Sales forecasting is how a company predicts how much of a product or service it will sell to help it estimate its future revenue and set attainable production goals. If you’re interested in getting a job that involves sales forecasting, a hiring manager might ask you about the process in an interview. Learning what questions they might ask you and how to answer them can help you make a stronger impression in your interview and increase your chances of getting hired.
In this article, we list eight questions about sales forecasting a hiring manager might ask you during an interview, along with sample answers for you to reference to help you form your responses.
Sales forecasting interview questions with sample answers
If you’re interviewing for a job in a sales-related field, it’s helpful to know about sales forecasting. Here are eight interview questions an employer might ask you to gauge your knowledge and expertise in sales forecasting:
1. Can you tell me what sales forecasting is and what it involves?
This is a general question a hiring manager may ask to start an interview. It gives them a chance to see what basic knowledge you have about the topic, so this can be an excellent chance for you to make a positive first impression. Try to be clear and direct when you answer, so the interviewer knows you have a good grasp on the term and are qualified to perform these duties professionally.
Example: “Sales forecasting involves various approaches to determining what will happen in the future. You can make these forecasts conditional and base them on cause and effect, such as, ‘If A happens, then B likely will follow.’ You also can base them on an analysis of a current action continuing in a similar pattern for a specific period.
For instance, if a company currently sells $5,000 worth of products per month and we expect them to continue that pace, we can forecast how much they might make in a year. Sales forecasting involves judgment, estimation and statistics. Past sales data, comparisons of similar companies or an entire industry and economic trends all can help determine sales forecasts.”
2. Why do you think that sales forecasting is important?
This question tests your knowledge about the significance of sales forecasting. Interviewers may ask this question to learn how you approach the topic and what you think are its most important aspects. When you answer this question, try to ensure the interviewer can see your enthusiasm for the field and for the specific job you’re hoping to get. You also can consider using an anecdote of a time sales forecasting helped you in your career to give more context to why you think it’s important.
Example: “I believe sales forecasting isn’t just about predicting the future, but it’s also about learning what to do to be more productive in the present to help achieve desired results in the future. Sales forecasting is important because having accurate forecasts can help a company make more informed decisions that can affect it overall. With accurate sales predictions, a business can recognize and address potential issues before they develop or get worse.
Sales forecasts also can motivate your team to meet sales goals and to plan their productivity and business decisions accordingly. In my past work as a sales manager, projected increases in revenue always made my staff work hard to meet their quotas, and it was extremely rewarding for them when they did.”
3. What challenges have you encountered in your sales forecasting?
With this question, the interviewer is asking you to show how you managed a past difficulty by taking proactive steps that led to positive outcomes. Your answer can help them learn about your problem-solving and critical-thinking skills, which can be important traits for a sales forecaster. Try to focus your answer on how you overcame obstacles and what you learned from the experience.
Example: “I worked at a company several years ago where the staff wasn’t collaborative. The sales, finance, marketing and product teams often were separate, and communication among the departments was weak. This led to inaccurate sales forecasts because each department didn’t report its quotas and numbers efficiently to the other departments. We fixed this by increasing communication and collaboration. The company implemented shared documents and spreadsheets throughout the organization and focused on sales numbers as an entire organization, rather than each department on its own. The next quarter, our sales forecasts were 98% accurate.”
4. How do you try to ensure a more accurate sales forecast?
The interviewer is interested in how accurate your sales forecasting is because that shows your skill level at the job. With this question, they’re also trying to learn about your particular methods and approach to forecasting. Try to be as specific as possible in your answer and demonstrate that you have a strong understanding of what contributes to accurate forecasts.
Example: “To increase my accuracy, I combine a variety of methods and sources before making my predictions. First, I speak with my team about their specific goals for the forecast period to see whether this supports the outcomes I expected. I try to gauge whether their planned activities can support an increase in revenue. I then use opportunity stage forecasting to see what deals we have in negotiations already and when we expect them to close. I balance that with our past sales data and multi-variable analysis, during which I consider as many sales and productivity factors as I can evaluate.”
5. Can you describe a time when you made a prediction that increased sales?
If an interviewer asks you this question, they’re likely trying to see how much experience you have at sales forecasting, and they want to know whether you have the skills to predict sales accurately. Consider providing specific examples of when you made valuable conclusions from your sales data and research that led to more efficiency.
Example: “In my career, I’ve found the power of suggestion is an inspirational tool. There have been several times when I’ve analyzed data from past numbers and evaluated trends in our industry. I did my research and studied the metrics, and I concluded my company could expect our revenue to increase by 30% the following year. After that, we made relevant business decisions to allocate our resources and staff to ensure this projection became a reality. No one questioned the sales forecasts I came up with, and instead, my team worked extremely hard to make it happen. We ended up increasing sales by 37%.”
6. Can you tell me two or three things you’ve considered when forecasting sales in your previous jobs and why?
This is another question to test your knowledge and experience in sales forecasting. The interviewer likely wants to see whether you’re aware of the many factors that go into sales forecasting and how you may have applied that knowledge to your professional experience. Try to give them general answers to the question and then be more specific about your scenarios.
Example: “I think one thing that gets overlooked in sales forecasting is seasonality. When predicting revenue, I always remind myself sales aren’t constant. Many factors can cause revenue to spike or fall, such as the holidays, weather and product availability at certain times of the year. I once worked for a company that released a new product every September, which boosted sales in the weeks that followed. When making predictions, it’s important to account for those variables.
Another factor I like to consider is marketing. Ads and social media posts can affect sales, and you should account for those in sales forecasting. At my previous company, sales increased significantly after every new marketing campaign we launched, and we always tried to estimate the results. We also deducted the expenses related to this marketing from our expected sales numbers. It’s important to incorporate that data into sales forecasting, even if the timing and cost of your marketing strategies vary.”
7. What do you enjoy most about sales forecasting?
It’s common for employers to ask what you enjoy about a particular job or duty, and they do this to gauge your level of interest in the field and the particular position they’re hiring for at their company. Employers often prefer to hire someone excited about working for them and wants to do the job because those candidates may perform better. Try to speak with enthusiasm about your interest in the position and talk about the company directly, if possible. This also is a great opportunity to include some of your relevant skills.
Example: “I enjoy sales forecasting because I have an inquisitive nature and like gathering information to find a solution to a problem or a question. I find it interesting to review past sales quotas, market trends and other variables to come up with a prediction that can help a business function and remain profitable. I would love to be a part of the team at your company to work together toward that goal.”
8. What skills make you good at sales forecasting?
Interviewers ask this question to see how confident you are in your abilities and what you consider to be your strengths. This question is another opportunity for you to focus on your skills and qualifications to show the employer why they should hire you. Try to focus on what skills you could offer, along with any relevant experience that supports your statements.
Example: “I’ve worked as a business manager for the past 15 years, which gives me the sound business sense I need to be successful at sales forecasting. I understand how businesses function, and I’m familiar with the business climate. I know what factors influence a company’s ability to improve performance and increase revenue, and sales forecasting relates to those business concerns. Knowing why forecasting matters to a company, what their particular business goals are and how they hope to achieve them helps make me a better sales forecaster.”
I hope you find this article helpful.