As the competition in markets for products and services continue to become more intense, it is imperative for organizations to improve their attempts to plan for the future (Smith & McIntyre, 1994). One of the tools that organizations use to plan for their futures is the sales forecast.
Sales forecasts have become a key component of most firms' marketing planning process since the 1960s (Morrison, 1996). Recent developments in software and other technologies have improved the accuracy of many of the sales forecasting approaches available to companies today (Chase, 1996).
This non-empirical paper will look at past research as it applies to the roles of salespeople in the development of sales forecasting models that are used by organizations. A review of the role of the salesperson in the marketing mix will be followed by a clarification of the definition of sales forecasting. A review of sales forecasting models will examine the wide variety of approaches being used by organizations today to predict their sales levels.
The role of salespeople in the forecasting process will be considered. Next, recommendations will be made concerning the use of salespeople in the forecasting process. Finally, limitations of the paper and recommendations for further research will be made.
Salespeople are the front line of marketing in their organizations. They are the individuals who meet with customers on a daily basis. Salespeople often are the face of the company to purchasing agents and consumers (Marks, 1996).
So what is the role of the salesperson, if any, in the sales forecasting process? The answers vary depending upon a number of factors and perspectives. Before attempting to answer that question, the next section will define sales forecasting. After defining forecasting, an examination of different approaches to the sales forecasting procedure will be made.