Basics of Forecasting and Quotas

What are forecasts?

Forecasts can be used to predict future sales within an organization.  Forecast data is aggregated from each user’s opportunity records, and the related forecast category of each opportunity’s stage.

For example, the stage “Closed/Won” is given forecast category “Closed”:

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When I view my forecast tab, forecast data is automatically populated with my related opportunities:

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However, forecasts can be overridden without updating the source opportunity records.

What are quotas?

Quotas are used to set target sales goals for forecast users.  This can allow organizations to establish greater accountability for meeting sales expectations.

How are forecasts implemented in Salesforce?

There are 3 different versions of forecasting in Salesforce:

  1. Collaborative Forecasts (Winter ’12 release)
  2. Customizable Forecasts (by feature request)
  3. Forecasts classic (prior to Winter ’12 release) – Retired with Summer ’14 Release

Read: What's the difference between the Forecasting features?

This guide will not address how to configure forecasts or quotas.

32 Responses to “Basics of Forecasting and Quotas”

  1. February 19, 2017 at 5:47 pm #

    As per to enable quota one needs to set the User Permissions “Edit Personal Quota”. Where is this setting enabled?

    I checked profiles,permissions sets, and users settings and do not see this option!

  2. March 14, 2016 at 4:51 pm #

    All of the following are true about Opportunity Pipeline and Forecast reporting EXCEPT:
    A. Pipeline reports may include omitted opportunities from the forecast
    B. Forecasts may be overridden
    C. Pipeline reports may be overridden
    D. Opportunity stages may be used to determine the forecast category of an opportunity

    Hi John..can you please explain how B is not true?

    • Chuck Fernald May 6, 2016 at 7:25 pm #

      This is a good example of where just a little bit of ambiguity in question terminology can create difficulty in answering. It helps to take the ‘big picture’ view. So my best guess is C.

      A. Any pipeline report is configurable by stage / percentage / category so it’s possible to have report settings where stages are included in the report that you’ve defined to be in the ‘Omitted’ category and you choose not to display that category in your Forecasts.
      B. Customizable forecasts can be overwritten at the opportunity level (oppty by oppty). Collaborative forecasts can be overwritten at the forecast levels (aggregate amounts).
      C. A pipeline report is just that, a report.
      D. Admin configures what oppty stages are correlated with the forecast categories used.

  3. johns. October 1, 2015 at 1:18 pm #

    If someone is interested

    there is an “new circle of Succes” for salesforce customer in the community about forecasting :

    and here is an slideshare which goes a little bit deeper:

    regards johns

  4. redsmile August 7, 2015 at 8:03 am #

    I think it is A, the correct answer, meaning the exception: “Pipeline reports may include omitted opportunities from the forecast”. Pipeline and Omitted are different categories and makes no sense that pipeline would include omitted.

    • JohnCoppedge August 17, 2015 at 7:55 pm #

      Not sure if that’s true. One of the default pipeline reports uses Historical Probability not equal to 0, 100 (close won or closed lost). However, you can add a custom stage that is ‘omitted’ with a probably of your choosing, meaning that it would be included.

      You can’t override the default reports either, so I suspect C would be the right answer.

  5. sksood May 27, 2015 at 8:32 pm #

    It means the content below the Note refers to Collaborative forecasts and not Customizable and vice-versa. The help is therefore describing one or the other forecast types but not both. The hyperlink in the Notes section when selected would take the reader to the to the other type of Forecast content

  6. Rena Bennett-Dellwo April 28, 2015 at 7:57 pm #

    There’s a note In the help topic about defining forecast hierarchies that says it applies to Collaborative not Customizable forecasts. We have Customizable forecasting enabled, and we also have the ability to set up forecast hierarchies so I’m confused by what the “applies” statement is referring to. Any clarification would be appreciated.

  7. Harleen MANN March 24, 2015 at 5:25 am #

    @Garima – definitely C. pipeline reports here refer to opportunity pipeline reports.

  8. Harleen MANN February 6, 2015 at 11:55 am #

    Thanks for the clarification John… I tried my hands on it and got a better understanding.

    • Garima Achieve March 24, 2015 at 5:12 am #

      Hey… Whats the final answer for this one… means difference between Opportunity Pipeline and Forecast reporting? if this is a not standard opportunity report, then A&C would be true or not?

