As a sales manager, this might be a familiar situation to you:
Your CEO wants to know about the long-term health of your sales pipeline. Your VP of Sales wants to know if there are enough opportunities for the team to hit its quarterly goals. Your sales reps want to know which opportunities they should prioritize.
With so many different asks, just what should you include in your weekly sales pipeline report to address all these needs?
These 3 sales pipeline metrics are a good start.
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Do we have enough opportunities in the sales pipeline?
That’s really the first question that any sales pipeline report should answer. After all, the purpose of the sales pipeline is to feed opportunities through to your sales reps to close as deals. Insufficient pipeline opportunities will lead to a shortfall in bookings when it’s all said and done. Therefore, a top priority is to ensure that there’s enough sales pipeline coverage.
Traditional industry standards suggest having a 3x sales pipeline-to-quota ratio. This means that if your quarterly sales quota is $1 million, you realistically need $3 million worth of opportunities in your pipeline. But just because something is accepted as industry standard doesn’t mean it’s necessarily correct for your organization. Based on your historical data, your pipeline coverage might actually be 2x, or 5x. Subscribing to a false coverage ratio might leave you woefully short of workable opportunities.
If you do know your accurate pipeline coverage ratio, you can then figure out if your current sales pipeline is full enough or not. If it is bursting with great opportunities to work on, you’re in good shape. If it’s not? Might be time to dip into the well of past successful marketing campaigns or embark on a serious outbound prospecting journey in an attempt to fill the pipeline.
Which opportunities should my sales reps be focusing on?
A big part of managing the sales pipeline is knowing which opportunities need more of your reps’ attention than others. A good start is to use the pipeline report above and work on opportunities represented by smaller bubbles – those have received less recent engagement and are losing momentum.
But it’s not just about focusing on opportunities that haven’t been touched; sales reps, with finite time capacity, should also focus on opportunities that they are more likely to win. A Sales Strikezone report can work wonders in helping reps identify their most winnable opportunities, based on historical pipeline data.
Look at this example above. Factoring in the value and age of each opportunity – and measuring that against historical benchmarks – reps can see which opportunities are most likely to close. If choosing between a 15-day-old opportunity worth $9,000 and a 80-day opportunity worth $25,000, the sales rep should work on the former, residing right in his sweet spot; after all, his chances of winning the latter opportunity are pretty slim.
Is our overall sales pipeline growing over time?
Finally, an effective sales pipeline report should take stock of the overall health of the sales pipeline and how it’s changing over time. Companies that are trying to grow and scale need growing pipelines. They can’t close more bookings unless they have the opportunities to work on. The company’s CEO will be anxious to see a growing pipeline to help the team hit it’s very-ambitious growth goals.
Looking at a Pipeline History report, sales managers ideally want to see up-and-to-the-right growth. A few down months here and there are acceptable, as long as the general trajectory of the historical sales pipeline is positive. If the performance has been lagging in recent months, and the sales pipeline is sputtering, it might be wise to invest heavily in a prospecting and lead generation campaign.
A sales pipeline report that includes these three sales pipeline metrics will serve any and all needs, from the sales rep all the way up to the CEO. Create as complete a sales pipeline report as possible by including this eye-opening and insightful data.