Data ScienceMethodologyPresales

4CastR – a Sales Forecast Method in R


This post describes a simple methodology by which to organise and visualise a sales pipeline. Sales opportunities are scored along two dimensions – the maturity of the business case and your relative competitive standing. Once scored, results can be graphically depicted using a balloon chart in which the area of the circle scales to the dollar value of the opportunity. The method takes the name 4CastR as, along with it being a forecast, the method uses R to cast opportunities into 4  quadrants labelled Close, Convert, Counsel and Cover, respectively.


The image below is an example of applying the technique using randomised scoring and fictional sales data against the top 20 Australian stocks, labelled using their ticker symbols.


Source Code

A version of the source code used to generate an example can be pulled down from the following GitHub repository.


The scoring rules for each dimension are summarised as per below.  These can, of course, be customised and adapted as necessary.  The discriminatory power of the chart is best when the correlation between each dimension is low.

Business Case

This is the supplier’s assessment of the maturity of the prospect’s business case. Note this is with respect to the business case overall and not the supplier’s product specifically. Sometimes and rarely these may coincide, e.g. when addressing the business case is tightly associated with acquisition of a particular product.

Score Stage Label Description
1 Beginning Experimental Experiment or skunk work initiative
2 Beginning Discovery Testable hypothesis formed
3 Beginning Championed Support of a competent change agent
4 Middle Disrupters Compelling relevant Industry drivers
5 Middle Project Identified need, budget and event
6 Middle Hard Benefit Compelling economic business case
7 End Strategic Compelling strategic and economic business case
8 End Executive Senior Executive sponsorship
9 End CXO Visibility CXO Level Sponsorship

Competitive Positioning

This is the supplier’s assessment of the prospect’s perception of the supplier’s product.

Score Stage Label Description
1 Outsider Token Token consideration
2 Outsider Beauty Pageant Column fodder
3 Outsider Visibility Visibility but key feature gap
4 Contender Parity Feature parity
5 Contender Advantage Feature advantage
6 Contender Sponsored Power sponsorship
7 Favourite Favoured Political sponsorship
8 Favourite Proven Commercial value of solution proved
9 Favourite Top Seed CXO sponsored with defined buying process


As per the provided R script example, generating the 4CastR plot results from a call to the get4Cast() function. This function takes 2 R data.frame parameters, config and data, the usage of which follows from the provided GitHub example.

Leave a Reply