Want insights on the performance of D2C, eCommerce brands in the US & India during COVID lockdowns?
Visit Our Markets Data

How to make accurate sales forecasts?

Ashwini Murthy
Ashwini Murthy
Apr 25, 2017
Min Read

You don’t have to own flowy robes and crystal balls to see the future. A reliable forecasting method in place can be your clairvoyant. That’s essentially the whole idea behind revenue forecasting. [Twitter]Forecasting isn't just a fun tactical exercise to light some fire under a sales rep’s back.[/Twitter] I’ve seen companies spend weeks at snowy mountains and ski resorts spending all the day indoors trying to forecast for the coming year and yet, forecasts remain forecasts and the actual scenario turns out like a ski-resort hit by a blizzard - zero visibility and not the faintest idea of what’s going on.Why so?Sales as a metric isn't the best indicator of growth. Mostly because sales reflects the past. The sales forecast is an exercise of derivation. You derive the forecast based on momentum on the ground. Leads! Leads are the leading indicator of your sales.Sales numbers are lagging indicators because the leads would’ve been created months ago and closed now. Sales number is the night before the blizzard. Even if the sales cycle is short, there is a substantial time gap between when the lead was created and when the deal gets closed. The pipeline isn’t dependable either. Reason being, it all boils down to how optimistic your sales rep was feeling when s/he put the lead there. And sales reps are optimistic. You hire them for that trait!More often than not, revenue forecasts go unmet. An over-optimistic approach isn’t going to cut it. But, being too practical, being overly pessimistic or too skeptical isn’t going to work either. So, is there any metric that takes care of all the important aspects and helps you reach a realistic forecast? Yes.Enter: Qualified Lead Velocity Ratio (LVR) - How fast are your leads growing? To eliminate the rat-race for quantity, only qualified leads are counted. It is real time. With a good sales team, and a focus on growing your LVR, hitting your revenue goals is easy. If your month-to-month sales forecast graph has to trend up and to the right, the knob you turn to make that happen is ‘lead velocity’.

How do you measure ‘lead velocity rate’?

qualified-leads-for-current-month-qualified-leads-for-previous-month

Sales growth is supposed to track an increasing LVR. If your LVR isn’t growing as per your plans, you can safely and accurately tell that the forthcoming months or quarters are not going to look good in terms of sales numbers.If you are an engineer like me who sells now for a living, LVR brings the fond comfort of mathematical precision.

lvr-sales

This is how an ideal LVR-Sales relationship should look. Any increase in LVR that month impacts the sales the next month. If your sales team celebrates a good month in September but there aren’t many qualified leads in the same month at the top of the funnel, it reflects in October’s sales numbers. But there are times when an increase in LVR doesn’t lead to growth in sales the consecutive month.If your sales numbers are not impressive, it just could mean three things.

  • Your sales team isn’t closing efficiently. There has been a change in the team or their quality is declining. Either way, if the sales revenue is going to decline, you have a problem.
  • If your sales team is able to convert the top of the funnel to closures with the same level of historic effectiveness, then you could look at the top of the funnel, which is filled by your marketing channels. Lead volume is a problem then. If the lead volume isn’t a problem, then lead quality, most definitely is (because remember - we consider only qualified leads when we calculate lead velocity).
  • Sales problems are relatively easy to decipher. Marketing problems aren’t. Leads slow down or become flaky for reasons outside of your channel performance. Your underlying market conditions could have changed. Your product might not have kept pace.

Whatever the reasons might be LVR helps you predict revenue and gives you directions to follow to investigate bottlenecks.Can LVR be deceiving? Yes, anything that can be interpreted can be misinterpreted too, right? LVR takes into account the number of qualified leads. But what about that one golden deal vs 10 minor deals? LVR ignores the lifetime value of the prospect. To ensure the integrity of the LVR metric, you should consider only qualified leads. If you are generating leads for a SaaS company it’s easy to do lead scoring and assign a quality score to a lead. If you are working on leads for an ERP product sold to retail or e-commerce companies, your leads might come from ‘feet on the street’ efforts. How do you qualify your leads effectively?Watch out for the next post in this series!  

