This article is aimed at Sales Managers and Pipeliner Power Users.
You can use Forecasts to plan and review revenue gained and projected for Users, Units, Products and Product Categories for whichever date period you select. Drill down into the underlying data in different views that allow you to interact directly with the information displayed. You can create Quotas and enter committed Forecast values and then have those populate the User’s Target Settings in the Opportunity pipeline view. ⤵
How to Create a Forecast/Quota Report
Click on the Analytics menu and select “Forecasts” ⤵
Next, click on the “Create New” button to open up the Forecast Setup ⤵
Name the Forecast (this can be changed at any time) and add a Description to clarify the purpose of the Forecast to help other users who may access it.
Choose the Period to use for your Forecast from “Monthly”, “Quarterly” or “Yearly” and then add the Start date and End date for your report.
You can forecast by Users, Sales Units, Products, Product Categories or Accounts and can organise your selection(s) in a Hierarchy. The type(s) of records you choose in your Forecast type will help to define what other field types drop-down lists are available ⤵
Select the date you want to use for your Forecast date range. This could be “Closing Date” for Opportunities or any other custom date that you have created - perhaps a Project Start Date - or, if your Forecast is built on Products, this can be a custom Product Line Item Date field that you have created.
Choose the “value” field to use for your Forecast. Opportunity Value is the default for an Opportunity Forecast but you can select a different field to use - this could be a Value (currency) field but could also be a Count (or sum) based on a numeric field - for example, Opportunity Count or Quantity if forecasting Products. Choose from any system or user-defined dropdown, number or currency fields to use for your forecast value ⤵
Additional System Forecast Field Selection Possibilities
Days in Sales Step — will base your projections on what would happen if the number of days an opportunity stays in a sales step changes.
Due in Sales Step — will base the projection on how close opportunities are to reaching the date in which they should typically be moved from one step to the next or if those opportunities are past the date they were expected to be moved to the next step.
The number of related completed activities — how many activities are you projecting should be completed compared with how many were completed.
Number of related deferred activities
Number of related in progress activities
Number of related not started activities
Number of related overdue activities
Number of related waiting activities
Opportunity base value
Potential Size of Opportunity
Product difference (count)
Custom dropdown fields that you have created ⤵
Next, confirm which pipeline contains the Opportunities to be included in your Forecast ⤵
Adding a Filter to your Forecast
Finally, decide if you want to apply a filter to the records that will be included in the Forecast. You may, for example, want to limit this Forecast to just Opportunities linked to Prospects rather than existing Customers ⤵
NOTE: you cannot change the filter criteria once you’ve created the Forecast and if users select the Forecast to populate their Target Goal in the pipeline view, the Forecast Target overrides their Profile filters.
Working with Hierarchies in your Forecast
Using a hierarchy allows you to plan your Forecasts to roll up from one type of record to another - for example, individual Users to a Sales unit (team) or from certain Accounts to a User or from Users to Products. You can use up to 5 levels in a hierarchy - one level for each type of record - Users, Sales Units, Products, Product Categories or Accounts.
NOTE: the bottom level is the most important and is where the key values live - both Forecast values and for Quota settings.
NOTE: You can opt for a flat structure - for example, selecting just Users or just Products.
Choose your Hierarchy settings. This example shows Sales Units>Users. First select Sales Units and then Users in “Hierarchy is made up of” and then Define Forecast Hierarchy in the preview panel on the right hand side.
Choose which Sales Units should be used in your Forecast ⤵
When you’ve chosen the Sales Units, click out of the list and click on the green tick to apply ⤵
Next, underneath each Sales Unit, select the relevant Users ⤵
Again, click out of the list and select the green tick to apply your selections ⤵
If your sales unit structure has multiple levels, you’ll be able to add additional sub-units underneath the Sales Units you have selected before adding Users ⤵
Your final hierarchy will look something like this ⤵
Here’s another example that you could use for Key Account Planning. This is a Forecast of Products by selected Accounts. Once you’ve selected the Accounts to use, you can copy them to all the Products you have chosen to include ⤵
This way, you don’t have to keep re-selecting them in each branch of your Forecast ⤵
Creating a Quota
Now you can choose if you also want to include Quota values in your report. Click on the Quota tab ⤵
If you have set up a Forecast hierarchy with more than one level, you’ll fill in the assigned Quote values at the bottom level and the values will then roll up to higher levels in your hierarchy ⤵
If you want to start with a total Quota value and then split it between your users/sales units etc, click on “Split Total Quota” and enter the Expected Sales Quota for the users (or sales units, products etc), pipeline(s) and period that you choose in your forecast settings.
