This article is part of a larger series on Sales Management.
There are a variety of free sales forecast templates available for Excel and Google spreadsheets and through customer relationship management software. These tools can help you create projections that can then be used for goal setting, performance measurement, budgeting, projecting growth, obtaining financing, attracting investors, and more. To save you time, we’ve compiled several different free sales forecast templates below:
Simple Sales Forecast Template
Our free simple sales forecast template can help you get started with sales estimates to help plan and grow your business. This multi-year projection sheet, which can be modified in either Google Sheets or Excel, can generate revenue estimates based on units sold, pipeline growth percentages, lead conversion rates, and your product pricing to provide you an overview of where your business can get to sales-wise in the next few years.
Long-term Sales Forecast Template
Part of creating a sales plan is forecasting long-term revenue goals and sales projections, and then laying out the strategies and tactics you’ll use to hit your performance goals. Long-term sales forecast templates usually provide three- to five-year projections. These templates are accessible for both Excel and Google Sheets.
Long-term sales forecast templates are best for businesses looking to scale that want insights about how much working capital they can expect to have access to tap for growth initiatives. These types of forecasts are also often required when applying for commercial loans, or obtaining through other channels such as outside investors or crowdfunding.
Budget Sales Forecast Template
A budget sales forecast template shows expense estimates in relation to revenue to calculate how much you will be able to spend during a specified period of time. Budget templates allow you to enter income projections and available cash to indicate your spending capabilities for that period of time.
This type of template is best for new and growing businesses trying to figure out their future available expenditures. Additionally, businesses that are interested in making a large asset purchase, such as a company vehicle, piece of equipment, or commercial real estate, can use this template to see how much of the asset can be self-financed.
Month-to-Month Sales Forecast Template
The month-to-month (or monthly) sales forecast template shows sales projections for a year divided into monthly increments. This type of template makes it easier to estimate what incoming revenue will be because you can break down your pricing model, such as average number units sold, on a monthly rather than annual basis.
This template is best for seasonal businesses that experience significant revenue fluctuations in some months compared to others. It’s also appropriate for businesses that want to be able to view rolling 12-month projections as a key performance indicator (KPI) or to project one-year sales estimates prior to implementing major campaigns or initiatives, such as a growth strategy.
Individual Product Sales Forecast Template
An individual product sales forecast template can be used by businesses that sell one product or service or for projecting sales of a new (or any single) product or service. This forecast indicates how you expect the product to perform based on units sold and price per unit on a monthly basis.
An individual product forecast template benefits businesses that sell a product either through a storefront or ecommerce medium. It can also help current businesses that are adding a new product to their arsenal and would like to estimate sales exclusively for that product, or which need to track individual performance for the most popular or most profitable products.
Multi-product Sales Forecast Template
This template can be used to generate sales projections for a business that sells multiple products. Through this type of template, you can compare the estimated performance of distinct products by tracking the units sold and price per unit of each, which will in turn yield a total sales revenue estimate.
The multi-product sales forecast template is best for retail or wholesale businesses selling a variety of products. It can also be used to project revenue of multiple product categories, where each “Item” represents a category rather than an individual product, and price per unit is calculated in aggregate.
Retail Sales Forecast Template
A retail sales forecast template projects revenue for brick-and-mortar stores since it includes data related to foot traffic. The retail sales template calculates projected revenue by year based on foot traffic, the percentage of foot traffic that enters the store, and the percent of those who convert (make a purchase). Since it has a field for “other revenue,” it can be used by retail stores that also sell online.
While this template is mostly designed for brick-and-mortar retail businesses, combination ecommerce and brick-and-mortar businesses as well as ecommerce operations can also use this forecast template. The estimated customers passing data field can be replaced with website traffic to convert this Excel sheet into an ecommerce forecasting template.
Subscription-based Sales Forecast Template
Businesses that rely on recurring revenue from sign-ups or contract renewals should use the subscription-based sales forecast template. Enter data into the visitors and signups fields to show the visitor-to-sign-up conversion rate, and then enter the number of new customers to show the percent of sign-ups that convert to paying customers.
This template also helps you track customer churn. It calculates churn rate based on the number of paying customers at the end of the period compared to the number at the beginning of the period plus the number of new customers added. Knowing your churn rate is important, since a high or increasing rate of customer turnover could indicate problems with your organization or its products or services.
The fields of this template can be altered for use by contract renewal businesses like insurance agencies, information technology (IT) companies, and payroll processors. For example, visitors can be replaced with “leads” and sign-ups can be replaced with “presentations,” “free trials,” or “demos.” Then change customer churn to “non-renewed contracts” and you’ll be able to estimate new and recurring business revenue year-to-year.
B2B Lead Sales Forecast Template
A business-to-business (B2B) lead forecast template is used to estimate sales revenue from current deal opportunities in the sales pipeline in the form of business leads. Businesses can use estimated deal values and the percent chance of closing those deals to obtain a sales forecast.
This template is best for B2B organizations, aka businesses selling to other businesses or organizations, rather than business-to-consumer (B2C). It can also be used for direct sales prospecting activities and for businesses that submit business proposals in response to solicitation requests.
