Creating and Working with Forecasts | Zoho CRM - Help

Creating and working with forecasts

What is a sales forecast?

A Sales forecast is similar to a weather forecast, where you predict the weather based on various factors such as humidity, precipitation, air speed, wind speed, etc. and make plans for the day.

It is the process of estimating how sales will fare in the upcoming quarter, fiscal year or month. It also allows to monitor current sales growth and find ways to accelerate the pace.  Sales forecast gives important insights for the decision makers to plan their upcoming activities based on the target achieved by individual team members.

What are the benefits of sales forecasting?

To be able to decide how much groceries our family needs to stock for the month, you must know the average daily consumption of each member. Similarly, in business to know how much revenue you will generate by the end of the year you must know the number of deals that are closed in a month.

Sales forecasting helps you make such estimations based on the deals closed by the sales team. For example, if the rep is able to get 10 subscriptions every day then you can say, by the end of the month he will get approximately 300 subscriptions. So your business forecast will estimate the number of subscriptions you can have in a quarter or by year-end. Based on this forecast you can plan budget allocation for your product lines or plan quota for a territory and more.

Likewise, the forecast helps you to monitor the sales progress and adjust goals accordingly. For example, if your sales goal is to close 10,000 deals in Q1 then you can set appropriate targets for your team members to achieve this goal by the end of the quarter. With every individual's progress you will be able to decide how close you are to achieving the goal. The gap between the target and the achievement will tell you the percentage by which you are likely to fall short of reaching your goal. 

Overall, Zoho CRM forecasting helps businesses to:
  1. Understand their pipeline better
  2. Set realistic targets for the sales teams to achieve
  3. Monitor sales progress from beginning to end.
  4. Take necessary actions during the process to accelerate goal achievement.
  5. Define upcoming forecast accurately based on results from the current forecast. 
Users with administrative privilege can configure forecasts. Forecasts managers, users in the highest role, and admins can create forecasts.
The number of forecasts that can be created depends on the subscribed edition.
Standard - 5
Professional - 10
Enterprise - 15
Ultimate - 20

Business Scenarios

Depending on the business type forecast can help in estimating production capacity, material purchase, inventory stocks, marketing budget etc. You can create forecasts by using the following parameters in combination or individually:

Condition-based forecasting: To estimate the marketing budget for the premium deals, you should find out the revenue that will be generated from these deals. So while creating a forecast you must set the condition such that only the premium deals are considered. If the premium deals in your business come from a particular industry you can set the industry as "XYZ" or if premium deals are always above certain amount you can set the amount as "0.00". This way your forecast will be generated only for certain kind of deals.

Region based forecasting: If you want to estimate the budget or decide the quantity of raw material to stock for a region you must find out the sales trend in those regions. The sales forecast for individual territory will tell you the number of targets achieved or missed. The gap will tell the percent increase or decrease in the target achievement based on which you can plan the next steps.

Currency or quantity based forecasting: You can estimate the revenue, expenditure, cost, quantity or number of entities by creating amount or number based forecasts. For example, if the total number of deals (units or commodities) sold is more than the targeted number then you must gear up inventory as the forecast points at increased selling. Similarly, if the number is way below the target it would be best not to channel funds for now to procure more material.

Time based forecasting: You can set a target for the current or future quarter to plan your expenses. If there is a considerable increase in revenue generation you can think of channeling a handsome amount into marketing activities. Similarly, monthly targets can help determine shorter gains and loss to prepare your business for the upcoming months. If you notice a dip in deal closures you can forecast lesser revenue generation for the month and thus cut down a few expenses to meet other essential expenditures. Likewise, if there is an increase in deal closure, you may have to take a look at other budgetary measures.

How to plan your forecast?

Before you start creating a forecast decide the following:

Purpose of the forecast: Define the rationale of the forecast, that is, what do you want to estimate:
  1. region-wise revenue generation or units sold
  2. increase or decrease in overall sales
  3. team-wise sales growth or dip
  4. performance of exclusive deals or commodities.
What do you want to forecast (amount or quantity): Based on the above decision choose whether you want to estimate an amount or quantity. You can forecast deals based on revenue or number, for example, deal amount, expected revenue, number of subscriptions, units sold, etc. Hence, the data you want to forecast must be in currency or number fields respectively.

Who do you want to assign target: A forecast can be made based on the targets achieved by your team members. In Zoho CRM, depending on your business model you can either have role, reporting or territory based hierarchy. You can set targets for one of the following hierarchy at a given time.
  1. If your company follows a role hierarchy then, the target can be set among users in various roles and sub roles.
  2. If your company follows a reporting hierarchy then the target can be distributed among individuals and their reporting managers.
  3. If your company has different product lines or region-based selling and thus abides territorial hierarchy, each territory, sub territory, and users within will be allotted certain target.