Now you need to decide how to split the Expected Sales Quota between your users (or sales users). You can split “Evenly” - this will divide the Expected Sales Quota evenly between all selected users (or sales units) - or split “By Historical Performance” which will divide the quota based on the past sales performance of each user (or unit, product or category). ⤵
NOTE: Alternatively you can manually enter a Planned Quota value for each user or unit.
Next, you can select individual users, units etc to refine the quota. You can update the quota for the selected items by Increasing or Decreasing by a % amount ⤵
Click on Quota Planning to spread the Quota values over your date period - choose from “Split Evenly” or “Split by Performance” ⤵
Performance Comparison lets you review the previous performance of the user, unit etc based on “Previous Period”, “Avg Performance” or the “Weighted Avg. Performance”. The value associated with your selection then displays in the performance column next to Planned Quota for each user, unit etc. ⤵
Previous Period - total value of Won opportunities for the user or unit for the previous period (for example, last year if your selected period covers this year or if your period is “This Quarter”, the previous period will be “Last Quarter”)
Avg Performance - this is the average value of Won opportunities for the user or unit for previous periods of the same length. So if your current period is 01/2022 to 12/22 and there are opportunities in Pipeliner dating from 01/2019, the calculation will sum values from 01/2020 to 12/2020 and from 01/2019 to 12/2019 (it will include only previous periods of equal length to your current period) and will then calculate the average of the 2 years for the same dates.
Weighted Avg. Performance - this is the weighted average value of Won opportunities for the user or unit for previous periods of the same length (like Avg Performance) where the most recent period has the most weight.
If you’re interested in the actual calculation used, it’s:
For n periods the weight of the most recent period is n / m; weight of the oldest period is 1 / m :
Where m = n * (n + 1) / 2
For 5 periods, the most recent period have weight of 5 / 15, the oldest period have weight 1 / 15
NOTE: alternatively you can manually enter a Planned Quota value for each user or unit.
The green and red arrows indicate an increase or decrease in the Planned Quota for each user or unit.
The scale icon beside the Planned Quota indicates that the current selection is “Split Evenly” as opposed to the line icon which indicates “Split by Performance” is being used ⤵
Click on the scale or line icon to Customize Quota Planning for the user or unit ⤵
You can now update, or confirm, the Planned Quota for each period that you selected originally - for example, each quarter of this year - for the selected user, unit etc.
As you make changes, the Total Planned Quota value will keep updating so you can compare it to the Planned Quota and make sure the values are the same ⤵
Once you’ve finished updating the quota for that user or sales unit, click on Save and then move onto the next, as necessary.
The “person with cog” icon will display for any user/unit where you have chosen “Custom” as your quota option. You can delete any user/unit/product from your quota using the bin icon ⤵
Once you’ve finished, click on “Create” to create your Forecast ⤵
Fields displayed in the Forecast
Forecast Value - this field is editable, select a period from the dropdown and then click into the Forecast Value field to enter the committed values for a period. The values you enter will roll up throughout the Forecast. ⤵
Quota - this is populated based on the Quota configuration you enter when creating the Forecast. Fields in your Forecast such as Open Value vs Quota will only be created if you enter Quota values.
Prediction - Pipeliner will make a prediction for Won value based on Won values from previous periods. Pipeliner takes the Won value from all previous periods for the particular record and use the ARIMA method to predict future outcomes based on the historical time series https://www.investopedia.com/terms/a/autoregressive-integrated-moving-average-arima.asp
The other fields in the Forecast compare data from Opportunities (that meet your filter criteria) and aggregate and compare those values to your Forecast and Quota. Each of these fields is clickable and can be viewed in the Drill down.
