Revenue Projection

What Is a Revenue Projection?

A revenue projection is an estimation of a company’s future sales revenue. It is used for budgeting and forecasting purposes and helps to identify financial goals and strategies for a business. Revenue projections can be made on various timelines, including yearly, quarterly, and monthly. They are based on data from the past, such as historical sales figures, industry trends, market conditions, economic indicators, etc., as well as the predictions of the company’s sales team about upcoming opportunities.

Revenue projections are critical in setting long-term objectives for a business by assessing both current performance and potential revenue growth opportunities. A detailed revenue projection will provide insight into how much money a business can expect to bring in over time and can serve as the foundation for creating budgets that account for expected income streams and expenses. This can help businesses plan ahead by allocating resources more efficiently, as well as understanding when additional investments (such as hiring new staff or buying new equipment) may be necessary.

Revenue projections should also incorporate changes within the industry, such as emerging competitors or shifts in customer preferences so they accurately reflect any potential risks or obstacles that could affect overall business performance. Additionally, companies should regularly update their revenue projections to ensure they remain relevant given the ever-changing nature of markets and economic cycles. By taking all these factors into consideration when making revenue projections, companies can be better prepared to manage their finances effectively while aiming to reach their desired level of profitability.


  • Projected revenue
  • Revenue forecast
  • Revenue projection models
  • Sales projection

How to Project Revenue Growth

Projecting revenue growth helps with financial planning, budgeting, and making strategic decisions. Here’s a breakdown of the steps involved:

1. Analyze Historical Data

Gather the past sales data, ideally for multiple periods (months, quarters, years). This provides a baseline for understanding the business’s growth trajectory.

2. Choose a Forecasting Method

There are several methods for revenue projection, each with its strengths:

Historical Trend Analysis: This simple method extends past growth rates into the future. It’s effective for stable markets, but unforeseen changes can cause inaccuracies.

Customer and Sales Growth Model: This approach factors in expected customer acquisition, churn rate, and average sales value. It requires good sales pipeline visibility. The formula for this model is:

Projected Revenue = (Number of New Customers x Average Sale Value) +
(Existing Customers x Average Sale Value x (1 – Customer Churn Rate))

Econometric Models: These complex models consider market trends, economic indicators, and competitor behavior. They’re most suitable for businesses with extensive data and resources. (See the Revenue Projection Models described below.)

3. Identify Key Drivers

Beyond historical trends, consider factors that might influence future revenue:

Marketing Initiatives: Planned marketing campaigns and their potential impact on sales.

Product Launches: Introduction of new products or features that could boost revenue.

Pricing Strategy: Changes in pricing plans can affect sales volume and revenue.

Market Conditions: Consider industry trends, competitor activity, and overall economic climate.

4. Build the Forecast

Use the chosen method and incorporate the identified drivers into your calculations. Spreadsheets are popular tools for building forecasts, allowing the ability to adjust assumptions and see how they affect projections.

5. Refine and Monitor

Revenue projections are estimates, not guarantees. Regularly assess the forecast against actual performance and adjust as needed. Significant changes in market conditions or internal factors may necessitate revising the projections.

The accuracy of revenue projections hinges on the quality of the data and assumptions. Revenue managers should consider creating multiple forecasts based on different scenarios (optimistic, pessimistic, and most likely).

Metrics Used to Calculate Revenue Projections

Revenue projections are often based on past performance and experience with sales cycles, but future influences should also be considered. For instance, changes in the market demand for a product or service, new competitors entering the market, technological advances, customer trends, or preferences must be considered when creating revenue projections. Businesses should analyze each potential factor separately and then create an aggregate projection that takes these factors into account.

The following metrics are used to calculate revenue and are also used in calculating revenue projections.

Monthly Recurring Revenue (MRR)

Monthly Recurring Revenue (MRR) is an important metric used to measure the sustainability of a company’s revenue. It is calculated by multiplying the total number of subscribers by the average revenue per user. By tracking MRR, businesses can project their future revenue more accurately and reliably than with other methods.

