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Don’t Let Your Best Dashboard Chart Look Like A Bedraggled Washing Line

Don’t Let Your Best Dashboard Chart Look Like A Bedraggled Washing Line

Colin Parish, VP of Sales at Moderna, read our blog post, 12 Must-Have Charts On Your Salesforce Dashboard.

“That’s the dashboard for me”, thought Colin. “Especially the Pipeline by Stage and Month.”

So Colin had his system administrator install the dashboard from the AppExchange.

But there was a problem.

The most important dashboard chart didn’t look like the beautiful example in our blog post.

Salesforce dashboard chart showing opportunities by close date and stage.

Colin’s was, well, to put it frankly, a mess. It was full of deals with opportunity close dates in the past.

Pipeline has lots of opportunities with close dates in the past.

“It looked more like an old washing line”, said Colin.

This meant Colin didn’t get the pipeline visibility he craved. The opportunity close dates in the past destroyed the benefits the chart brings. And Colin couldn’t tell which deals were still alive and which had been lost.

So Colin called us up. Asked what he should do. We were happy to help. Here’s what we said.

We explained to Colin that there are two sides to the problem.

  1. Existing deals with opportunity close dates in the past.Colin needed to sort out the existing opportunities that had a close date in the past. We told him there are five ways this can be done. We explained when each approach is appropriate.
  2. Colin needed to stop the ‘opportunity close dates in the past problem’ from recurring.

So, here’s what Colin did to solve the problem. And what he’s doing to stop it happening again.

If your pipeline chart looks like an old washing line, you can easily do the same.

Fix the immediate ‘Close Dates in the past’ problem

Here are the five options you have for dealing with opportunities that have close dates in the past.

1. Go through the opportunities one by one yourself

Update the Close Date on each opportunity.

At the same time, change the Opportunity Stage. Set the Opportunity Stage to Closed Won or Closed Lost for deals that should no longer in the pipeline.

This approach is appropriate when:

  • There’s a relatively small number of opportunities.
  • Accurately updating each opportunity with a close date in the past is important.
  • You’re prepared to do the work yourself (or can’t get anyone else to do it).

2. Mass update all opportunities to Closed Won or Closed Lost

This is the broad-brush approach. You simply set all opportunities with a close date in the past to Won or Lost.

Do it with a little more subtlety though. For example, mass update all opportunities where the close date is more than one year in the past.

To do this you can use a List View to update many opportunities at the same time. (Administrator Tip: If you’re using Opportunity Record Types then you need to filter List Views by record type in order to perform mass updates).

This approach is appropriate when:

  • The accuracy of opportunities with close dates in the past doesn’t matter too much.
  • There are far too many opportunities to go through one by one.
  • You are prepared to sacrifice the accuracy of historic sales performance reports.

3. Get salespeople to update their own opportunities

This is a variation of option 1.

Get the Opportunity Owners to do their own dirty work. Have them go through their opportunities and update the Close Dates and (where appropriate) the Opportunity Stage.

This approach is appropriate when:

  • The accuracy of reports and charts that track historic sales performance is important.
  • There are viable opportunities that have close dates in the past.
  • It is a worthwhile investment in time for salespeople to review out of date opportunities.

4. Mass update all Close Dates in the past to a future date

Take all the out-of-date opportunities that are still open and give them a close date in the future.

Then you – or the sales team – take time to update each opportunity accurately.

This approach is appropriate when:

  • There are live or viable opportunities with close dates in the past.
  • No one has the time to sort them out right now.
  • Until the opportunities are reviewed, you are prepared to accept that the pipeline chart will contain lost or dormant deals.

5. Sweep the problem under the carpet

Modify the report that underpins the dashboard chart. Change the Close Date ‘From’ value so it only includes opportunities where the close date is greater than a specific point in time.

For example, you might filter the report to show opportunities with a Close Date ‘From’ the first day of this month. That means there will only be a relatively small number of opportunities on the report with close dates in the past. Just sort those out and ignore the rest.

This approach is appropriate when:

  • It is unlikely anyone will get around to updating out-of-date opportunities.
  • The pipeline chart will be based only on opportunities with close dates greater than the date you have chosen – and you are prepared to accept this.
  • Your system administrator acknowledges that all dashboard pipeline reports will need to incorporate the fixed ‘From’ date.

Optionally, combine some of these options.

For example, you might do a mass that sets opportunities with a close date of more than one year ago, to Closed Lost.

Then, update the remainder so they have a Close Date in the future. Have salespeople go through these deals one by one to pick out the viable deals.

12 Must Have Charts For Your Salesforce Dashboard

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Stop the ‘close dates in the past’ problem from recurring

If the pipeline chart contains deals with Close Dates in the past then you have a lack of pipeline visibility.

