What is the basic difference between a Sales Forecasting Champion and a Demand Planner? Does a Demand Planner need to attend sales meetings?
To my knowledge, there is no set definition of Sales Forecasting Champion; it varies from company to company. However, we need a champion, no matter what designation, to run the forecasting consensus and/or S&OP meetings to make sure meetings are held on time, the agenda is met, and if there is any conflict, he/she takes the responsibility for resolving it.
There is no set definition of a Demand Planner either. To me, the function of a Demand Planner should be to forecast and manage demand. In some companies, the Demand Planner is the head of a sales group of a certain territory. In one company I know, they have seven Demand Planners, each responsible for a certain territory. Whoever has the responsibility for forecasting should attend sales meetings. Keep in mind, for forecasting we need input from salespeople; for that, the forecaster has to be in close contact with the salespeople so that they understand the importance of their input not only in forecasting but also in fulfilling orders. In fact, Sean Reese, once Forecasting Manager at Ocean Spray Cranberries, recommends that the forecaster must, off and on, visit salespeople face to face, attend their regional and national sales meetings, and ask them to make demand planning a part of their agenda.