Having worked with SAP Hybris Cloud for Customer (C4C) since its first release in February of 2013, I have seen over the years a number of sales implementation where customers’ requirements vary relating to how they forecast their pipeline. Depending on what type of customer and industry, the forecasting process could something different and how they execute their forecasting process In other words, a customer could call their forecasting process in which opportunities are submitted and tracked to a sales or product forecast. On the other hand, another customer may refer to forecasting as an activity that needs to be managed after the sale, or when an opportunity has been Won.
In either case, we are dealing with semantics of what a process is called. The intent of this blog is to inform you of C4C capabilities that can help in meeting your business requirements. on the other hand looks at process a post-sale activity in terms of revenue scheduling. In order to frame up the business process and C4C capabilities, I will structure the forecasting process into two distinct areas: Pre-Sales Forecasting & Sales Planning and Post Sales Revenue Scheduling.
Presales (Sales Planning & Forecasting)
Selling organizations seek to improve their sales performance in a number of ways. First, organizations may already have account or product planning process in which they set quarterly or annual sales targets, known in some worlds as sales budgets. Once sales targets or budgets are defined, then targets/budgets are generally frozen. In C4C, there is standard functionality that supports the sales target planning process. As a matter of process, the sales target planning in C4C follows a top down planning process where sales targets are created by sales managers high up in the sales organizations. Once targets are created, they are cascaded down to child level sales units.
The second part of the presales process is actually forecasting the opportunity during its lifecycle. The sales units and reps will submit their forecast for approval for their managers .This process involves a sales rep committing their opportunities to forecast in which he or she thinks the opportunity will close. This is process is bottoms up approach in which sales rep owing opportunities can create a forecast, or multiple versions. Currently this is just supported for the organizational hierarchy. A forecast will consist of all the reps opportunities where they have chosen to publish or commit this opportunity to their forecast. Once forecasts are created, sales rep can sync their opportunities, in the case where the expected values have changed, add, or delete from a version of their forecast.
Also, keep in mind that both the sales targeting and forecasting during the opportunity lifecycle are excel based. The standard measure for sales performance in this process is measure the variance b/n what sales reps forecasts and their actual closed opportunities. Combining this process with sales target planning, the business will have better insight into how their forecasted opportunity fall in line with sales targets, as well as actual wins.
There is a great deal analytical insight readily available to users, such as home screen score card tiles, interactive dashboards, and standard reports.(If new to C4C analytics, See Pooja’s article). Some examples of the key reports that should be utilized are the following:
- Sales Target Vs. Pipeline: simple report of 3 Key Measures that include Target, Expected Revenue, and Weighted Revenue
- Forecast Report: Includes Forecast revenue from Published Opportunities, Target Revenue, Won, Revenue, and Relevant Pipeline minus Forecast.
Post-Sales (Revenue Scheduling)
In most cases, when an opportunity is won, then the C4C opportunity business document provides a create mechanism to support forecasts in a different way. In C4C, standard revenue scheduling capabilities provide a streamlined process for organizations seeking to track existing business and determine magnitude of demand for products and services. For example, a deal is won, sales leaders seek greater insight as to when their products and services would be consumed. This helps in circumstances when not all business is going to shipped and billed on an opportunity close date. Therefore, if a company has the requirement for revenue scheduling then the Revenue Start Dates and Revenue End Dates in C4C opportunity will need to utilize as part of this forecasting process. This will serve the sales performance processes by helping sales leader’s predictability meet their monthly, quarterly, or yearly sales budgets. Alternatively, this process will aid in any integrated business planning that will need forward looking demand to include in the company’s product planning process.
If considering the use of revenue scheduling, there is flexibility in using revenue scheduling. It can be done at the header or on the line item level. In both cases, a user will have to support keying in the either monthly, quarterly, or yearly forecasts dollars into the revenue schedule.
For clients that use this type of forecasting, then additional efforts should be accounted in developing the necessary analytics. Unlike the presales forecasting process, there are not out of the box home screen scorecards, interactive dashboards, or standard reports. A business analyst will need to create the necessary key figures that meet their requirements, build the reports, create the scorecard tiles, and then configure an interactive dashboard. In order to do this the analyst will need to either use, combine, or join the below data sources for the revenue scheduling.
Finally, many companies are using a combination of these capabilities to improve their sales performance. It can also help your company, just by understanding which capabilities your companies desires and which C4C functions and their what they are called will help start your journey.
If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out.
SAP Digital Business Services.