That means you can’t get an accurate revenue forecast. And it is impossible to know whether you have enough pipeline, to meet future sales targets.

Here are four ways you can stop the problem happening again, after you have fixed it.

1. Avoid sloppy management

Proactive sales management means being on top of the pipeline. In that case, there shouldn’t be any deals with close dates in the past. Simple as that.

Good sales management means the sales pipeline is well maintained. It gives sales managers the key information they need to conduct funnel reviews at all times.

2. Coach salespeople on self-managing their pipeline

Sloppy sales management is only part of the story.

Effective salespeople don’t allow their pipelines to become out of date.

Salespeople need to understand the importance of keeping the Close Dates and Opportunity Stages accurate. That means each person has an accurate view of his or her pipeline.

3. Create an alert when the Close Date is today

Use workflow to create an email alert when an Opportunity is due to close today. The idea is to draw the salesperson’s attention to the deal so that they update it.

Optionally, trigger the alert when the Close Date is tomorrow.

This is a useful technique when you need to emphasize the importance of keeping deals up to date. Ideally, salespeople should be self-managing their pipeline and using dashboard charts tailored to their needs.

But, if you want to draw more attention to deals that need to be updated, then this is one way to do it.

4. Use a validation rule

A validation rule kicks-in when a salesperson makes a change to an opportunity. If the close date is in the past, this prevents the opportunity saving.

Effectively, it means the salesperson has to update the close date in order to make any change.

This solution is often implemented by companies that have a problem with close dates. But I’m not the greatest fan.

The validation rule approach doesn’t actually prevent the problem from occurring. If the opportunity is not updated (which, given that the close date is in the past suggests is the case) then it won’t prevent close dates from drifting into the past.

The most effective approach is to apply good sales management practice and have salespeople take pride in the accuracy of their individual funnels.

How Colin solved his close dates in the past problem

Colin had several hundred opportunities with close dates in the past.

Here’s what he did.

  1. Colin used an Opportunity List View to quickly identify deals he knew for sure had been won. He updated them on the salesperson’s behalf to Closed Won.
  2. Then he set all deals more than a year old to Closed Lost. Some of these deals were probably won, Colin accepted. That there was no update, suggests many had been lost, however. Colin accepted that risk of inacuracy in historic reports.
  3. He assigned two hours on Friday afternoon. Each salesperson reviewed and updated their own opportunities during this time. A number of dormant opportunities were re-energised as a result.
  4. Colin explained to his team managers the importance of good pipeline management.
  5. He had everyone read our blog post about the Open Opportunities by Stage and Month.
  6. Colin played this video at his team meeting. The video and blog post gave managers valuable insight into how to use the dashboard chart to manage the pipeline effectively.
  7. Colin had every sales manager explain the importance to salespeople at local sales team meetings.
  8. He mandated a review of the Open Opportunities by Stage dashboard chart at every sales meeting.
  9. Colin got his system administrator to create a second version of the sales dashboard. This runs on ‘My Opportunities’. The sales managers educated each salesperson on how to use the dashboard to analyze their own pipeline and sales performance.

The result? Colin got a robust view of the company sales pipeline. Now, he can accurately identify the action sales people and managers need to take to boost revenue. And it means Colin is confident of making is quota.

“Now, this truly is the dashboard chart for me”, says Colin.

Related Blog Posts

12 Must-Have Salesforce Dashboard Charts | With Video And Examples

3 Ways To Measure Performance Against Sales Target In Salesforce In 2017

How To Plug A Leaking Funnel In The Right Place

Big is beautiful: The 4 easy dashboard charts you need to measure pipeline size

12 Must-Have Salesforce Dashboard Charts | With Video And Examples

12 Must-Have Salesforce Dashboard Charts | With Video And Examples

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Salesforce dashboards to increase visibility of the sales pipeline and improve forecasting accuracy.

There’s no doubt about it.

That’s the number one reason businesses invest in salesforce licenses.

Yet many sales managers are frustrated.

They still do not have the salesforce dashboard charts that give visibility into the size, quality and trend in the sales pipeline needed to forecast accurately. They also can’t look back at historic results to gain the insight that will drive improvement in future sales performance.

But that problem can be fixed.

Here are examples of the 12 must-have salesforce dashboard charts that every sales manager needs.

These salesforce dashboard charts, and the underlying reports, give tremendous visibility into the sales pipeline and sales performance. For each dashboard chart, we also point you to a dedicated blog post and other resources for even more in-depth information.

In the interests of brevity we’ve ignored variations of these charts. These variations can provide additional insight for your business by analyzing sales performance by product, campaign, territory, customer type and so on. Use the charts examples recommended in this blog post as the core building blocks to create your organization-specific salesforce dashboard and reports.

12 Must Have Charts For Your Salesforce Dashboard

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1) Closed Won Opportunities by Month


We all want to know how much sales revenue has been won. That’s what the Closed Won Opportunities by Month dashboard chart tells us.