Trusted by world's leading eCommerce enablers to research eCommerce companies and reach out to them
Get 30 mins free consultation with our research analyst.
Book Consultation
company-logocompany-logocompany-logocompany-logocompany-logocompany-logo
company-logo
awards-img
Be a Segmentation Superpower
eCommerce-specfic lead qualification criteria
Freedom from non-Commerce databases.
Predictable demand generation. Very precise segmentation & messaging.
Free Trial
A writer by day. Illustrator by night. Currently trying to conquer the B2B marketing world one baby step at a time. Loves everything outside her comfort zone.

Get PipeCandy essays straight to your inbox.

Every week we send out one deeply researched essay that captures the eCommerce industry and its evolution, right to your inbox. 50%+ open rates for a year now.
Trusted by 22,804 DTC & eCommerce industry insiders.

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
Prospector

The holy grail of predictable demand generation

Build surgically precise lead lists of your ideal eCommerce customers
Start Free Trial
Firehose

Closed lost? Not really.

Enrich your leads & engage again. Generate demand from your ignored CRM leads with right segmentation and messaging.
Start Free Trial
Researcher

The gold standard of eCommerce market size estimates

We hand-count & research every active eCommerce company. Know your true TAM.
Start Free Trial

Get PipeCandy essays straight to your inbox.

Every week we send out one deeply researched essay that captures the eCommerce industry and its evolution, right to your inbox. 50%+ open rates for a year now.
Trusted by 22,804 DTC & eCommerce industry insiders.
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

Get PipeCandy essays straight to your inbox.

