5 Ominous Signs of a Bad Sales Forecast


You might think you have enough deals to make your number. But in truth, your pipeline may be clogged with dead ends. New buyers, or new product buyers, who need more convincing. Or deals that have no hope of closing this quarter.


Overestimating pipeline size is a common trap. For many sales organizations, the problems run deep. Their systems and processes are inadequate. They just can’t keep the pipeline full and flowing. And they don’t know bloat when they see it. 


Do you have reasons to doubt your own sales forecast?


Here are five signs you do.


1. You’re Neglecting Your Leads.

Your lead management process is inconsistent or incoherent. You’re not making optimal use of marketing automation, content, and data. Sales receives too many unqualified leads, and neglected leads fall through the cracks.


Likely issues


  • Your LDRs aren’t receiving proper onboarding and training.
  • Your nurture pathways are ineffective.
  • You’re relying on the wrong campaign KPIs.


We can help you refine your lead management process. Check out SBI’s lead generation services and content library.


Better yet, schedule an in-person meeting in your office. Just register for our “How to Make Your Number in 2016” workshop. We can help you eradicate bad forecasts for good.


2. You’re Not in Tune With Your Customers’ Buying Process.

You’re relying on an outdated sales process. It doesn’t reflect how today’s decision makers make purchase decisions. Leads aren’t being verified, and your sales team is spinning its wheels. Or turning off prospects completely.


Likely issues


  • You’re unclear about what buyers want from you at later stages of the decision process.
  • You have no way of knowing when buyers exit one stage of the funnel and enter the next.
  • Nothing is more important than understanding your buyers and anticipating their questions. A buying process map will clarify how buyers make complex purchase decisions.


3. You Struggle to Turn Buyer Interest Into Sales.

Your sales team can’t access the resources they need to execute the sales process. Adoption rates remain low, and reps go their own way. Technology isn’t making the sales process any easier.


Likely issues


You need a comprehensive buyer engagement plan that outlines your approach in detail.


4. You Don’t Have a Process for Pipeline/Forecast Management.

You haven’t established a process and cadence, or the sales team isn’t trained on it. No one is regularly monitoring your pipeline’s health. End-of-quarter surprises are the norm.


Likely issues


  • You’re relying on periodic CRM snapshots.
  • You’re making one-off changes to win percentages.
  • You rush through deal-by-deal reviews when data is changed.


CRM isn’t always reliable. Manual workarounds wreak havoc on the forecast. You must review your pipeline on a regular basis. Be a skeptic. Purge outdated, stagnant leads. Inspect key deals closely.


5. You’re Not Diving Deep Into the Data.

You look at high-level indicators without considering the details that feed into them. Without the proper context, you draw faulty conclusions about your pipeline.


Likely issues


  • You haven’t considered the sub-metrics.
  • You only focus on late-stage deals.
  • You don’t know why deals are assigned to their respective stages.


We can help you interpret the data, make sense of irregularities, and predict more accurately.


You Hold the Keys to a Healthy Pipeline

Lead management, customer insights, sales process, pipeline management. These are the first four keys to pipeline health. The fifth is a healthy dose of skepticism. Never assume the pipeline is as it appears. It’s up to you to prove it. 


Together, we can dive deep and discover what’s ailing your pipeline. Our “How to Make Your Number in 2016” workshop takes just 90 minutes. We’ll come to you. And you’ll come away with everything you need to forecast with confidence.




Greg Alexander

Leads the firm's focus on the CEO’s role in accelerating revenue growth by getting the product team, the marketing department, and the sales organization into strategic alignment.

Greg is the host of The SBI Podcast, the most listened to sales and marketing podcast on the internet.


He is the host of SBI TV, a monthly television program broadcast on the internet featuring top B2B sales and marketing leader sharing their strategies to grow revenues.


Greg is the Editor-in-Chief of The SBI Magazine, the leading B2B publication focused on sales and marketing effectiveness.


He is the author of two critically acclaimed books Topgrading for Sales and Making the Number.


Greg has authored over 100 articles on SBI’s award winning blog, The SBI Blog.


He graduated from The University of Massachusetts Amherst with a BA in English and received his MBA from Georgia Tech.




Transforming the Sales Organization inside Fortune 500 Companies

Greg Alexander and John Gleason, Chief Sales Officer of Ryder, talk about the unique challenges of transforming a sales team inside of very large enterprises.


A Better Way to Structure Your Sales Force

Greg Alexander and Tony Capucille, Chief Sales Officer at Heartland Payment Systems, discuss the pros and cons of the 7 B2B sales organizational models.


Build a team of A Players Inside the Sales Organization

Greg Alexander and Todd Cione, Chief Revenue Officer at Rackspace, talk about hiring, onboarding, and developing exceptional sales talent.




Fill Every Role on Your Team with an A Player

In this article, Greg Alexander makes the case for applying the TopGrading methodology to the sales team, and outlines how to do so.


What CEOs Need to Know About Their Marketing Strategies

In this article, Greg Alexander and Rashid Skaf, CEO of AMX, discuss the role the CEO plays in crafting a company’s marketing strategy.


What CEOs are Looking for in a Sales Leader

In this article, Greg Alexander and George Norton, leader of Heidrick & Struggles Chief Sales Officer practice, discuss what CEOs need in the chief sales officer role.

Read full bio >