Configuring forecast settings

In Zoho CRM you can set forecast based on the hierarchy preference that is followed by the company. The forecast configuration you have set is the foundation for all the forecasts you will be creating. That is, fiscal year, field used for forecast estimation, etc. will apply to all the forecasts that you create.
Note: You can edit the forecast configuration, however it will change the existing forecasts as well and the computation will be deleted.
There are three types of hierarchy: Role, Reporting, and Territory. 
While configuring a forecast you need to set the following parameters:
  1. Hierarchy based on which the forecast will be created. By default, role and territory hierarchy will be displayed. If reporting hierarchy is enabled then, role hierarchy will be replaced with reporting.
  2. Forecast based on deal revenue or deal quantity. You can select both options to create amount and unit based forecast or choose one. System defined field (count of deals), standard and custom currency or number fields will be available.
  3. Month on which the fiscal year begins. The fiscal year selected here also allows the system to compute the quarters for the forecasts. If you choose a month other than January to begin your fiscal year, you can select whether each fiscal quarter will be denoted by the start or end of the year. 
    1. Start of the year: If your fiscal year starts in March and you choose the start of the year then your quarterly forecast will be displayed this way:
      March - May - Q1 2021
      June - Aug - Q2 2021
      Sep - Nov - Q3 2021
      Dec - Feb - Q4 2021
    2. End of the year: If your fiscal year starts in March and you choose the end of the year then your quarterly forecast will be displayed this way:
      March - May - Q1 2022
      June - Aug - Q2 2022
      Sep - Nov - Q3 2022
      Dec - Feb - Q4 2022
Please note that in the above example of b for End of the year, the three forecast quarters apart from Dec-Feb-Q4 2022, are actually data from the specific months in 2021, and not 2022. It is represented as 2022 since the fiscal year would end in Feb 2022, and the forecast type selected is end of the year.

To configure forecast setting
  1. Log in to your CRM account with administrator privileges.
  2. Go to the Forecast module.
  3. In the Forecast homepage, click Configure Forecast.
    If you have already created Forecast Configuration, then can click the ellipses and Edit Forecast Configuration to make changes.
  4. In the Create Forecast Configuration page, do the following:
    1. Choose the Hierarchy: Role, Reporting or Territory.
    2. Select Deal Revenue and choose a currency field from the drop-down.
    3. Select Deal Quantity and choose a number field from the drop-down.
    4. Select the month when your organization's fiscal year begins.
      If you choose a month other than January, select the starting or ending year to indicate quarterly forecast (Q-YYYY). 
  5. Click Save.

Who can create forecasts and set targets?

CRM admins can set the forecast configuration. While other users depending on their position in the hierarchy can perform different actions.

Role hierarchy

  1. CRM admins and the users in the highest role can create forecasts and set targets for the entire organizational hierarchy.
  2. Forecast managers can create forecasts and set targets for themselves, their peers (in same role), and users in sub roles. One user from a role can be selected as the forecast manager. There can be multiple forecast managers within the hierarchy. For example, Amelia can be a forecast manager from sales manager role while Joseph from sales executive, and John from sales rep.

Reporting hierarchy

  1. CRM administrators and users in the highest position in the hierarchy can create forecasts and set targets for all users, that is the entire organizational hierarchy.
  2. Reporting managers (also referred to as forecast managers), users who have subordinates reporting to them, can create forecasts and set targets for themselves and subordinates.

Territory hierarchy

  1. CRM administrators and users in the highest position in the hierarchy can create forecasts and set targets for all users, that is the entire organizational hierarchy.
  2. Territory managers (also referred to as forecast managers) can create forecasts and set targets for , their peers (other territory managers), and users in sub-territories. They can also set targets for their own territory and sub territories. 
Note: If a forecast manager in a superior role edits target of their subordinate roles, then the target will be locked. This happens only in cases where the forecast manager creates the forecast. Hence, the forecast manager in those subordinate roles will not be able to edit the target. That is, if the sales manager's or sales reps target is edited by senior sales manager then their targets will be locked. Any forecast manager from sales manager or sales rep role will not be able to edit it.

How to assign or change a forecast manager?

A forecast manager can be manually assigned by CRM users who have the permission to manage roles in their profile. In the reporting and territory hierarchy the respective managers are considered as the forecast managers.

A forecast hierarchy can have multiple forecast manager, however there can be only one forecast manager for a particular role. For example, a user from sales manger role, a user from sales rep role, and a user from sales executive role can be forecast managers.

To assign forecast manager
  1. Log into the CRM account as an administrator.
  2. Go to Setup > Users and Control > Security Details > Roles.
  3. Hover on a role and click Add manager.
  4. In the Add Manager popup, select a User and click Save.
To change a forecast manager
Once a forecast manager is selected for a particular role, you cannot remove them for the respective role. You can however, assign another user in the same role as the forecast manager.
  1. Edit a role or hover on the Manager icon.
  2. In the Edit role page, under Forecast Manager, select a User.
  3. Click Change.
Note: Users who are neither admin, nor forecast managers or belong to the highest position in the organization; can view only their targets. For example, a sales rep or agent will only see his targets.

