A sales forecast is an expression of expected sales revenue. It estimates how much your company plans to sell within a certain time period—and the best sales forecasts are extremely accurate.
When creating your forecast, there are a few broad areas you need to think about: top line outcomes, activity outcomes, and the resources needed.
Top line outcomes refer to your company’s revenues or gross sales. For education services, these sales are unique to your circumstances and business culture, but your revenues will typically include some or all of the following elements:
Training course sales
Training credits sales
Training subscription sales
Upsells and cross-sells to existing customers
Retention rates of existing customers (more precisely, net revenue retention)
In your forecast, you need to estimate how much money each of these revenue drivers are going to bring in each month.
Next, you want to think about activity outcomes when creating your forecast. Activity outcomes basically predict customer behavior once you release your training. For example, you could predict enrollments (how many people are going to sign up for your training) for instructor-led training or eLearning courses. Another activity outcome you could forecast is completion rates—the percentage of customers enrolled in the training that actually finish.
The last vital area to consider when creating your forecast is the resources needed to deliver the above outcomes. What resources are you going to need to actually deliver on these outcomes? For example, consider what roles you will need to hire (instructional designers, instructors, etc.), when you need to hire them, and how much it will cost. You should also consider what technology you need to buy (such as authoring software or a learning management system), when you need this technology, and how much that will cost.
Next, consider what “other expenses” you will need—will you be hiring contract writers or designers? Will you do any marketing to promote your training? How much will that cost?
By creating an accurate forecast of the resources needed to deliver on your outcomes, you help your company allocate the resources and personnel needed to meet customer demand. If you fail to do so, your company could be completely unprepared and unable to meet customers’ needs—leaving you with unhappy customers and high rates of churn.
Maybe you’ve never created a forecast before, and think you don’t know how to predict these things. Join the club—no one knows. Sometimes you need to make a reasonable guess. You must have some idea how many people will buy your courses or sign up for your eLearning. You MUST forecast these things. It shows you are thinking about what results you plan to achieve and how you plan to achieve it.
If you’ve never created a forecast before, it will be uncomfortable. But sales forecasting is a roadmap to profitability—if you can put together accurate sales forecasts, you can directly contribute to business growth and customer satisfaction, leading to more sales and more loyal customers.
Get the recording: We ran a webinar on this
We ran a webinar to walk you through how to create your 20201 education services plan. It was hands-on and practical. By hands-on, I mean you will be able to start on your plan during the recording. Bring a pencil. If you want to WOW your management team, this is it.
Originally published Dec 7, 2020 5:53:49 PM, updated Dec 7, 2020