MRR helps to provide long-term stability for businesses as they can measure their growth or decline over time. It also allows them to plan ahead for upcoming changes in their business operations. For example, if they anticipate an increase in customer base due to a new marketing campaign, they can use MRR to estimate how much additional revenue they’ll generate and budget accordingly.

MRR also serves as a helpful guide when making decisions related to pricing and pricing models such as pay-as-you-go or subscription plans. By tracking the growth or decline of MRR over time, businesses can make informed decisions about whether or not to adjust their prices or offer packages to maximize profits.

Average Revenue Per User (ARPU)

Organizations use average revenue per user (ARPU) as a key performance indicator when creating revenue projections. By analyzing past data on customer spend, businesses can estimate how much revenue they could generate over a specific time period based on the current ARPU. This allows them to create more accurate financial plans and budgets. Additionally, understanding how average revenue per user changes over time can provide insight into trends in customer spending, helping businesses adjust their marketing strategies accordingly to maximize their profits.

ARPU is calculated by dividing all revenue earned by a business from customers over a certain period of time, typically one month or one quarter, by the total number of users within that same period. Additionally, ARPU can help companies understand the potential growth rate of their user base and make informed decisions about how much they should invest in acquiring new customers.

Net Dollar Retention Percentage (NDR)

Net dollar retention (NDR) measures the amount of money customers keep spending on a product or service over time. It is a useful tool used to project future revenue because it gives an accurate indication of whether the current customer base is becoming more engaged and will likely continue to spend. Net dollar retention can be calculated by taking the total revenue from existing customers in a given period, subtracting any loss of revenue associated with customer churn, and then dividing this figure by the total revenue from those same customers in the prior period. This figure is expressed as a percentage and provides insight into how loyal customers are being retained over time.

Revenue Churn 

Revenue projections are based on the ability to predict customer churn rate. Churn rate is a measure of how many customers leave or discontinue using a product, service, or subscription over a given time period. By predicting customer churn, companies can better plan their budget and allocate resources for marketing strategies, product development, and customer service initiatives.

The most common way to measure churn rate is by calculating the number of customers lost within a one-month or one-year period divided by the total number of active customers at the start of that period. This calculation gives companies an idea of how many customers they may potentially lose in future periods based on past performance.

Revenue Projection Models

Revenue projections are not guarantees of future success but can provide helpful information for businesses looking to assess their current and future financial standing. This information can help guide decisions such as budgeting strategies, marketing campaigns, and improvements to operations efficiency that will increase profitability for the company. In addition to helping companies plan ahead financially, revenue projection can also help them make sound investment decisions and identify growth opportunities.

Below are five revenue forecasting methods companies can use to project revenue. 

1. Time Series Analysis: This forecasting model uses historical data to generate future projections of sales revenue.

2. Regression Analysis: This forecasting model predicts future performance based on existing relationships between variables in the dataset.

3. ARIMA Model (Autoregressive Integrated Moving Average): A type of time series analysis that uses past data to predict future values, taking into account factors such as seasonality and trends.

4. Exponential Smoothing Models: An averaging technique used to forecast short-term changes in sales or production levels by using weighted averages of previous data points and adjusting for seasonality effects if necessary.

5. Decision Trees/Random Forests: These are machine learning models that use decision trees with multiple branches to make predictions about future outcomes, which can be used to project sales revenue or other measures of business performance over time periods such as months or quarters.

How to Create Revenue Projections in a SaaS or Subscription Business

To create revenue projections for a SaaS or subscription business, follow these steps:

1. Analyze your customer churn. Calculate your monthly churn rate to understand how many customers you’re losing each month. Then, project how many customers you’ll retain over time at your current churn rate. Lower churn means more recurring revenue.

2. Calculate your customer lifetime value (CLV). Determine how long the average customer stays with your service and how much revenue they generate over that time. Then, multiply the average customer lifespan by the average monthly revenue to get the CLV. This helps you forecast revenue from new customers.

3. Project new customer growth. Estimate how many new customers you’ll add each month. This could be based on your current growth rate or marketing/sales plans to acquire more customers. More new customers means more revenue.

4. Factor in pricing changes. If you plan to increase or decrease pricing, account for the impact on revenue. Price increases will boost revenue but may reduce growth and retention. Price decreases can increase growth and retention but lower revenue per customer.