Creating forecasts

The forecast configuration you have set is the foundation for all the forecasts you will be creating. That is, fiscal year, field used for forecast estimation, etc. will apply to all the forecasts that you create.
Note: You can edit the forecast configuration, however it will change the existing forecasts as well and the computation will be deleted.
While creating a forecast you need to set the following: 
  1. Forecast type: You can create a forecast using any one metric at a time, that is deal revenue or deal quantity. If you want to make both types of estimations, you must create two different forecasts. (Remember that the forecast will be based on the field that you have selected during forecast configuration).
  2. Forecast period: You can draw previous, current or future forecast for the quarter or month. For example, revenue generated every quarter or the number of deals closed every month.
    Currently we are supporting forecasts for two previous years and one future year.
  3. Forecast for all or selected deals: You can create exclusive forecasts for certain kind of deals by defining criteria such as revenue generated from premium deals, number of deals closed in the US, deals amount above 15,000 USD, etc. Likewise you can create multiple forecasts with different criteria.
  4. Set target: The target will be set for the field (deal revenue or quantity) you want to forecast. For example, if you are forecasting the deal revenue using the field deal amount then your company's target should be to achieve an "x" amount over the set period. This "x" amount will be dispersed among individual teams and their members. 

Setting Targets

When setting targets for users, a popup appears that shows the deals in various states in the pipeline to give a better picture.
The deals are split into open and closed won deals, with open deals being further split into pipeline, best case, and committed deals.

I. Setting target in case of role hierarchy

The total target (revenue or quantity) that needs to be achieved is ascribed as the target for organization and the highest role within (CEO/CFO etc.) For example, if 10,0000 USD is the total target, then this amount will be assigned to the organization as well as the user in the highest role.

This total target is then split among the respective roles and the sub roles. For example, in the below hierarchy the sales manager and marketing manager roles are the immediate sub roles of the CEO, therefore the total target is split among the CEO and these two sub roles. The target for each role is then split among the team members and sub roles. It is not necessary to split the target equally, however you must ensure the total adds up (i.e. 50,000 can be split as 25,000 and 25,000 or 15,000 and 35,000). 

Points to remember
  1. If you want to assign the same target value to the users in that role you can click on "apply this target to all peers" option. This option will appear ONLY while entering target value for the first user in a role.
  2. Only one role can be assigned to a user and hence, a user can have only one target as per the forecast.
  3. If a user or a role is deleted from the organization:
    1. For the forecast period that is completed the user or role name will be retained but tagged as deleted.
    2. The users or role names will be deleted for the current and future forecasts. 

II. Setting target in case of territory hierarchy

The total amount or number that needs to be achieved is ascribed as the organization's target. This is then split among the territories and the users within either equally or unequally. In this case 25,000 is split between two territories: India - 20,000 and Europe - 5000. If the territories have sub-territories then the target will be further split among them and the users.

When the territory or sub territory has users the target is split among the users in it. For example, in the case below Europe region has 5 users and the target is split among them followed with the sub territories and users within. While splitting the target you must ensure that the total target value of the sub territories and its users sum up to the territory's target. So here, 5000 is split among all the users and sub territories. 

Points to remember
  1. If you want to assign the same target to all the users then you can apply this target to all peers by clicking the option which appears ONLY while entering value in the first row.
  2. If a user belongs to multiple territories then he can be assigned different targets in each territory. Therefore, one user can have more than one target from different territories.
  3. If a territory has sub territories for example Europe has two sub territories: North and South; and the territory manager belongs from Europe then he will be able to set target for the north and south sub territories.
  4. If a territory does not have a manager, a manager from any of the superior territories can set targets for the users in various sub territories.
  5. Target cannot be set for non-territory users.

III. Setting target in case of reporting hierarchy

The total target is set for the organization which is split between the reporting managers on the top-level and the non-reporting users.
For example, in Zylker if CEO, CFO, and Head of HRD are directly under the company hierarchy then Zylker's target must be split among users in these roles. If there are non-reporting users such as Marketing or QA Head then the company target is split among non-reporting users too.
So, if Zylker's target is 50,000 it can be split like this:
  1. CEO - 15000
  2. CFO - 10000
  3. HRD - 5000
  4. Marketing Head - 8000
  5. QA Head - 12,000
Though it is not mandatory to set a target for the non-reporting users, it is a best practice to assign every individual a target for meaningful forecasting.
The subsequent target split happens between the reporting managers and their direct subordinates.

