Sales Forecasting with Dynamics 365 CRM

You probably already know that Dynamics 365 CRM (D365 CRM) is a powerful resource for managing customers and customer engagement, but you may not know how powerful the platform is for sales forecasting. Let’s go over how you can use D365 CRM for sales forecasting in depth.

About D365 Sales Forecasting

Once you’re logged in as a standard sales user within the sales hub, scroll down under Performance until you see Goals. Click on Goals, and then you will see Forecasts. Click on Forecasts, and you should see any forecasts you previously created. We’ll go over how to create sales forecasts in this post as well.

When looking at a quarterly forecast, for example, you can see what a single sales user has for their actual sales, what the system has predicted from this information, and the best case scenario for the situation. All of this is going to be strictly made off of the opportunities that were created inside the pipeline. You will also be able to see what a sales rep has decided to commit, what they lost, what they admitted, what they won, and what’s truly in the pipeline.

Adjusting Sales Opportunities within the Forecast

In addition, if you click on the sales user, you can see all of the opportunities that make up the forecast that we’re currently calculating, including the customer name, the pipeline forecast category, estimated close date, and revenue. From here, you can move things around. For instance, if you think the service opportunity you’re working on is not something we should commit to, you can change that from this window. D365 CRM will then move that dollar amount from the best case scenario to committed, recalculate the forecast, and then show the change in revenue.

This can be a great tool for management when it comes to adjusting sales opportunities.

Sales Pipeline Kanban View

From this window, you can also show the Kanban view and adjust the pipeline as needed with simple drag and drop mechanics.

Most importantly, though, is that the Kanban view allows management to quickly look at trends for individual sales reps. You can see how sales move day-to-day throughout the entire quarter, measure the actual sales against the sales quota, and see how the information flows and how much data moves to either omitted or committed categories.

Setting up sales forecasting in D365 CRM

Click on Sales from the main navigation and then go into the app settings. Look under Performance Management, and you will see Forecast Configuration. Click on Forecast Configuration. From here, the actual forecast creator will open, and you can create forecasts in a couple of different ways, either with an organizational chart or based on a sales territory.

When building your forecast, keep the following questions in mind.

  • What entity are you rolling the forecast up to?
  • Is there a particular hierarchy you need to consider?
  • Are we building this forecast monthly or quarterly?
  • Which forecast period are we starting in?
  • How many periods is this forecast going to go through?

At this point, you can add additional layers of security as needed.

Customizing the Forecast

Once you build the forecast, the default view for it is going to be an opportunity forecast view. You can easily customize the layout by adding in columns and adjusting the forecast layout to look exactly how you want it. Now you can also add in filters to alter the view depending upon what you need. For example, you can create one filter with the sales quota, predictions, best case committed, and omitted.

The last piece of building and customizing your forecast is adding in the sales quota. Microsoft has provided templates you can use to help populate the quota amounts for each period and then upload them to D365 CRM.

With the premium feature “Snapshots,” you can schedule snapshots of the forecast as often as you need up to one every 24 hours. With these snapshots, you can easily analyze data between any time period during the forecast, which helps understand how the information and deals flow.

Categorizing Opportunities

One element that will impact a forecast is how you categorize opportunities. To categorize the opportunities, switch back to the original Sales view and select Opportunities. From here, you can drag and drop to move items between periods, which will automatically recalculate and show both the sales funnel and a Kanban view.

Open a specific opportunity and look for the forecast category. This set forecast category is what drives the various buckets we can see from the Kanban view. Click on the drop-down menu arrow to see all of the available forecast categories, including pipeline, committed, omitted, won and lost, etc. Management can look at these individual opportunities, decide if these are sales opportunities they want to commit to or omit, categorize them appropriately, and then recalculate the forecast.

Management can even add different categories as they need.

In the end, D365 CRM allows sales users to work opportunities as they normally do and easily provide forecasts as management requires. In turn, management can make decisions about these various opportunities, freeing up time for both the sales reps and management. Therefore, it allows for better sales forecasting, better visibility into the pipeline, and visibility into how the information flows across a period of time.

Have any questions about how D365 sales forecasting can work for your business and sales departments? Please contact us at any time!

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