  9. Harleen MANN January 31, 2015 at 6:35 pm #

    Can you solve this ques for me –

    All of the following are true about Opportunity Pipeline and Forecast reporting EXCEPT:
    A. Pipeline reports may include omitted opportunities from the forecast
    B. Forecasts may be overridden
    C. Pipeline reports may be overridden
    D. Opportunity stages may be used to determine the forecast category of an opportunity

    • JohnCoppedge February 2, 2015 at 3:51 pm #

      B & D are out. It is either A or C – not sure what pipeline reports refers to- if this is a standard opportunity report, then both A&C would be true (depending on what overridden means)- there isn’t enough info in the question to answer it properly.

  10. Harleen MANN January 31, 2015 at 2:56 pm #


    1. What do you mean when you say – “forecasts can be overridden without updating the source opportunity records”.
    2. Also, I read somewhere that “Pipeline reports may be overridden” – what does that mean?

    • JohnCoppedge February 2, 2015 at 3:43 pm #

      The forecast pulls the totals from the opportunities for a particular quarter.

      Reps and managers can go in and override the default forecast number (a rollup of the opportunities in that category). The whole idea is that forecast baseline is established through the opportunities that are generated by reps – but the actual submitted forecast can be manually manipulated by reps and management to more accurately represent what they expect to bring in from their own insights.

      Experimenting with forecasting may help – I would encourage you to if you haven’t already.

  11. Steven Meller December 6, 2014 at 7:13 pm #

    Hello John
    Excellent material, thanks!
    Heading : “What are a quotas?” Should not have the “a”.

  12. Scott Waddell October 7, 2014 at 11:51 am #

    Is forecasting covered on the cert exam? Reading the study guide, there are items relating to the “sales process” and “sales productivity features”. Would that include forecasting/quotas?

    • JohnCoppedge October 14, 2014 at 1:36 am #

      I’m not 100% sure one way or the other (does this count as a sales productivity feature?)- if it is covered on the exam it wouldn’t be in much detail. However, I think it is definitely worth covering as it pretty important for new administrators to be aware of (even if they aren’t configuring it).

  13. Engels Vargas April 10, 2014 at 6:29 pm # has two very useful Salesforce classes, 8 hours each. They cover really nicely the topic of forecasting. Anyone can sign up for a free 7 day trial and use those courses as a complement to this Study Guide. Thanks John for putting this Study Guide together, I’ve been a Salesforce Admin for 3 years and I never came across many of the things you mention. This Study guide is definitely a lifesaver.

  14. Sakthi Sethu March 19, 2014 at 10:14 am #

    John, are you planning on an in-depth guide in Forecasting. I have a number of doubts regarding Collaborative Forecasts and Quotas. Can you point me in the right direction please?

    • JohnCoppedge March 23, 2014 at 10:55 pm #

      No, this guide does not cover forecasting in depth. I don’t have any specific resources to recommend, unfortunately 🙁

  15. Kevin Gee March 10, 2014 at 2:35 am #

    The Forecasting tab is hidden by default in Developer Edition. It took several steps to turn it on.

    • JohnCoppedge March 16, 2014 at 9:06 pm #

      Good to know, thanks Kevin. If this guide dug deep into forecasting then it would explore that further.

      • December 7, 2015 at 9:55 pm #

        hi Kevin and john , i was also confuse that why i m not able to see forecast tab..but just found out them in standard app like sales and 1 more ,,but it u want to really keep the tab visible to your app… you do not need to dug up deep, just Select your Custom app>setup>(+ Sign) on tab bar >go to Link add tabs on top of the tab list ….and then follow up which one u need to b visible for your app…
        its not hidden in whole edition though …

  16. JohnCoppedge March 8, 2014 at 7:31 pm #


    Splits allow you to designate credit to more than one person’s forecast for a single opportunity. I believe they are part of collab forecasting, although I haven’t configured it myself.

  17. Sreedurga Prabhala February 24, 2014 at 2:33 pm #

    Can you provide basic differences between Collaborative and Customizable Forecasts? Also, What are Opportunity-split Forecasts? Are they part of Collaborative Forecasts?

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