In the image below Zylker's target is 24000. Out of which 12,000 is set for the direct highest role (Kayleigh) and the non-reporting users Nolan (6000) and Kay (6000). Kayleigh can set a target for the direct reportee Patricia, Akira, and Emily. Similarly, Akira can set target for Joseph and Joseph in turn can set a target for Christopher. The reporting managers hold the directive to split their target between the subordinates. Likewise, Emily can set target for her direct reportee Amelia. 

If a user is deleted from the organization:
  1. For the forecast period that is completed the user will be retained but tagged as deleted.

  2. Targets of deleted users will be removed for the current and future forecasts.
To create a forecast
  1. Go to the Forecast module and click Create Forecast.
  2. In the Create New Forecast page, do the following.
    1. Forecast Type: Select Revenue based or Quantity based forecast.
      The forecast type will be based on the configuration that is set in the forecast configuration by the admin. 
    2. Forecast Period: Select Quarterly or Monthly and choose the current or future quarters or months.
    3. Forecast Name: Enter the forecast name. (eg., Deal revenue)
      The forecast name will be followed with quarter and year/month (eg., Deal revenue Q2 2021 or Deal revenue Q2 Jan 2021)
    4. Forecast on: Select All Deals or Selected Deals.
      Define criteria for selected deals.
  3. Click Next.
    You will be redirected to the target setting page. 
To set targets
Continue from the 3rd step.
  1. In the Set Target page, enter value for the Company Target.
    The same target value will be populated for the Highest role or Parent Territory. (eg., CEO/Zylker as parent territory).
  2. Split the target value among:
    Depending on the type of hierarchy set in your org.
    1. Role, users in a role, sub roles, and users in sub role. In this order. OR
    2. Reporting manager and subordinates. OR
    3. Territories, users in a territory, sub territories, and users in it. In this order.
  3. Click Apply this target to all peers, to assign the same target to subsequent users.
    This applies only while entering target for the first user under a role or territory. 
  4. Click Save

Creating continuous forecasts

You can continue a new forecast from the existing one to create continuous forecasts. For example, if you create a Deal revenue forecast for the upcoming quarter based on the previous forecasts analysis you can use a continuous forecast. It allows you to set targets based on achievements and gaps observed in the previous forecast.

An important benefit of continuous forecast is that you can make use of Zia's target achievement prediction to compute the ideal target a user can accomplish. Zia predicts the target based on the previous forecasts achievement. Let's consider, in the Q2 your team members closed more deals than their target and as a result the company observed an increase in deal revenue.

Zia will use the above data to calculate the target that each one can achieve and help you set the predicted target for the upcoming quarter.
In case, the users are unable to meet the predicted target by the end of the forecast period Zia will use the result to understand the gap and adjust the target values for the next continuous forecast that is created.

When you create a continuous forecast you can set targets manually or by using the following options:
  1. Zia suggested target: Target calculated by Zia based on the previous forecast will be autopopulated. The targets will be marked as Predicted Target. 
  2. Existing forecast target: Targets that were set in the previous forecast will be autopopulated. The user can select which forecast period they want to use.
  3. Existing forecast achievement: The target achieved in the previous forecast will be autopopulated. For example, if a users target was 10,000 but he achieved 12,000; then 12,000 will be set as the target in the continuous forecast. 
Points to remember
  1. The continuous forecast will take over the name of the previous forecast to help admins identify the source. For example, if the previous forecast was Approx revenue the same name will be used in the continuous forecast followed with quarter/month and year (Approx revenue Q4 2021).
  2. If the previous forecast was created for selected deals, then the continuous forecast will also be created for the same set of deals. You cannot change the condition provided for the new forecast.
  3. You can click on the company target, role's or territory's target to view the open deals and their split among: pipeline, best case, and committed. You can also see the predicted target.
A continuous forecast can be created in two ways:
  1. By continuing from existing forecast
  2. By creating for next period
To create continuous forecast
I. Continuing from existing forecast
  1. Go to the Forecast module and click Create Forecast.
  2. In the Create Forecast popup, select Create from existing forecast.
  3. Select a Forecast from the drop-down list.
  4. Select Forecast period.
    Forecast name and Forecast on cannot be changed. It will be the same as the old forecast.
  5. Click Next.
    You will be redirected to the Set Target page.
  6. Either Set Target manually or select an option from Quickly Set Target.
  7. In the Quickly Set Target drop-down, choose one of the options:
    1. Zia suggested target
    2. Existing forecast target
    3. Existing forecast achievement
  8. Click the Forecast period, next to the Existing forecast target and Existing forecast achievement to autopopulate the values.
  9. Click Save.
II. Creating for next period 
  1. Go to the Forecast module and select a Forecast.
  2. Click Create for Next period.
  3. In the pop-up choose the Forecast period.
  4. Click Create.
    You will be redirected to the Set Target page.
  5. Either Set Target manually or select an option from Quickly Set Target.
  6. In the Quickly Set Target drop-down, choose one of the options:
    1. Zia suggested target
    2. Existing forecast target
    3. Existing forecast achievement
  7. Click the Forecast period, next to the Existing forecast target and Existing forecast achievement to autopopulate the values.