The chart shows how much sales revenue the company has achieved during the financial year.

Closed Won Opportunities chart on the salesforce dashboard measures revenue achieved this financial year.

In this example, the dashboard chart and underlying report summarize the information by individual sales person. If you have a larger sales organization, then group the chart by team, country or territory.

The dashboard chart and report give top-level insight into sales performance. In our example, Dave Apthorp is consistently the top performer. Sarah has improved her performance significantly after a poor start to the year. Peter, in particular, can benefit from coaching and training to improve his performance.

Combine this information with your personal knowledge of each team or individual to get an immediate overview of sales performance across the company. Use the other dashboard charts that analyze historic performance (for example conversion rates, average deal size) to determine the specific support and actions each person needs to take in order to increase their sales results.

Incidentally, the trick here – as with many salesforce dashboard charts – is to create the graph as a stacked bar chart and the underlying report as a Matrix report. Yes, it’s slightly easier to create a Summary report. However it’s only a small step further to create a Matrix report. And the results are so much more powerful.

Of course, the Closed Won Opportunities by Month dashboard chart doesn’t tell us anything about future revenue performance. That’s where the other pipeline charts we recommend come into play.

Link to video demonstrating how to use the Closed Won Opportunities salesforce dashboard chart.

 

More blog posts related to the Closed Won salesforce dashboard chart:

10 Illuminating Ways To Measure Closed Won Deals. Examples of other ways to analyze historic sales performance.

When Is A Report Not A Report. Demonstrates why Matrix Reports are nearly always better than Summary Reports.

2) Pipeline Deals by Close Date and Opportunity Stage


If you only use one dashboard chart to manage the sales pipeline then make sure it’s this one.

Opportunity pipeline report and chart on the salesforce dashboard shows deals due to close over the coming months.

The chart shows the value of Opportunities that are due to close each month. Within each month, we can see the deals in terms of the Opportunity Stage. Stacking the chart by Stage gives visibility of the overall health of the funnel.

The Pipeline Opportunities By Close Date and Opportunity Stage dashboard chart delivers the fundamental information needed to manage the sales funnel. Sales managers and executives can use this chart to assess the size of the pipeline and to begin forecasting future revenue.

This dashboard chart also tells us whether the pipeline is sufficiently mature this month and next month to achieve revenue targets. This means managers and salespeople have an early warning that tells them when remedial action is necessary

For example, let’s assume we are in January.

There’s a substantial amount of pipeline due to close this month that is still in Prospecting and Investigation. If, for example, our typical sales cycle is 3 months, are we confident these deals will close in January? Are they at the right Opportunity Stage? Should these opportunities be scheduled to close in a later month?

What about the deals in April that are in the Negotiation Stage? Is it really going to take 4 months to close these opportunities? Maybe. Or are there steps we can take to bring these deals forward?

A key variant of this dashboard chart is the Pipeline Opportunities by Close Date and Owner.

Examine the pipeline by opportunity owner using this salesforce dashboard chart.

Use the summary by Owner to identify which teams or salespeople have the most pipeline due to close both this month and in the longer term.

Link to video demonstrating how to use the Opportunities by Close Date and Month salesforce dashboard chart.

 

More blog posts related to the Pipeline by Month and Stage salesforce dashboard chart:

If You Only Create One Dashboard Chart Make It This One. This blog posts gives more examples of how to use this dashboard chart and includes a video by Gary demonstrating the chart in action.

Don’t Let The Best Sales Dashboard Chart Look Like A Bedraggled Washing Line. Explains what to do if too many opportunities with Close Dates in the past make your beautiful chart look like a washing line!

3) Sales Funnel Chart


The sales funnel chart should be on your dashboard because it’s a good graph to look at – once a week.

The sales funnel salesforce dashboard chart reveals whether the pipeline shape is in proportion.
Here’s the thing about this chart. The shape never changes.

It doesn’t matter how big or how small your pipeline is. The outline funnel shape will always be the same size and shape on your dashboard.

So why bother with it?

Well, the answer is because of the value of the information the segments within the funnel give you.

If the sales funnel was in perfect shape, the value of the pipeline in each segment would get progressively smaller.

But that’s not always the case. In fact, if you look at our example, the value of deals in Investigation is less than the value in Customer Evaluating. In other words, the later Stage has more pipeline than the preceding Opportunity Stage.

Look also at the Prospecting Stage. A significant number of deals may be qualified out at this initial stage. So, should the Prospecting Stage be larger?

In other words, the chart is warning that your pipeline may be out of shape. Potentially we need to initiate marketing campaigns to boost the size of the early-stage funnel. We may also need to examine our qualification and investigation processes in order to move deals more effectively through the sales cycle.

