The Fallacy of Funnels & Forecasts

If there is one mainstay in virtually every sales office, it would have to be funnels & forecasts. Sales managers swear by them; however, I’ve found that they frequently do more harm than good.

Funnels seem like a good idea in theory. The problem with funnels, however, is that they practically scream “micromanagement.” Funnel reviews strike terror in the hearts of salespeople. They scream the words “probation” and “performance improvement plan.” Sales managers who wish to succeed need to learn some basic psychology, especially the principle of autosuggestion. Doing so will make it very clear as to why the very sound of the word funnel instantly changes salespeople’s attitudes from positive to negative and has very bad effects on sales performance.

Forecasts also make sense in theory. After all, accurate forecasting is a necessity for good business planning. The key word, however, is accurate. If you believe that an accurate sales forecast has ever existed then I’ve got a nice bridge for sale just for you. Salespeople simply do not submit accurate forecasts. Most salespeople grossly overestimate their forecasts in order to appease their managers. After all, would you, as a salesperson, want to face the wrath of submitting a forecast that falls short of expectations? This is why dead deals and phony deals tend to outnumber the real ones on forecasts. On the other side of the coin, some salespeople underestimate forecasts simply because they don’t want a manager asking, “When is this one going to sign? When is that one going to sign?” An overbearing manager simply isn’t worth dealing with so they leave good deals off the forecast.

The other huge problem with funnels & forecasts is that they force salespeople to manage their activity on a month-to-month basis. This results in the horrendous practice of slacking off at the beginning of every month, then working overtime at the end of the month trying to get enough deals signed to make quota. It just doesn’t work in the real world. Successful top producers work in the present, not in terms of “it’s the beginning of the month” or “it’s the end of the month.” Top producers are consistent because today is neither the beginning nor the end of the month. Today is today, and that means doing the same thing today that they do every day to get the results they achieve.

Forget about funnels & forecasts. Manage with common sense instead and watch your sales results skyrocket.

Frank Rumbauskas is the author of Cold Calling Is A Waste Of Time: Sales Success In The Information Age. He is the founder of FJR Advisors, LLC, which publishes training materials that educate salespeople on how to generate business without cold calling. For more information, please visit

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