Mismatch in target split-up

If the split -up doesn't match with the total target, then a warning icon will be displayed showing the incorrect amount. For example, if the target for the sales manager (role or user) is 50,000 it should be divided among:
  1. All users in the sales manager role, that is if there are two sales managers then a portion of the target should be assigned to the other sales manager. 
  2. Other roles that are directly under sales manager. That is, if sales executive and sales rep are subroles of sales manager then 50,000 target should also be assigned to both these sub roles.  
In case the target split doesn't match with the total target then a warning icon beside the target will show the difference. You can adjust the values to meet the total target amount or continue to save the forecast despite the mismatch. 

Forecast Overview

Forecast overview is a collection of charts to analyze the performances in the particular forecast, and give overviews on it. It helps users and admins overview their performances and plan changes accordingly to satisfy the target requirements.

  1. Performance Trend: The target audience, like the sales manager or sales reps, can analyze their performances with the help of Performance trend. This chart is the plot of accumulation of achievements across the dates, along with the plot of the target achievement as a straight line. The trend line predict whether the achievement can be met within the forecast period, based on their current performance. The user can work on the current progress to meet the target achievement based on the visually represented predictions.
  2. Achievement Comparison: Users can compare their performances on a regular basis to analyze how they have performed over a period. For example, if they have covered deals of total amount $2000 in FY 2022 week 16, then they will be directly compared in this chart. Deal amounts can also be compared on a daily or monthly basis as well.
  3. Comparison Across Forecasts: This chart compares the total amount achieved for a particular forecast, across different periods. It shows the total value of deals and the deal value achieved in a particular forecast period, in the form of single vertical columns distinguished by different shades. The chart also shows the target achievements set for each forecast period. 

Target Achievement Report

The report gives further details of the analysis available in the Forecast overview section. It is a drilled-down report where every individual's target, achievement, and open deals is displayed.

Under open deals you can view the number of deals that are in the pipeline, the ones that are considered under best case and committed to forecast approximate profit or loss. You can hover on the info icon next to the open deals to see this pop-up. 

Some common terminologies:
Achievement - Target achieved vs. the total target set.
Achieved percentage - The percentage of total target achieved/total target set.
Gap - The difference between the target set and achieved target in percentage.
Achieved amount - The sum of deals closed during a forecast period.
Predicted achievement - Zia predicts the achievement based on the target achievement and deal closure pattern from previous forecasts. 
  1. Admin or users in the highest role can edit the target value of other users from the target achievement report.
  2. Forecast manager can edit the targets of his peers and users in sub role or sub territories.
  3. Auto sync of deals happen every 2 hours. You can manually refresh the report to sync the recent data.
  4. Deals that do not fall under any territory are grouped as "without territory" and placed at the bottom of the target achievement report. For these deals only the achieved and open deals amount will be displayed.
  5. Achievement of deals that are without territory will be added up to the company's achievement.
  6. The deals owned by a user who is not part of a territory will be grouped under non-territory members. The open deals and achievements will be displayed under the non-territory member group.
  7. The charts on User and Roles performance pages will only be available for Completed and Current forecasts.
  8. This Current Deals by Stages chart will be available only for Current forecast.
  9. Achievement Comparison chart will only be available if there are data from previous forecast periods.
  10. Improvements and Reasons for Performance Gap will be updated once in a week.
To view the achievement report
  1. Go to the Forecast module and select a desired forecast.
  2. Hover on the period and click View Full Hierarchy.
  3. In the report, click the + icon against the role to view the achievements of team members and sub roles.
  4. Click the info icon next to the open deals to see the deal split-up based on their state: pipeline, best case, and committed.
  5. User who has achieved their target are marked as Star performers.
  6. Click on the Achieved or Open deals amount to view the complete deal listing. 

Predicted Achievement

Forecasting is a process that uses past data as input to predict estimates and future trends. Zia can predict increase or decrease in target achievement by looking at previous data inputs. For example, if the past trend suggests that a rep usually achieves more than the set target then Zia can predict the ideal target for the rep which he is likely to achieve. 

To predict target achievement, Zia requires past 6 months of data that shows deals which are won on different days. The deals must be closed on 10 different days, that is if all the deals are closed on the same day the prediction cannot be made. The predicted achievement for individual user, role and territory will be displayed next to their achievement in the target achievement report. It will be based on past 6 months of data and current deal closure trend. 

User and Role Performance Pages

Performance report can be viewed by individuals as well as by managers for particular roles.