Is the shape of the sales funnel chart in your business a cause for concern? Only you know the answer to that question within the context of your sales team.

But that’s why it’s a good chart to look at once a week.

Link to video demonstrating how to use the sales funnel salesforce dashboard chart.

 

More blog posts related to the sales funnel dashboard chart:

Big is Beautiful: 4 Easy Charts To Measure Pipeline Size. Demonstrates the sales funnel and other dashboard charts that measure pipeline size.

12 Must Have Charts For Your Salesforce Dashboard

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4) Top 10 Pipeline Accounts


In most companies, the sales team will be able to nominate immediately the top one or two prospects.

But what about the top 5? Or the top 10?

The Top Pipeline Accounts table shows customers and prospects ranked by total pipeline. This helps managers and salespeople in prioritize their time. It means salesperson effort, time and other resources is focused on areas where it is likely to have the greatest impact.

Prioritize salesperson time and effort using the Accounts with most pipeline salesforce dashboard chart.Displaying the information on a dashboard table is a good way of focusing attention on the top Accounts. Limit the dashboard table results to the top 5, 10 or 15. Then on the underlying report, list all Accounts with Open Opportunities.

In our example, we can see that High Hill Estates has the greatest amount of pipeline. In fact, it has twice as much sales pipeline as the next nearest Account.

Are we proactively managing the relationship with this Account? Is a robust key account management plan in place? Do we understanding their buying process? Have relationships been established at multiple levels? Has a clear close plan been established and validated with the customer for each opportunity?

The underlying report shows the constituent Opportunities for each Account. Can a large, single deal be done if the report reveals the total figure for High Hill Estates comprises multiple, separate opportunities? Indeed, if the CEO has time to visit only one Account, let’s make it this one.

In short, the Top 10 Pipeline Accounts dashboard table and report provide the essential information that helps executives prioritize the companies’ sales, account management and business development activities.

And don’t forget, like any other dashboard chart, replicate the table at territory, team and individual salesperson level to prioritize activity at all levels in your sales organization.

Link to video demonstrating how to use the Top 10 Accounts salesforce dashboard chart.

 

More blog posts related to the Top 10 Accounts salesforce dashboard chart:

How To Build Key Account Plans In Salesforce. Demonstrates examples of key account planning within salesforce.

Stop Guessing, Start Measuring Key Accounts. Reports and salesforce dashboard charts that measure key account performance.

5) Long-Term Pipeline Trend


Dashboard chart numbers 2 to 4 describe the sales pipeline as it stands right now.

But what about the trend in the size of the sales funnel over time? Is the pipeline increasing or decreasing in size?

The Sales Pipeline As-At chart gives us the answer. It measures the size of the pipeline ‘As-At’ the 1st of each month. As such, it shows the long-term trend in the size of the sales pipeline.

The Long Term Pipeline trend dashboard chart shows the size of the sales pipeline on the first day of each month.Grouping the information by Historical Stage gives additional insight on the make-up of the sales pipeline. It allows us to understand the overall trend by Opportunity Stage.

In our example, the pipeline has been growing over recent months. This is largely due to a significant increase in deals in the Prospecting Stage. That’s good news. Do we understand why it has happened?

We may also want to investigate why the size of the pipeline in the Customer Evaluating and Negotiation Stages has declined. Are the sales team having trouble moving deals through the sales process? Was the pipeline created over the last few months of the right quality?

The As-At Pipeline chart has a little sister. It’s called Opportunities with Historical Trending. This chart measures the short-term trend in the pipeline. For example, the trend in the size of the pipeline over the last 4 weeks.

Use the dashboard charts in tandem to understand the trend in the size of the pipeline. The As-At report gives the big picture – it tells whether efforts to grow the pipeline in the long-run are effective. The Historical Trending chart demonstrates whether short-term initiatives to boost funnel size are successful.

Link to video demonstrating how to use the Pipeline Trend salesforce dashboard chart.

 

More blog posts related to the Pipeline Trend salesforce dashboard charts:

Measure The Trend In Your Sales Pipeline. Demonstrates the Long-Term Pipeline Trend and Short-Term Pipeline Trend salesforce dashboard charts in action.

6) Open Opportunities by Created Date


Size isn’t everything. Quality matters too.

Here’s a simple but effective way to assess pipeline quality. It’s the Open Opportunities by Created Date dashboard chart.The Pipeline by Created Date dashboard chart is an excellent way of examining the age and quality of the sales pipeline.The chart shows the existing funnel, summarized by Created Month and current Stage. You may also want to create a similar report and dashboard chart that summarizes the information by Created Month and Opportunity Owner.

Let’s say it typically takes three months to close a deal in your business. If there are significant number of opportunities open much longer than this, then are these genuine, viable deals?

As such, the chart and underlying report give executives the information they need to start the process of validating the sales pipeline.

