for viewing purposes. Users can delete a forecast.
  • Up to 5 years of forecasts records would be available as archive.
  • Changing when the Fiscal Year of your org begins, say changing it from January to April, will delete all the existing forecasts as well as the archived forecasts.

Empowering forecast managers

Forecast managers can now build their own forecasts and assign targets to their role, their own target, their peers and sub roles & users. Individual teams can have their own distinct forecasts and targets which can be focused on. These forecasts will be visible for the Admin, CEO and the forecast manager of a higher role who can monitor these forecasts and update them when needed.
If a forecast manager's target has been modified by the CEO, admin or a forecast manager from a higher role, the modified target is locked and cannot be changed by the forecast manager.

That's all about the enhancements. For more details check out our help page Creating and Working with Forecasts.

We have opened this new forecast for all users subscribed to the paid editions of Zoho CRM, in all DCs. For users who are currently using the old forecasts, they will have the option to switch to new forecast till June end. Post which, it will be mandatory to switch to the new forecasts to access the forecast module.
Looking forward to hearing from you.

                        Zoho Marketing Automation
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