User Performance Page

There will be many details on this page including charts and other widgets, apart from the basic insights into the users' performance. They can also view the Zia suggestions for the improvements that can be made to close their targets, and the reasons for which they are not able to close your targets, and act accordingly.
The following details are available on the User Performance Page:
  1. Open deals
  2. Deals in Best Case, Pipelines, and Omitted Deals.
  3. Predictions
  4. Target
  5. Achievement
The following charts are available on the User Performance Page:
  1. Performance Trend: This chart will have the target amount plotted in a straight line with the subsequent plot of accumulated achievement of the user, providing insights on whether the target is achievable. Based on the prediction trend line users, can bring changes in their performances to meet the targets.

  2. Achievement Comparison Chart: The plot of total achievement on a particular date or time span contrasted with the plot for available deals that can be completed, and the plot for the overall targets decided.

  3. Current Deals By Stages Chart: The main purpose of this chart is to know the split of the open deals in different stages. All the deals in the current period will be plotted as bar graphs as per its stages. Each graph will be contrasted based on the sum of the deal amounts in three forecast categories - pipeline, best case, and committed. If a pipeline is added, you can also view the current the current deals by stages based on the pipeline added.
Additional sections for details in the User Performance:
  1. Reasons for Achievement Gap, highlighting the gap between the target and the achievement, and providing reasons that could have led to the gap.
    Here are some examples:
    1. High untouched deals: If there are untouched deals then it will be mentioned here with the count of such deals. Upon clicking the count of deals, the list of those specific deals will pop up.
    2. Failed to approach at the right time: If some deals were not approached at the right time they will be mentioned here. Upon clicking Deals, the list of deals contributing to this point will be shown.
    3. Not falling in this forecast period: When the deals are not covered in the particular forecast period, they will be mentioned with this reason.
    4. Deals value not sufficient to close the target: If the deals in the pipeline are not enough to close the target, it will be mentioned as the percentage shortage from the target.
  2. Improvements section listing out the various improvements the user can make in order to reduce the gap.
    Here are some examples:
    1. Focus on the recommended deals: The deals that are likely to be won will be mentioned along with the total deal value upon closer. The deals count will be hyperlinked to pop the list of the specific deals upon clicking.
    2. Focus on the high value deals: This improvement will be showing which deals to focus on, high value deals or low value deals, based on the win rate for each type of deal. It will also mention the number of such deals available in pipeline and list them as link.
    3. Increase the performance on closing rate: This improvement will be shown if the user needs to increase their performance and mention the percentage by which they need to increase.
    4. Kick out the stalled deals: If a high number of deals in the pipeline have less chance of winning they will be mentioned in this improvement. User can click on the count of deals to check the list of such deals.

Roles Performance Page

The Roles Performance report can be accessed on the Roles Performance page by clicking on the particular role in the hierarchical view of the target achievement report page. It has the same details and charts available on the User Performance page, depicting the analysis of all users in the particular role. However the Reasons for Performance Gap, and Improvements for admins to analyze the performance of particular roles, and their direct subordinates, are different from the same provided in the User Performance page.

Achievement gap reasons for Roles:
  1. Recent users transferred between roles: When users are moved to different roles, they will be mentioned as the count of such users, and the percentage of the target deal value that they owned. Clicking on the count of users, the list of such users will open up.
  2. Mismatch found in the split and target: If there is a delay in allocation of values in the target, it will be mentioned as the percentage of the value in the target that is mismatched.
  3. Users low performance: A count of users who closed less than 20% of their targets will be given if any. The users will be linked with the count.
  4. Target Overrated: If the targets of users are overrated then it will be mentioned along with the percentage of overrating.
Improvements suggestions for Roles:
  1. Identify the users who have low value follow up rate: If some users have lead to a decline in customer happiness, they will be mentioned as a list linked to the count of such users.
  2. Right deals to Right person: If user A has a high win rate of 76% on high value deals and 60% on low value deals, it will suggest assigning high value deals to user A to get better results.
  3. Reassignment give some better results: If two users have some stagnated and untouched deals, it will be mentioned as improvement to reassign those deals to help closure.
  4. Correction needed in target: When five users (A ,B, C, D & E) have overrated targets and three users (J, K, & M) have low rated target compared to their average performance, then it will be mentioned with this improvement.

Strategy Influencer in forecasts

Feature availability
  1. Strategy Influencer in Forecasts is available for 20+ user accounts in Enterprise and Ultimate editions.
  2. This feature is ONLY available for English language users. The super admin and other admin users need to be English users.
Zoho CRM's Strategy Influencer includes diverse analytics that depict organizational trends and patterns. It presents anticipated targets, anomalies, the reasons for unmet targets, and solutions to attain targets. By utilizing these insights, you can understand your enterprise's overall performance and develop effective strategies to improve it. Learn more.
The Strategy Influencer analysis for a forecast will be tailored to the forecast's objectives and timeframe, taking into account the analytics and time filters specific to the monthly or quarterly forecast period.      