In our example, let’s assume we are in January 2017 and that our sales cycle is typically 3 months. What about the opportunities opened in February, March and April 2016? Are we confident they are legitimate opportunities? Did the Close Dates shift regularly simply to maintain the size of the pipeline? What action should we take to bring these deals to fruition?

Reviewing the pipeline by Created Date is a simple, but effective way of identifying potentially dormant deals in your pipeline. But it also gives valuable information on how much pipeline is being created month-on-month.

Look again at our example chart. Progressively less pipeline was created over the last 3 months of the year. Should we be concerned about this? Perhaps it’s due to a strong focus by the sales team on closing existing deals before the end of the year. On the other hand, is it an early warning that we may have insufficient pipeline to meet our sales targets in Q1 2017?

Either way, we may need to implement marketing and business development initiatives to correct the trend.

Link to video demonstrating how to use the Open Opportunities by Created Date salesforce dashboard chart.

 

More blog posts related to the Opportunities by Created Date salesforce dashboard chart:

How To Tell If Your Sales Funnel Is Emitting Warning Signals. salesforce dashboard charts that indicate the pipeline may contain ageing deals of low quality.

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7) Pipeline Quality Metrics Table


If you want to predict tomorrow’s weather here is the most statistically reliable way to do it. Whatever the weather is like today, forecast that is how it will be tomorrow.

Sales deals are similar.

Deals that are stuck today will probably be stuck tomorrow. Opportunities that slipped last month are more likely to slip this month.

Here are three pipeline quality metrics that act as a barometer for managers and salespeople.

Three metrics on the salesforce dashboard highlight deals that are likely to slip from one month to another and result in the sales forecast being missed.

1. Number of Close Date Month extensions. This counts the number of times the Opportunity Close Date has shifted from one month to another.

2. Number of Days Since The Last Stage Change. This is the number of days since the Opportunity Stage was last updated.

3. Number of Days Open. This is the number of days the Opportunity has been open. The clock stops counting when the deal is Won or Lost.

Display the information in a dashboard table. In our example, we are showing the metrics for the top 10 deals due to close this month, ranked by the number of days they have been open.

This is high impact stuff. The table is a powerful way to draw the eye to deals due to close this month that need to be scrutinized.

Are we relying on these deals to hit our sales quota this month? How confident can we be that each opportunity will not slip to another month? Will the sales cycle complete satisfactorily on those deals not updated for a significant period? That may be unlikely.

Use the table to improve the accuracy of sales forecasts. The three pipeline quality metrics do not give the answer in themselves. But they do give a heavy hint on which deals should be reviewed and need an urgent action plan.

Link to video demonstrating how to use the Pipeline Quality Metrics salesforce dashboard chart.

 

More blog posts related to the Pipeline Quality Metrics dashboard table:

3 Killer Pipeline Metrics That Highlight When To Be Sceptical. Explains how to use the three metrics to identify deals that might slip from your sales forecast for this month.

8) Opportunity Conversion Ratios / Win Rates


A small increase in Opportunity conversion rates has a disproportionately high impact on overall sales revenue.

That’s why measuring opportunity conversion ratios / win rates is critical.

The opportunity conversion rate salesforce dashboard chart shows the win rate by salesperson for each month of the year.

The Opportunity Conversion Ratio / Win Rate chart shows the percentage win rate over time. It does this in two ways:

  • Win Rate by Amount.
  • Win Rate by Count.

Measuring the win rate in both ways means we can understand whether salespeople are more effective at closing higher value or lower value deals.

In our example, the win rate by Amount is higher in most months. This means we successfully closed a greater proportion of large value deals compared to smaller opportunities.

In September and October, the situation reversed. The team successfully closed a greater proportion of lower value deals.

Did the sales team lose focus on the higher value deals? Did we discount more heavily during these months? Or did we have new joiners that had less experience with larger deals?

The underlying report gives detail about win rates at the individual salesperson level. This is crucial information for identifying coaching, training and support needs.

Nevertheless, be careful. An over-emphasis on win rates can have unwanted consequences. Do not risk encouraging sales people to leave opportunities out of the pipeline until a deal is on the table (i.e. sandbagging).

Conversely, don’t discourage salespeople from setting deals to Closed Lost when opportunities no longer have legs. You need an accurate pipeline, not one full of dormant deals that salespeople are afraid to close-out.

Link to video demonstrating how to use the Opportunity Conversion Rate salesforce dashboard chart.

 

More blog posts related to the Conversion Rate salesforce dashboard chart:

How To Use Opportunity Conversion Rates For Superior Results. More in-depth examples of how to use conversion rates and opportunity win rates for effective sales performance management.

How To Measure Opportunity Win Rates Across Teams. Examples of dashboard charts that compare team and pan-company conversion rates.

