Determine Your Forecasting Strategy

Learning Objectives 

After completing this unit, you’ll be able to:

  • List some business requirements that Advanced Account Forecasting can address.
  • Select the correct forecast framework for your org.
  • Add fields to the Advanced Account Forecast Fact object.

New and Improved Forecasts

Before Cindy starts configuring the Advanced Account Forecasting feature, she wants to collect detailed business requirements from all stakeholders. Here’s what she finds out.

  • Forecast sets: Badger Parts wants to create two sets of forecast configurations, one for each business unit. Why? The forecast parameters for the units are radically different. With separate forecasts, managers can focus on relevant data for their accounts. And Cindy can manage configuration updates for one unit without impacting the data for the other unit.

  • Forecast dimensions: The consumer business unit needs forecast data for each channel aggregated by product category and ship-from location. The industrial business unit requires granularity at a deeper level. It needs forecast data for each account aggregated by product and ship-from location.

  • Period groups: Both units require monthly forecasts. The industrial unit wants to see 18 months of forecast at any given point starting from the current period. The consumer unit wants to look at 12 months of forecast data at any point in time.

  • Forecast facts: Apart from the usual data from orders, opportunities, and sales agreements, Badger Parts wants to view Total Discounts Offered in the forecast display. Cindy can either use the default Advanced Account Forecast Fact object or create a custom object. Along with the custom dimensions, Cindy must also add custom measures to the facts object.

  • Field mappings: For the consumer business unit, regional managers don’t track forecasts at the account level. They track forecasts at the channel level, such as Online Sales and Partner-Based Sales. The account metric for forecasts must be mapped as a channel for this unit.

  • Forecast processes: Forecasts must be generated at different schedules for each unit. Also, the calculation frequency for both units must be monthly, but the rollover frequency should be quarterly. Lastly, forecasts for both units must be recalculated when there are changes to any of the underlying measures.

  • Forecast measures: Some measures such as forecasted revenue and forecasted quantity are calculated with formulas. The underlying measures such as opportunity quantity, sales agreement revenue, or last year’s order quantity must be computed through Data Processing Engine definitions so that the data is transformed as per business needs. Also, there should be an option to enable adjustment tracking for certain fields.

  • Adjustment process orchestration: The sales team wants to create a consensus-based forecast. For the first five days of each month, partners can add their adjustment numbers; for the next 5 days, account managers can make their adjustments; and for the next two days, only regional managers can edit forecasts. All stakeholders collaborating on an account need the ability to track changes and review the underlying assumptions.

  • Forecast formula: Forecast formulas for both units must get dynamically updated if there are underlying changes to the data used in the formula fields. Data Processing Engine (DPE) definitions must be used for batch calculations. Examples include calculating the total opportunity revenue by excluding opportunities that aren’t closed, or processing forecast rollover for all accounts at the start of a month. The forecast formulas calculate forecast values in real-time after the changes from DPE calculations are applied.

  • Forecast list views: Each account manager wants to organize forecast analysis for accounts they want to focus on. For example, Elliott Drake, a regional sales manager for the AMER region, wants to see a list of account forecasts for his entire team. And Zac Mehmood, an account manager handling the partner channel accounts for the consumer unit, wants to concentrate only on accounts in the Partner-Based Sales channel.

A graphic showing the building blocks of an Advanced Account Forecasting model, with forecast facts, forecast sets, period groups, dimensions, and more.

Sounds like a plan! Cindy didn't anticipate so many configuration requirements. She hopes the new forecast framework is cut out for such sophisticated customizations. With this hope, she gets started with the configurations.

To Migrate or Not to Migrate?

Before Cindy proceeds, Badger Parts must decide whether to move ahead with its existing account forecasting framework or migrate to advanced account forecasting. It depends on how the company answers this question: “Does the current forecast framework meet all the business requirements?” If the company requires multi-enterprise forecast configurations with sophisticated calculations, it probably wants to migrate. 

The other option is to continue with both Account Forecasting and Advanced Account Forecasting for separate business units. Advanced Account Forecasting comes with a default forecast set that admins can configure to model on the account forecast framework. If an admin creates a Product dimension and doesn’t require additional forecast measures or DPE definitions to alter the calculations, they can go ahead with a simple account forecast.

We recommend that companies use Advanced Account Forecasting because it’s a step up from Account Forecasting and can be configured with complete flexibility.

Get Your Facts In

The advanced account forecasts are special recipes that have many ingredients in them. The combination of ingredients can vary based on who’s cooking! The facts table for a particular forecast set is the ingredients list that drives the forecast. All dimensions and measures that must be part of a forecast can be added to the Advanced Account Forecast Fact object as fields. The combination of these fields can be different for each forecast set. With each forecast calculation, the values in the fields are updated based on the parameters you define in a forecast set.

Cindy has an option to either use the default Advanced Account Forecast Fact object or create a custom object that can be modeled for the facts table. Cindy wants to use the default object for now. 

A custom forecast fact object is helpful when you’re trying to import your business logic from an external system into the Salesforce application. If you create a custom object to store forecast fact records, here are a few things to keep in mind.

  • You can’t add Period as a lookup field. Use a text type field to populate the name of a period.
  • Account ID is a required field that maps the forecast record to an account.
  • You must add at least one field that defines a forecast dimension. This can be Product, Product Category, Location, Territory, or any other field.
  • Forecasted Quantity and Forecasted Revenue are required fields.

Cindy must create two facts table records, one for each business unit.

She takes a quick tour of Object Manager to understand the fields that exist in the Advanced Account Forecast Fact object. Then creates the fact table records. She can create the other fields as required.

  1. Click Setup, and select Setup.
  2. In Object Manager, select Advanced Account Forecast Fact.
  3. In the Fields and Relationships section, Cindy can see all the fields typically used for forecasts derived from Orders, Opportunities, and Sales Agreements. Here are the ones she wants to use.

    Field Data Type
    Account
    Lookup
    Period
    Lookup
    Advanced Account Forecast Set Partner
    Lookup
    Forecasted Quantity
    Number
    Forecasted Revenue
    Currency
    Last Year Order Quantity
    Number
    Last Year Order Revenue
    Currency
    Opportunity Quantity
    Number
    Opportunity Revenue
    Currency
    Sales Agreement Planned Quantity
    Number
    Sales Agreement Planned Revenue
    Currency

  4. She also wants to add a few fields to the object. She clicks New and defines the following new fields.

    Field Data Type
    Channel
    Lookup
    Product
    Lookup
    Product Category
    Lookup
    Ship-From Location
    Lookup
    Total Discount Offered
    Number
    Partner Adjusted Forecast Revenue
    Currency
    Account Manager Adjusted Forecast Revenue
    Currency

    Regional Manager Adjusted Forecast Revenue

    Currency

She creates the Total Discount Offered field to display the total discount for a product offered through sales agreements, orders, and opportunities. The final forecasted revenue is calculated after adjusting the discount value from the total revenue.

An Advanced Account Forecast Fact record page showing the predefined and custom fields.

Cindy has laid the groundwork for forecast sets. All that’s left is to create two sets for the two business units. Ready to follow along with her?

Keep learning for
free!
Sign up for an account to continue.
What’s in it for you?
  • Get personalized recommendations for your career goals
  • Practice your skills with hands-on challenges and quizzes
  • Track and share your progress with employers
  • Connect to mentorship and career opportunities