Once there is enough data for analysis, you will find the View Strategy Influencer option in your forecast overview page. Upon clicking this, you will have the option to get insights of the Strategy Influencer in forecasts in the following five components:
  1. Target Contributors
  2. Anomaly Finder
  3. Gap Analyzer
  4. Predictor
  5. Prescriptor

Target Contributors   

The Target Contributors component presents specific factors that affect the overall target to be achieved, and includes details on each factor, such as the projected target, the attained target, and trend icons that demonstrate the factor's impact.

If it suits your business requirements, you have the liberty to modify the targets listed in the target contributor section. Upon editing the general target in the strategy influencer, verify the new target figures of the specific contributing factors via the Target Contributors component. Should it be necessary, you may designate this revised general target as your projected target.

Anomaly Finder    

The Anomaly Finder scrutinizes the presence of anomalies in the attained value for a given period, and elaborates on the factors behind them, the anticipated versus actual targets, and the extent of their influence on the target.

Gap Analyzer   

The Gap Analyzer detects discrepancies between projected and realized values for a specific day or week, and identifies the causes for these discrepancies.


Zia identifies the top-contributing picklist and lookup field values and displays their predicted and achieved targets, along with their impact during different time durations, using the Predictor component. Additionally, you have the option to select specific contributing factors that are relevant to your needs.


The Prescriptor module provides guidance on reaching an anticipated objective and overcoming any failures to attain it in the future.

Points to remember:
  1. You have the option to retrain the Strategy Influencer every 15 days as needed.
  2. You can delete a Strategy Influencer analysis from a forecast ONLY if it is possible to generate another Strategy Influencer for a different forecast with a distinct target metric.
  3. Insights from the Strategy Influencer will only be available for forecasts on All Deals.
  4. Insights from the Strategy Influencer for the forecast are only visible to admins.
  5. Strategy Influencer insights are available only for the current ongoing forecasts.

Retraining and Deleting Forecasts  

In addition to these elements, you have the option to periodically retrain the Strategy Influencer every 15 days, as needed.
If you wish to delete a Strategy Influencer analysis from a forecast, the delete function will only be accessible if it is possible to create a new Strategy Influencer for another forecast using a different target metric.

Auto sync of deal information for latest forecast

As and when the deal's status changes the information is synced with the forecast to show the latest target achievement report. The sync takes places every 2 hours automatically. However, you can manually sync the data, by clicking the refresh icon at the top. The last synced time will be displayed. 
  1. You may notice a data mismatch if you open the target achievement report before the auto-sync. 
  2. Once the forecast period is completed, the open deals and achieved amount will be locked. Any changes done to the open deals once the forecast period is completed will not be reflected in the target achievement report. 

Forecast list View

In the Forecast module you can see the list of forecasts that are created for the organization. By default a user will view the forecasts created for the current fiscal year when they land on the list view. They can filter and view the other forecasts.  There are several actions that can be performed from the list view.

Filter forecasts

You can use filters to view a particular forecast. 
1. Forecast type: You can choose whether to view revenue or quantity based forecast.
2. Forecast year: The forecasts are grouped as past, current, and future year. You can choose one of the year to view all forecasts created during the time.
3, 4, 5.  Forecast based on role, user or territory: Based on the type of hierarchy you used to create a forecast, you can filter and view forecasts created for a particular user, role or region.
Region and company wise filter for territory hierarchy can be used by users who are part of multiple territories
Role and user wise filter for role and reporting hierarchy will be available only to admins and users in highest role.

Renaming and deleting forecast

Rename: Admin, forecast manager or user in the highest role can rename a forecast by clicking on the More icon next to the forecast name.
Delete: Only admin or user in the highest role can delete a forecast. You can use this option to delete all forecasts created under the respective forecast name across all periods.
To rename or delete a forecast
  1. Go to the Forecast module.
  2. Hover on the forecast name and click the Ellipses.
  3. Click Rename to change the forecast name.
  4. Click Delete to delete the forecast. 

Editing, cloning, and deleting forecast period

You can find these options by clicking on the more icon next to the forecast period.

Editing: The current forecast will be highlighted as current quarter or month. You can edit them but you cannot edit the targets of completed forecasts.
Deleting: Upon deleting a forecast period the existing computation for the users, roles, sub roles, and sub territories will be deleted. The forecast will be deleted from period will be deleted only from the particular forecast. There will no change to other forecasts that may have been created using the same period.

Cloning: You can clone a forecast period of the current or future quarter or month. When cloned the target of the original forecast period will be copied on the cloned forecast. The forecast name cannot be changed while cloning.

Holistic view of forecasts across years 

View forecast of individual user, role or territory

In the Forecast list page, you can view all the forecasts that are created in the org. You can click on the desired forecast and expand the period to view the target, achievement, gap, current open deals, and the respective amount for each deal state (pipeline, best case, and committed) .