Forecasting using Products and Product Categories
When creating a Forecast based on Products or Product Categories, you’ll be able to select different fields as your Forecast Field. You’ll usually select either “Amount” (value of that Product/Product Category as included in Opportunities) or “Quantity” (total quantity of that Product/Product Category as included in Opportunities).
You can also add Quota values as usual. ⤵
Once you’ve created your Forecast, update Forecast values directly by individual date period ⤵
Updating your Forecast
Click on the “Settings” button to open up the Forecast Settings. ⤵
On the Forecast tab, you can choose the columns to include in your Forecast View. ⤵
The “Add” button lets you select additional fields ⤵
If you choose a Value Comparison, your added field will display as a percentage comparison ⤵
NOTE: To remove an existing column, you can hover over it and then click the X
You have the option to choose to group Values by selecting from a list of dropdown type fields and, finally, you can “hide rows with empty values”. Click on Save to apply your changes.
Using the real time Drill down
The Drill down tab lets you customise the options for the way data displays in the drill down panel that appears when you click into one of the numerical fields in your Forecast that is directly derived from data in Pipeliner - for example, the Won Value column.
The List tab within Drop down allows you to choose which columns should appear when using the List View to drill down into the underlying Opportunity data ⤵
NOTE: the List View is fully actionable - for example, you can update the displayed/selected Opportunities directly using “Owner” or “Bulk Update”, add a new Opportunity by clicking on the “Create New” button and even run Automatizer processes or enroll selected records into Email Sequences.
You can set your default Sort By value in the List tab or click on a column header directly in the List View. Use the inline editing capability to directly update Opportunities ⤵
The Chart tab within Drill down lets you select what sort of sum value to apply to the chart that is displayed when selecting the Chart View to display the underlying data ⤵
Choose from “Sum” which displays the data for your chosen period ⤵
or “Running Sum” which aggregates data over time (see this Wiki for more details:Running total - Wikipedia) ⤵
The Pipeline tab within Drill down lets you choose view options for the underlying Opportunity data when displayed in the Pipeline View ⤵
You could, for example, switch on Fitness to see the possible impact on the deals in your Forecast ⤵
Add additional Filter criteria using the Filter tab ⤵
NOTE: any additional filter criteria that you choose are subordinate to the main filter option if you selected one when creating your Forecast.
Clicking on the main “Edit” button allows you to make some basic changes to the Forecast Data you first entered - for example, changing your selected units, users or products - and to update your Quota values. ⤵
Adding Forecast Values
Once you’ve decided on the columns you want to include in the report, added any grouping and set the right order, you can enter the Forecast for each user (or unit) for each period in your report. First click into the Period field and choose the period you want to edit ⤵
Click into the Forecast field and type the forecast value straight into the field. Click the tick icon to save the value and move to the next field ⤵
Once you’ve completed the forecast values, the calculated fields - for example, Won vs Forecast - will be updated ⤵
If you have enabled grouping for Won values, click on the chevrons icon to view each column expanded by your selected field - e.g. Ranking ⤵
Select each period to review the values using your selected drill down options ⤵
Sharing Your Forecast
Once you create a Forecast, no one else can see it unless you share it with them. Click on"Settings". Select the drop-down next to private and select the "Custom" to share it with specific Pipeliner users on your team, or Public to share the Report with all Pipeliner users ⤵
Using Quotas in Target Settings in the Pipeline
Once Forecasts are created and Quotas set for individuals or Sales Units, the Quota amounts can be used directly in the Target Settings in the Opportunity Pipeline view.
Target Definition and Target Goal
Target definition shows when at least one Forecast has been created. The available options then are:
Custom - select a custom value by manually typing in your Target Goal amount for this specific Profile of Opportunities
Specific forecast - select from available Forecasts and automatically populate the Target Goal based on the Quota values from the Forecast you select
If the selected Forecast includes you as a User, the Target Goal will be automatically populated with your Quota amount from that Forecast ⤵
If you are not a User in the Forecast, the Target Goal will be automatically populated with the Total Quota value from the Forecast ⤵
NOTE: It’s important to remember that if you have added an Opportunity Filter to the Forecast when you created it and you select that Forecast in your Target Settings, then all Opportunities will be filtered based on your Forecast Filter and, if your selected Profile has additional filter criteria, these will be used only as a sub-filter.