9) Average size of Closed Won Deals


Recent research with one of our customers shows a 65% variation in average deal size between salespeople in one team.

That is a huge range.

All salespeople are working comparable territories. And selling the same products to similar customers.

Increasing the average deal size for salespeople at the lower end of the scale was a business development priority for this company. Addressing this issue resulted in increased sales revenue without any increase in the number of deals in the pipeline.

This salesforce dashboard chart shows the average size of closed won opportunities for each salesperson.

Many things explain variations in average deal size. These include differences in experience between salespeople, variations in the average number of products sold per opportunity and different levels of discounting by sales teams.

These are challenges that our customer addressed through training, coaching, personal development and adjustments to sales process and pricing strategy.

Nevertheless, unless you quantify this essential metric you will lack the information needed at salesperson level to identify the right course of action to boost revenue.

Link to video demonstrating how to use the Average Deal Size salesforce dashboard chart.

 

More blog posts related to the Average Deal Size salesforce dashboard chart:

Why You Need To Compare Average Closed Won Opportunity Size. Additional information on using average deal size metrics to identify potential improvements in sales performance. Includes examples of how Opportunity Products can be analyzed to understand which salespeople need to add more optional or non-core products to their deals.

12 Must Have Charts For Your Salesforce Dashboard

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10) Completed Activities per Salesperson


Sales deals do not close themselves. Pipelines do not grow automatically.

Tracking the number of completed sales Activities can provide valuable insight to explain varying levels of sales performance. Review Activity reports in conjunction with the other dashboard charts outlined in this eBook to analyse trends and variations in sales performance.

Sales deals don't close themselves so use the Completed Activities dashboard chart to track salesperson effort in winning opportunities.

In our example, there is an upward trend in the number of Activities completed by the sales team. That’s a positive sign. Indeed, the increase in Activity volume by Sarah may be a strong contributory factor in the improvement in her sales performance over the year that we saw on other charts.

However, we can also see that there are variations in the number of Activities completed by each salesperson. Shaun and Peter have recorded significantly lower levels of Activity compared to Sarah and Dave.

Consider tracking Activity levels by salespeople in several different ways. For example, compare activity with new customers versus existing customers. This will show whether the activities undertaken by salespeople are consistent with the overall sales strategy.

Improve the effectiveness of this dashboard chart by making two small configuration changes in salesforce.

First, modify the Activity Type picklist to values that suit your business. Make the field mandatory, This will provide additional insight on the type of activities that salespeople are completing.

Second, make the Due Date mandatory. This means activities will always be associated with a date. This is essential for producing dashboard charts that accurately count the number of activities completed each month.

Link to video demonstrating how to use the Activities salesforce dashboard chart.

 

More blog posts related to the Activities salesforce dashboard chart:

How To Spot Key Accounts You Should Be Focusing On. Explains how to use Activity Reports and dashboard charts to identify key accounts that need a renewed focus.

11) Leaking Funnel Report


Every sales funnel leaks. That’s the nature of the game. It’s why the traditional sales pipeline chart is shaped like a funnel.

But there’s two things that sales managers need to know about funnel leakage. Is the funnel leaking excessively? And is it leaking in the right place? The Leaking Funnel report tells you both of these things.Use the leaking funnel salesforce dashboard chart to analyze deals that have been lost from the sales pipeline.This dashboard chart measures the number of times Opportunities have moved to Closed Lost from each preceding Opportunity Stage. In our chart, it does this for deals that have been set to Closed Lost in the last 120 days.

For example, the dashboard chart shows that 8 Opportunities have moved from Prospecting, directly to Closed Lost.

All other things being equal, it is good that the first Opportunity Stage has the largest number of Opportunities that move to Closed Lost.

This implies we are qualifying-out deals we are unlikely to win. It means salespeople are not wasting time, effort and resources chasing deals when there is no clear competitive advantage.

However, look at the Negotiation Stage. Five Opportunities went directly from Negotiation to Closed Lost.

Again – all other things being equal – that movement in Opportunity Stage is bad news. It means we invested a considerable amount of time and effort moving the deal through the sales cycle, only to lose the opportunity at the last moment.

Of course, we need further investigation on the movement from Negotiation to Closed Lost before deciding on the right course of action. Is the trend attributable to one particular salesperson? How does the data compare for existing versus new customers? Does it apply only to opportunities with certain product groups?

Link to video demonstrating how to use the Leaking Funnel salesforce dashboard chart.

 

More blog posts related to the Leaking Funnel salesforce dashboard chart:

3 Steps To Plug A Leaking Sales Funnel In The Right Place. How to measure where and when the sales funnel is leaking in order to take the right action.

12) Sales Performance versus Target


Measuring sales performance against target is a fundamental aspect of managing a sales team.

However, there is no Target tab in salesforce.

