Stop Forecast Friday: Why Thursday is the best day for sales-forecast calls

A co-worker of mine once told me that the problem of being dogmatic is, well, your identity soon becomes fixed to that idea. So while I try not to get overly formulaic in my approach to many things in business (and in sales/revenue specifically), there are a couple of calendaring tips that have served me well—including some slightly contrarian advice about Forecast Friday calls.

By way of background: Most CRO’s do a few repetitive things each week:

  • they attend their boss’ staff meeting
  • they host their own staff meeting
  • they do 1:1’s with their direct reports
  • …and they run a weekly forecast call

The last three of those events are owned by the CRO; there is typically an agenda, or at minimum a flow to those sessions. There is prep time for both the CRO and attendees, and a lot of problems are solved in those meetups.

The question is: Have you optimized when those events should ideally occur?

Timing is often left on autopilot. Maybe you inherited your predecessor’s weekly schedule. Or maybe this was the schedule that you brought over from your last organization. We know most CEO staff meetings fall on Monday mornings, and most companies default to Friday for the forecast call.

Why Friday is the worst possible day for your forecast call

I’d encourage you to think about when you structure your meetings. Let me share my learnings, starting with the most important–the forecast call.

Friday is the worst day of the week to do this call. I’ve worked for six different technology companies and all forecast calls had a similar flavor: We join the call, talk about the quota, the pipeline coverage, the forecast, what’s left to close, and the deals that make up the gap. We talk through action plans, next steps, and what we’re going to do, then we hang up. And then sadly, everyone mails it in until Monday.

This is why Friday is the worst day to do this. Everyone is fatigued. They’ve been through all the week’s meetings, maybe been traveling, and now you rock up with your weekly forecast call from 11am ET to 1PM ET. By the time it wraps and the attendees get lunch, it’s 2pm on Friday before people are supposed to start actioning all the items we talked about on the call. Which means not a lot actually gets done.

Why Thursday is the best day for holding your forecast meeting

The forecast meeting should be one of most- and best-prepped meetings of the week for all attendees. That means Monday isn’t a good day to run the forecast. First, it’s likely you have the CEO’s weekly staff meeting absorbing a lot of the day. Which means your prep time for a forecast call is limited. What if you don’t know a data point on a deal? Or your CRM didn’t get updated on Friday? Now you’re chasing reps and managers for updates. Or worse, you’re doing this prep on Sunday, which also sucks. Don’t host your forecast on Mondays.

Tuesdays aren’t much better than Mondays. Pushing the forecast to the back end of the week is better for reps to move their deals forward and have meaningful updates. And like Mondays, all the work you did the week prior lost momentum over the weekend, so trying to pick it up and ready the details for a Tuesday forecast call doesn’t work very well.

Wednesday isn’t great either. You’re halfway through the week…stay focused on problem solving and closing deals, not reporting.

Which brings us to Thursday. Thursday is the bullseye day. You’ve spent three days working the deals. You’ve given time for your AE’s to have 1:1s with their managers. They’ve constructed plays, have action items, and are putting them in motion. The information flow is fresh, and if you have a forecast cadence–like, AE’s need to update by Wednesday at noon, managers at Wednesday at 3 pm, etc.–it means your data quality is accurate. And your team still has energy for the last mile.

What’s this last mile, you ask? When you hang up the Thursday forecast call, you’re not slipping immediately into the weekend. You have part of Thursday and all of Friday left to act on the next steps of your deals. Want to ghost-write a note for your CEO to send your prospect? On Thursday you still have time to do that and get it sent off. Want to confirm some deal criteria? You buyer will probably still pick up the phone on Thursday at 4 pm, or more likely on Friday morning. Need to actually schedule another demo? You have time.

Time is the killer of deals. Thus Thursday is the best day to run your forecast call. You have energy, you have fresh quality data, and you have runway to execute all the action items.

Extra credit: When should your weekly staff/team meeting fall? 

This one is easy, as there isn’t a specific day but instead a specific time that’s optimal.

The best time for your staff meeting is right after your CEO’s staff meeting. Or maybe 30 – 60 mins after, so you can collect your thoughts and prepare your agenda.

Think about why. Your CEO session is where senior leadership is discussing many key items. Hosting your team meeting right after allows you to share what’s topical. You’re loaded with data and news. You’ve just come out of your boss’ meeting and you want to share the relevant scoop with your team. The benefit is there is no time gap nor quality loss of the message itself, and your team appreciates being on the receiving end of near real-time updates.

Your time is precious. Optimizing your schedule helps you have greater impact. Rejiggering the timing of your forecast call is perhaps the single most effective way to get more value out of this crucial weekly meeting.

The information contained herein is based solely on the opinions of Bill Binch and nothing should be construed as investment advice. This material is provided for informational purposes, and it is not, and may not be relied on in any manner as, legal, tax or investment advice or as an offer to sell or a solicitation of an offer to buy an interest in any fund or investment vehicle managed by Battery Ventures or any other Battery entity.
This information covers investment and market activity, industry or sector trends, or other broad-based economic or market conditions and is for educational purposes. The anecdotal examples throughout are intended for an audience of entrepreneurs in their attempt to build their businesses and not recommendations or endorsements of any particular business.