You can also click on the user, role or territory names to view the drilled-down report. 

On clicking the forecast created for the CEO (deal revenue Q2 2021), the detailed report showing the target, total achievement, and overall gap will be displayed. Also, the current deals will be split as: open deals, pipeline, best case, and committed. Upon clicking on one of those numbers (eg. pipeline) you can view the list of contributing deals.
Similarly, you can click on the other categories to find deals contributing towards committed, best case etc. 

Likewise, if you click on the corresponding user, role or territories under the forecast period you can view their target break-up too. In addition, you can navigate to the other roles, territories or users forecast by clicking on the hierarchy displayed right below the forecast.

Detailed view of all deals

In a forecast you can click on the value under achievement and current open deals to see the contributing deals, the account they belong to, stage, amount and more.

View complete hierarchy details

From the forecast listing, you can select a forecast period and click View Full Hierarchy to see the detailed breakdown of user, role, sub role, territory, and sub territory. You can see the  total target, net achievement, open deal amount and its split up based on category for each entity of the hierarchy.

Setting forecast category

After the forecast is configured the forecast category will be automatically populated based on the configuration done in the stage probability mapping. The forecast category will be autopopulated as per the deal stage. If the deal is in open stage the category can be edited depending on the progress.
In stage probability mapping, the deal category determines the current state of a deal. There are 3 deal categories:
  1. Open - The deal is in pipeline.
  2. Closed won - The deal is won and closed.
  3. Closed lost - The deal is lost and closed.
To determine whether deals from a particular state should be considered for forecast or not and under which category we define the forecast category. There are 5 system-defined forecast categories:
  1. Pipeline - The deals are open and still in the sales cycle.
  2. Best case - The deals that have good chances of winning.
  3. Committed - These deals are committed and are more likely to win.
  4. Closed - Deals that are "Won"
  5. Omitted - These deals won't be included in forecasting.
Additionally, you have the option to add upto two forecast categories for the open deal stage based on your business needs.

When deal category is open the forecast category can be marked as pipeline, best case, committed, or any of the custom categories created, depending on how its progressing. You can rename these categories as well as change the default colors. Marking a deal with the right forecast category helps the decision makers estimate the revenue that they are likely to generate.

Once the deals move to the closed won or lost stages the forecast category is locked.

Similarly, the deals that are in closed won or lost state are automatically mapped to closed or omitted state respectively. Users cannot edit this category of deals that are closed.

Sales reps can update the forecast category of a deal manually to best case or committed when the situation calls for it. The total deal amount for a particular category will then be updated in the forecast during its next sync.
  1. If the forecast category of a deal stage is changed then only those deals whose closing dates fall today (the day on which the change is done) or future forecast period (quarter or month) will display the new category. The closed deals will not be changed. For example, if deal stage "under review" is mapped with pipeline forecast category and you change it to best case. This change will reflect on all open deals with closing date in current and future dates only.
  2. System defined forecast categories (Pipeline, Best case, Committed) can only be renamed and cannot be deleted.
  3. In case of deleting a forecast category, and mapping existing records for the category to a new option: only records with closing date from the current date will be updated with the changed forecast category and so those changed records will be reflected in the forecast.

Archived Forecasts

The purpose of configuring forecasts is to keep track of the company's performance on various levels of the organization. Thus it is essential to have records of forecasts to get better understanding because of their significant importance . In Zoho CRM, forecasts are automatically archived and you can go through them as and when required in the future.
The archived forecasts page lists all the forecasts that are archived. You can filter them based on hierarchy, forecast type, and time. You can also hover over a forecast for the option to see the full hierarchy. This will open the Target Achievement Report page.

Which forecasts are archived?

  1. The forecast list view displays upto 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. T he forecasts before Q1 2019 would be archived.
  2. 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 would be archived, and the current forecast for Q3 2021 will be deleted along with any future forecasts created.  
  • Only the completed forecasts will be archived. If the forecast configuration is edited, the current and future forecasts that are based on old configuration will be deleted.
  • Changing the Fiscal Year of your organization will delete all the existing forecasts as well as the archived forecasts.
  • Archived forecasts data will not be available in reports.



To view archived forecasts

  1. Go to the Forecasts module.
  2. Click on the ellipses on the top right corner of the forecasts list page.
  3. Select Archived Forecast from the dropdown.

  4. Filter the forecasts based on Hierarchy, Forecast Type, and Time.

  5. Click View full hierarchy.

  6. Click on the   info icon i to view the basic details about the forecast like the hierarchy, target field, created by, and archived time.

  • The archived forecasts cannot be edited, they are for viewing purposes only. Archived forecasts can be deleted as and when required.
  • Up to 5 years of forecasts records would be available as archive. 

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