Every week we send out tidbits that capture the eCommerce industry and its evolution, right to your inbox. It's free. No spam. Choose to opt-out whenever.
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
eCommerce-specfic lead qualification criteria
Freedom from non-Commerce databases.
Predictable demand generation. Very precise segmentation & messaging.
Free Trial
Be a Segmentation Superpower
eCommerce-specfic lead qualification criteria
Freedom from non-Commerce databases.
Predictable demand generation. Very precise segmentation & messaging.
Free Trial
A writer by day. Illustrator by night. Currently trying to conquer the B2B marketing world one baby step at a time. Loves everything outside her comfort zone.
A writer by day. Illustrator by night. Currently trying to conquer the B2B marketing world one baby step at a time. Loves everything outside her comfort zone.
hm.com
HQ Location: Beaverton, Oregon, United States Of America, 97005
hm.com, operated by H & M Hennes & Mauritz AB, is an internationally-focused online store that generates eCommerce net sales primarily in Germany as well as in the United States and the United Kingdom. With regards to the product range, hm.com achieves the greatest part of its eCommerce net sales in the “Fashion” category.
Web Sales
Order Volume
Commercepedia Maturity Score
Record Coverage
High
Category
Arts and Entertainment, Business and Consumer Services, Business and Industrial, Consumer Electronics, Health and Fitness
Sub Category
Arts and Entertainment, Business and Industrial, Office Supplies and Stationery, Technology and Computing
hm.com funding details
Total venture and debt funding raised by hm.com from accredited investors.
View full report
The most accurate online retailers dataset curated by algorithms & analysts
The most accurate online retailers dataset curated by algorithms & analysts
A writer by day. Illustrator by night. Currently trying to conquer the B2B marketing world one baby step at a time. Loves everything outside her comfort zone.
A writer by day. Illustrator by night. Currently trying to conquer the B2B marketing world one baby step at a time. Loves everything outside her comfort zone.
Trusted by world's leading eCommerce enablers to research eCommerce companies and reach out to them
Get 30 mins free consultation with our research analyst.
Book Consultation
company-logocompany-logocompany-logocompany-logocompany-logocompany-logo
company-logo
awards-img
Trusted by world's leading eCommerce enablers to research eCommerce companies and reach out to them
Get 30 mins free consultation with our research analyst.
Book Consultation
company-logocompany-logocompany-logocompany-logocompany-logocompany-logo
company-logo
awards-img
Prospector
The holy grail of predictable demand generation
Build surgically precise lead lists of your ideal eCommerce customers
prospector-img
sm-logo
Firehose
Closed lost? Not really.
Enrich your leads & engage again. Generate demand from your ignored CRM leads with right segmentation and messaging.
firehose-img
sm-logo
Researcher
The gold standard of eCommerce market size estimates
We hand-count & research every active eCommerce company. Know your true TAM.
Researcher-img
State of the Direct-to-Consumer Industry in 2022
New
State of the Direct-to-Consumer Industry in 2022
The direct-to-consumer sector as we see today is far different from what it started off as about a decade ago. What we see about the DTC space today with data-driven research insights?
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
COVID Impact on US D2C brands
New
COVID Impact on US D2C brands
Which D2C categories thrive & which ones struggle due to COVID – a data-driven report
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
DTC Playbooks
New
DTC Playbooks
How do D2C brands think about growth. A perspective from early days of DTC
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
Global eCommerce market size
New
Global eCommerce market size
Total addressable market size of eCommerce companies in the US and other major markets
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
Subscription eCommerce industry report
New
Subscription eCommerce industry report
Total addressable market of subscription eCommerce companies
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
Fashion industry & D2C fashion brands
New
Fashion industry & D2C fashion brands
How big is the fashion industry and how are the brands distributed by revenue?
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
More Reports
New
More Reports
Country-specific eCommerce TAM reports & white papers
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
State of the Direct-to-Consumer Industry in 2022
New
State of the Direct-to-Consumer Industry in 2022
The direct-to-consumer sector as we see today is far different from what it started off as about a decade ago. What we see about the DTC space today with data-driven research insights?
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
COVID Impact on US D2C brands
New
COVID Impact on US D2C brands
Which D2C categories thrive & which ones struggle due to COVID – a data-driven report
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
DTC Playbooks
New
DTC Playbooks
How do D2C brands think about growth. A perspective from early days of DTC
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
Global eCommerce market size
New
Global eCommerce market size
Total addressable market size of eCommerce companies in the US and other major markets
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
Subscription eCommerce industry report
New
Subscription eCommerce industry report
Total addressable market of subscription eCommerce companies
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
Fashion industry & D2C fashion brands
New
Fashion industry & D2C fashion brands
How big is the fashion industry and how are the brands distributed by revenue?
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
More Reports
New
More Reports
Country-specific eCommerce TAM reports & white papers
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
Prospector
The holy grail of predictable demand generation
Build surgically precise lead lists of your ideal eCommerce customers
Qualification Criteria
Technology Catogories
30 of 30 Catogories Selected
Website Technologies
6 of 1.5K Web Tech Selected
Product Category
Fashion & Apparel & 1K more
Product Sub Categories
Accessories, Babywear & 1k more
Web Traffic Rank
<1M, 1M-5M, 10M-25M & 9 more
Web Sales
<$1M, $1M-$5M, $10M... & 9 more
Countries
USA, Canada, UK & 192 more
States
California, Florida & 748 more
Customer Type
B2B, B2C, B2G, C2C
Physical Store
Choose Option
Own Brand
Choose Option
Business Tags
Subscription, DTC & & 500 more
Monthly Unique Visitors
$0 - $10B
Monthly Shipping Volume
<100, 100-500 & 5 more
Payment Partnerships
Alipay, Vantiv CNP & 2k more
Logistics Partnerships
UPS, FedEx, DHL & 2k more
Technology Catogories
Content Delivery
or
Content Management
or
CRM
or
Website Technologies
Azure Edge
or
CloudFront
or
Turn
or
DemDex
Apply Criteria
Let's Get Started!
Narrow down your keyword search using 'Commercepedia Keyword Search' on Top
Find a comprehensive list of eCommerce companies & DTC brands using 'Filters'
Powered by PipeCandy's Proprietary Online Merchant Graph!
Slice & Dice
D2C companies based on attributes made possible for the first time with Commercepedia
Advanced Search
This is some text inside of a div block.
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
Filter by Sub-categories
Reset All
314
314
314
314
314
Filter by Annual Revenue (USD)
110
410
124
45
15
HQ Location
15
15
15
15