CRMs With Built-in Sales Forecasting
While spreadsheet-based templates are easy to modify, customer relationship management (CRM) software generally offers more robust tools for managing revenue opportunities that can be converted into sales forecasts. In addition, CRMs, like HubSpot CRM, can instantly create revenue projections or automatically produce these reports for you on a monthly or quarterly basis at no additional cost, saving you time and helping your business stay on track.
Because CRM software is primarily used to organize contact and sales opportunity information, it can be a valuable tool for providing sales forecasts on premade charts through the data collected in the system. Pipedrive, for instance, can take information such as potential deal value and probability of closing for a lead or opportunity to provide sales forecast estimates in highly customizable templates.
Zoho CRM also provides sales forecasting through integration of the CRM system, which collects the data, with the provider’s native Zoho Analytics software to analyze and visualize the data. Users can customize their forecasts by viewing it on different visual channels including line, bar, and scatter charts.
Providing the right tools for your sales team to organize leads, communicate with prospects, and analyze sales data is crucial for streamlining a sales operation, one of many responsibilities of a sales manager. Other insights for managing a sales team can be found in our ultimate guide to sales management.
How to Create a Custom Sales Forecast Template
Due to your personal preferences or having a unique business model, you may want to create your own sales forecast template for estimating future business revenues. Creating a sales forecast template requires you to consider your business model, forecast purpose, and sales process to design an easily fillable template.
Here’s a step-by-step guide for creating a custom sales forecast template for your business:
1. Establish Your Source of Sales
First, establish your source(s) of sales revenue. This is determined based on your business model, and essentially refers to how your business makes money through sales of products or services. Below are some common examples of pricing methods a business can use to make money:
- Price per unit/product
- Subscription pricing (monthly or annual)
- Hourly rate
- Price per project/deliverable
Pro tip: Your business can use one or multiple pricing methods for making money. More information and strategies about pricing for your business can be found in our guide for how to price a product.
2. Determine the Purpose of Your Sales Forecast
The type of sales forecast you need will depend heavily on your purpose or reason for generating the estimate. For example, to obtain a loan, you’ll likely need a long-term sales forecast for underwriting. If you want to know how much money your business can plan to spend throughout the next year, you’d make a budget sales forecast. Or you would make an individual product forecast template to track sales of a new product or service.
3. Identify Sales Activities
Next, determine how and how many leads or potential customers enter and move through your sales process. For example, your business may use online forms to get new leads into your sales pipeline and then a series of tactics that convert a percentage of leads into clients. Your business could rely on foot traffic, in which a certain average number of people enter your store each day, and of those, an average number make a purchase.
If your business sells via ecommerce, you might use marketing tactics like website ads to attract site visitors, where a percentage or average number of prospects decide to buy based on what they learn on your site or special offers rendered. Regardless of your specific activities, you need to know how many leads move through each stage of your sales funnel process because some of these numbers will be needed to calculate your projections.
4. Collect Data
Once your business model, forecast purpose, and sales activities are identified, compile information based on past data or industry standards. Information about your prices (per unit, per hour, and so on) are estimated business generated in terms of products sold or hours billed, and sales funnel data.
Sales funnel data refers to the rates of potential customers or leads moving to the next stage until they are paying customers. This information allows you to make estimates for future revenues based on the percentages of leads that move through each stage of the funnel, and which ultimately convert.
For example, assume 100 leads are generated, and you are measuring the qualifying rate of those leads in terms of demos set up. If 14 leads agree to a demo, your qualifying rate is 14%. Then of those 14, five agree to receive a proposal, making your conversion rate to the proposal stage 5%. Then, of the five remaining, two of them sign the contract and become clients, giving you a closing rate of 2% at the end of the funnel.
5. Create Your Spreadsheet to Project Sales
Now you’re ready to create a sales forecast template spreadsheet for your business. To use our example, you need to know things like the average number of opportunities (in this case, web traffic) as well as the average percent that purchase. In addition, you need to enter the average number of units per purchase (or average dollar amount of purchases), and average price per unit to calculate your estimates.
Estimated Web Traffic
Average % of Site Visitors Who Purchase
Average Number of Site Visitors Who Purchase
Average Number of Units per Purchase
Average Price per Unit
Note: In the calculation examples shown above, such as those in the bottom row for “Estimated Sales,” the letter refers to the column and the number refers to the row. So (B4*B5)*B6 would mean Column B Row 4 (60 visitors who purchase) multiplied by Column B Row 5 (three items purchased on average) and then multiplying that by Column B Row 6 ($10 average price per unit).
Once your data fields are filled in and the cell calculation functions are created, you can further customize your business’ sales forecast spreadsheet with your preferred color schemes and data charts to better visualize the information. Both Excel and Google Sheets have premade templates for color schemes, charts, and graphs, as well as customization options.
Pro tip: Volunteering for sales management projects, including conducting sales forecasting and reporting activities, is one of our tips for rising into a sales management role. For more career advancing insight, check out our step-by-step article on how to become a sales manager.
Sales forecasting templates are available in both Excel and Google spreadsheet templates as well as other premade templates you can download, customize, and use. You may also be able to take advantage of CRM features that organize, estimate, and visualize your company’s sales information, including sales forecasts.
A CRM can save you time in making projections as well as optimizing your sales pipeline to generate more leads and close more deals. We highly recommend CRMs such as HubSpot CRM, Pipedrive and Zoho CRM, which all provide terrific sales forecasting features on top of robust sales management and lead nurturing tools.