We also took it one step further and created the “WTF” report. Now, we weren’t getting too crude here. Very appropriately, the “F” stands for forecasting. A member of my team is a real data sleuth; putting bad data in the system would be like taking a shovel of dirt and dumping it in her living room. We both really despise this “dirty data.”
She created the daily “What the Forecast” report so we can always be sure reps are meeting the criteria. There are five stages to our sales process, which is pretty typical: Qualify, Develop, Discover, Envision, and Negotiate. For example, let’s say that in stage four or five, the SSA (subscription software agreement) contract hasn’t been sent. A stage four or five opportunity and no SSA in process? That would immediately get flagged in the WTF.
This report allows managers, reps, and me to have a view every day into the pipeline. It flags where and why criteria aren’t met — whether it’s early or late stage. The goal is to always keep it empty. If this happens, then we know the data is sound and the opportunities are meeting criteria. But if there’s still a lot of data, that’s a problem. It means managers and reps need to get involved and fix it.
In the end, the process of admission, discussion, process tightening, and inspection have made a huge impact on our forecasting. Managers and sales reps are accountable. We all have better and more accurate views into the pipeline. And I can do my job to forecast to the best of our abilities.