So how do you measure sales versus target or quota? Well, there are three ways to do this in salesforce.

  • Use a gauge on a dashboard.
  • Use the Forecasts tab.
  • Use the GSP target tracker solution.

It’s the first of those options we illustrate here.There are three ways to track sales performance against target in salesforce; the dashboard gauge is the quickest and easiest to implement.The dashboard gauge runs from a report that measures Closed Won opportunities. Manually calibrate the red, amber and green settings within the dashboard chart settings.

The dashboard gauge option is quick and easy to implement. The downside, compared to the other two options, is that it provides no insight on whether there is sufficient pipeline to meet the sales target next month or this quarter.

Separate gauges need to be used to track performance versus target for each individual salesperson and sales team.

The Forecasts Tab provides advanced functionality for target tracking, including the ability of managers to override their subordinates targets. It is, however, relatively complex to operate and salespeople and managers need significant training to use it effectively.

The GSP Target Tracker App provides easy-to-understand charts and additional metrics to measure sales versus target. It also automates the forecasting process and avoids the need for sales people to create or update manual sales forecasts. The App also allows sales managers and salespeople to determine whether there is sufficient pipeline to meet target for this month and future months.

Link to video demonstrating how to use the Target gauge salesforce dashboard chart.

 

More blog posts related to the Target Gauge salesforce dashboard chart:

3 Ways To Measure Sales Versus Target in Salesforce. Explains the options for measuring sales performance against target in salesforce – dashboard gauge, Forecasts tab and the Target Tracker.

Is Your Sales Funnel Big Enough To Make Your Revenue Target. Using a custom solution such as the Target Tracker to measure expected revenue against target.

Track Sales Performance And Pipeline Versus Target

Find out more and watch the video

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Recorded Webinar | 12 Must-Have Salesforce Dashboard Charts

Join Gary Smith, CEO of The Gary Smith Partnership and Senior Consultant Dan Bailey. Gary and Dan demonstrate the 12 charts in action and the contribution each makes to performance improvement and pipeline management.

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If You Only Use One Sales Pipeline Chart In 2017, Make It This One!

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3 Ways To Measure Performance Against Sales Target In Salesforce In 2017

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If You Only Use One Sales Pipeline Chart In 2017, Make It This One!

If You Only Use One Sales Pipeline Chart In 2017, Make It This One!

Nothing more useful to a sales manager than a sales pipeline chart that gives a comprehensive view of the funnel.

That’s exactly what the Pipeline by Month and Opportunity Stage sales pipeline chart gives you.

It’s my absolute favourite in our 12 Must-Have Salesforce Dashboard Charts. In fact, if I could only have one sales pipeline chart then it would be this one.

And guess what? You don’t even have to build it yourself. Download our free GSP Sales Dashboard package from the AppExchange and you can install all 12 sales pipeline charts in your own salesforce environment.

So here it is. It’s the sales pipeline chart shows the Pipeline by Close Date and Opportunity Stage.

This sales pipeline chart gives robust visibility of the funnel on a salesforce dashboard.

The chart shows the value of opportunities due to close each month. Within each month, we can see where those deals are in terms of the Opportunity Stage and the sales process.

Let’s assume we are in the middle of October right now.

We can see that in this month, there is £600k worth of Opportunities due to close. This value is split by the various Opportunity Stages. In salesforce, hover over each Stage for additional detail.

This is powerful information from a management point of view. It gives sales executives the essential information they need to manage the sales pipeline effectively. The underlying report facilitates accurate forecasting. Dud deals can be identified. And the sales pipeline chart helps to prevent that all too common problem, an over-inflated sales pipeline.

Current month pipeline strength

Let’s stick with our assumption that we’re in the middle of October right now. And, in this case, let’s assume our typical sales cycle is 3 months.

As a sales manager looking at my October projected revenue, I want to know just how robust the October pipeline really is.

The sales pipeline chart shows the value of deals due to close this month, split by opportunity stage.

Those deals that are in Prospecting, for example. If our average sales cycle is three months, are we confident those deals on the sales pipeline chart will close this month? Should some of them be at a more advanced Stage? Do the close dates need to be moved to a later month? Have the close dates on some of this opportunities slipped from one month to another before?

The same with the Investigation and Proposal Made Stages. Are we really going to close these opportunities this month? If not, then our October pipeline is significantly over-inflated.

December pipeline strength

Let’s look at another month in the sales pipeline chart.

What about those deals in the negotiation stage in December? Is it really going to take us three months to close these deals? Is there anything we can do to bring them forward?

The sales pipeline chart shows deals scheduled to close in December.

In fact, looking at the sales pipeline chart for December, we have a lot of funnel value that’s due to close. But just how robust is that? Are these deals in December because the financial year of many customers ends that month? If so, we can legitimately expect many deals to get completed in the run up to Christmas?

