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Insights from the 2024 Sales Forecasting Benchmark Report

Jul 09, 2024
3 min read

In an era of rapid business shifts the call for digital transformations in sales rings loud and clear, emphasizing the importance of unifying frameworks and approaches across all facets of business operations. We surveyed 400 finance, sales, and revenue operations professionals and uncovered a hidden struggle faced by Sales and Finance teams behind closed doors. Almost all agree that with better tools their sales forecasts would be more detailed and accurate. In fact, 4 in 5 sales and finance leaders say they have missed a quarterly sales forecast in the past year — with over half missing it two or more times

The 2024 State of Sales Forecasting Benchmark Report offers further insights into the current state of sales forecasting, emerging trends, benchmarks, predictions, and actionable solutions to elevate your sales forecasting processes. Use this blog, which summarizes the report’s key findings, as a compass when building your future forecasting strategies. Plus, you can download the full report here.

Analyzing and Integrating Data are Top Challenges

In sales forecasting, we found appearances can often be deceiving. While many businesses appear content with their in-house processes, Sales and Finance teams grapple with challenges that impact the accuracy and detail of their sales forecasts. Although essential for comprehensive analysis, integrating systems and surfacing data pose significant challenges when the necessary support systems are lacking. 97% of sales and finance leaders agree that the right data would make delivering accurate forecasts a lot easier.

The report revealed the critical role of data analysis in forecasting accuracy, with respondents saying that reporting systems that can’t access historical CRM or performance data are the most common roadblocks to accurate sales forecasting (66%). Check out the full report to learn the other top roadblocks your peers face. 

Uniting Teams for Forecasting Success

In the realm of sales forecasting, collaboration stands as a cornerstone of success as nearly all (97%) leaders surveyed say Sales and Finance teams need to work better — together. Collaboration is a critical opportunity to improve internal workflows and, ultimately, forecast accuracy. And by adopting a unified approach, businesses can hit their forecasting targets. So what’s the problem? Get the full report to see the top barriers to collaboration and for tips on how to foster a culture of cross-team collaboration.

The Impact of Missed Sales Forecasts

Over 50% of revenue leaders have missed a forecast at least two times in the past year, with a majority of finance and sales leaders indicating significant discrepancies in their forecasts (download the full report to see how off typical sales forecasts are and see how you measure up). The consequences of these inaccuracies can echo throughout the organization, impacting budgets, planning, and overall business performance. The ramifications of missed forecasts are substantial and can lead to organizational restructuring, benefits or incentive cuts, the blame game, or even layoffs.

We’ve listed out the steps to enhance sales forecast accuracy, including insightful strategies such as understanding deal health scores, optimizing the total pipeline, and leveraging data to make conservative yet realistic forecast calls.

The Future of Sales Forecasting

The future of sales forecasting presents both challenges and opportunities. While an overwhelming majority (95%) of Finance and Revenue Operations teams express confidence in their ability to plan using existing forecasts, a deeper examination reveals a stark contrast. In truth, a staggering 98% acknowledge their struggle in formulating accurate forecasts.

This disparity points to a significant disconnect between perceived competence and actual proficiency, highlighting the need to enhance the skills essential for navigating and interpreting forecasting data effectively.

Clearly, change is needed. The challenge of accuracy looms large, making the adoption of cutting-edge forecasting technology an ideal solution to stay ahead of the curve and drive innovation. Overall, the report proves that by investing in better data analysis and collaboration tools, organizations can optimize their sales forecasting processes and enhance their forecast accuracy. The report offers expert advice and best practices from peers and Xactly experts, providing a roadmap to effectively navigate the complexities of sales forecasting, from defining processes and methodologies to managing and inspecting pipelines. To gain a comprehensive understanding of these findings, trends, expert advice, and best practices, and explore concrete solutions, download the full report.


The survey respondents included 400 respondents representing a broad cross-section of company sizes, annual contract values, and industries that participated in the research. See the Methodology section in the report to learn more. 

Kelly Arellano, Senior Content Marketing Manager at Xactly
Kelly Arellano
Senior Content Marketing Manager

Kelly has over 10 years of marketing experience in demand generation and content marketing. She was born and raised in the Bay Area and enjoys sports, going to the beach, golfing, lifting weights, and playing with her three littles.