5. Account for seasonality. Some businesses see seasonal fluctuations in revenue. For example, a service for accountants may see higher revenue during tax season. Anticipate seasonal highs and lows and factor them into your projections.

You can create data-driven revenue projections for a SaaS or subscription business by analyzing these key metrics and factors. Of course, projections will vary based on how accurate your assumptions and data are, as well as changes in your business and market. So, it’s important to regularly monitor metrics and update projections.

Revenue Projection Software

Revenue projection software helps businesses forecast future revenue and sales. It analyzes historical sales data and trends to predict how much revenue a company can generate in the months and years ahead. This software considers factors like seasonality, growth, and economic conditions to provide an accurate projection.

Key features of revenue projection software include:

  • Synchronizes historical sales data. The software pulls in data from accounting systems, CRM software, and other sources to understand a company’s past revenue patterns.
  • Analyzes trends. The software detects growth trends in the data and allows users to input reasonable growth assumptions to predict how revenue may increase or decrease in the future.
  • Accounts for seasonality. For companies with seasonal sales, the software detects and accounts for peaks and troughs in revenue that recur each year. It ensures revenue projections reflect the impact of seasons and holidays.
  • Adjusts for external impacts. The software allows users to input adjustments based on potential impacts on revenue, like new product releases, marketing campaigns, hiring plans, economic forecasts, and other external factors.
  • Generates reports and visualizations. The revenue projection is output in easy-to-understand reports, charts, and graphs that show projected revenue, confidence levels, and key drivers of the forecast.

How to Improve Revenue Projections

Businesses can improve their revenue projections by following these best practices:

Gather Historical Data – Review 3-5 years of revenue data and sales trends. Look for seasonality, growth patterns, and other insights that could impact future projections. The more data you have, the more accurate projections can be.

Factor in Growth – Determine a reasonable growth rate for your business and industry. If launching new products or expanding into new markets, factor in the potential impact of those growth opportunities. Be conservative in estimates to avoid over-promising.

Account for Risks – Identify potential risks to revenue, like economic downturns, new competitors, or changes in consumer preferences. Factor in a buffer for risks to create more reliable projections.

Update Projections Regularly – Revenue projections should be updated quarterly based on actual results and updated information. This helps identify if projections are on target or need adjustment.

Provide Ranges – Rather than definitive numbers, provide a range for revenue projections to account for uncertainty. This is more prudent and helps set proper expectations.

People Also Ask

What is the difference between a revenue projection and a revenue forecast?

A revenue projection and a revenue forecast are both estimates of future revenue, but there are some key differences:

A revenue projection is a speculative estimate of revenue based on assumptions and hypothetical scenarios. It does not incorporate historical data or trends and is more optimistic. For example, a startup may project $X million in revenue if they gain Y% market share.

A revenue forecast is a data-driven estimate of future revenue based on current and past performance and market trends. It aims to predict revenue using a practical assessment of the business and market. For example, a company may forecast a 5-10% increase in revenue year over year based on its growth rate and industry forecasts.

In summary, a revenue projection is a speculative estimate, while a revenue forecast is a data-driven prediction. Projections assume everything goes right, while forecasts account for potential challenges and are more conservative. Both can be useful for planning, but forecasts may be more realistic.

What is the difference between a sales projection and a revenue projection?

Sales projection and revenue projection are closely related, but there are distinct differences between the two.

A sales projection estimates how many products or services the company will sell during any given period. It considers market size, competition, current trends, past performance, and customer feedback to determine its forecast for sales and revenues. On the other hand, a revenue projection is an estimation of a company’s overall cash flow for a certain period of time. It usually involves analyzing historical data to determine what potential revenue could be generated from future sales and activities. Both projections are essential for financial planning, budgeting, forecasting expenses, and setting goals.

Sales projections can be used to plan ahead for upcoming seasons or shifts in demand by understanding what products or services customers may buy more often. They help determine how much inventory must be produced to meet customer demand and maximize profits. Revenue projections can also be used to determine pricing strategies and marketing efforts that will generate additional income. Additionally, they provide insight into existing expenses, such as labor costs, so companies can better manage their finances.