You wouldn’t have pulled this book off the shelf if you didn’t need to forecast sales. And I’m sure that you’re not Nostradamus. Your office isn’t filled with the smell of incense and it’s not your job to predict the date that the world will come to an end.
But someone — perhaps you — wants you to forecast sales, and you find out how to do that here, using the best general-purpose analysis program around, Microsoft Excel.
This book concentrates on using numbers to forecast sales. If you’re a salesperson, or a sales manager, or someone yet higher up the org chart, you’ve run into forecasts that are based not on numbers but on guesses, sales quotas, wishful thinking, and Scotch.
I get away from that kind of thing here. I use numbers instead. Fortunately, you don’t need to be a math major to use Excel for your forecasting. Excel has a passel of tools that will do it on your behalf. Some of them are even easy to use, as you’ll see.
That said, it’s not all about numbers. You still need to understand your products, your company, and your market before you can make a sensible sales forecast, and I have to trust you on that. I hope I can. I think I can. Otherwise, start with Part 1, which talks about the context for a forecast.
You can hop around the chapters in this book, as you can in all books that feature the guy with a pool ball rack for a head. There are three basic approaches to forecasting with numbers — moving averages, smoothing, and regression ...