Have many of the opportunities due to close in December been sitting in our pipeline for a long time? Have sales people entered December as the close date on the basis that (hopefully) the opportunity is “bound to be closed” sometime during the year?

If that is the case, then the December pipeline is nowhere near as strong as we might hope.

January pipeline strength

The sales pipeline chart shows there’s a dip in the size of the funnel in January.

The sales pipeline chart shows there's a dip in the size of the pipeline for January.

Is this due to legitimate seasonal variation? Or is it something we should be concerned about? As a sales manager, do I need to start organizing some marketing campaigns now, with a view to boosting the pipeline 3 or 4 months from now?

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Deals due to close before today

Let’s stick with our assumption that right now we’re in the middle of October.

What are these deals doing here on the sales pipeline chart? The ones with the close date in September.

Opportunities with a close date earlier than today are revealed on the sales pipeline chart.

Unless you have a time turner, these deals aren’t going to close in September!

But we see this very often. Open opportunities with close dates in the past. Either those deals have already closed and the opportunity stage hasn’t been updated. Or, the close date needs to be moved because they are still open.

A case in point. Colin Parish, VP of Sales at Moderna downloaded the dashboard package containing the sales pipeline chart. But Colin’s chart didn’t look like our beautiful example, based on his own sales data. That’s because Colin’s funnel was full of opportunities with close dates in the past. Read how Colin solved this problem.

Underlying report for the sales pipeline chart

Let’s go down to the underlying report.

The report provides more detail than we saw in the sales pipeline dashboard chart.

The report provides more detail than we saw in the sales pipeline dashboard chart. The report data shows the specific value of opportunities that are due to close by month, by each opportunity stage.

Like any other report, we can click on the Show Details button to see the underlying opportunities.

Like any other report, we can click on the Show Details button to see the underlying opportunities.

Now we can start to interrogate the individual opportunities that make up the chart and report data.

Right click on any opportunity to open it in a new tab. This way you can examine the individual opportunity details, whilst still retaining the open report.

Sales Pipeline Chart Video

The sales pipeline chart and underlying report give sales managers robust visibility of the funnel, in a meaningful and useful way.

And of course like any other chart, it doesn’t just need to be visible to managers. Team leaders and individual sales reps can manage their own pipeline, using this exact same sales pipeline chart.

In the video below I explain how to use the sales pipeline dashboard chart and the underlying pipeline report to manage the funnel effectively.

Create the Sales Pipeline Chart

If you don’t want to download the full 12 Must-Have Salesforce Dashboard Charts, then here are step-by-step instructions for creating this salesforce dashboard pipeline chart and underling pipeline report.

  1. Start on the reports tab, click new report then select an Opportunities report.
  2. Adjust the basic filters. Set Opportunity Status to Open. Set the time Range to All Time.
  3. Set the Format to be a Matrix report by clicking on Tabular Format.
  4. On the left hand side chose Opportunity Stage.
  5. Across the top of the report chose Close Date. Adjust the date format to Group By calendar month.
  6. Pull the Amount field into the body of the report.
  7. Click on the Show link to remove the record count. Repeat the process to set the report to Hide Details.
  8. Run the report to check that it looks the way you expect.
  9. Now create a chart directly in the report. Click on Add Chart in the Customize section.
  10. Choose the vertical bar chart.
  11. On the Y axis select the Opportunity Amount.
  12. On the X axis select the Close Date.
  13. In the Group by, select Opportunity Stage.
  14. Now choose the stacked bar chart.
  15. Click on the Formatting tab. Put the legend below the chart. Enable the hover. And put the chart below the report.
  16. Now run the report and check your chart.
  17. Save the report (remember, not in your Personal Folder, no-one else will be able to see it).
  18. Click on the dashboard tab and select the dashboard to which you want to add the chart.
  19. Click on Edit on the Dashboard.
  20. Drag a bar chart from the left hand pane onto the dashboard.
  21. In the Data Sources tab, find the report you want to use for the dashboard. Drag it onto the component you’ve just added to the dashboard.
  22. Rather than creating a new chart within the dashboard, let’s pull in the chart we’ve already created on the report. Click on the spanner symbol on the chart. Tick the checkbox, ‘Use chart ad defined in source report’.
  23. Finally give it a header and a title so that people know exactly what they’re looking at.

If in doubt watch the video – I demonstrate fully how to create the report and dashboard chart.

Related Blog Posts

12 Must-Have Salesforce Dashboard Charts | With Video And Examples

3 Ways To Measure Performance Against Sales Target In Salesforce In 2017

How To Stop ‘Closed Lost’ Screwing Up Salesforce Dashboards

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3 Ways To Measure Performance Against Sales Target In Salesforce In 2017

3 Ways To Measure Performance Against Sales Target In Salesforce In 2017

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Many frustrated people have looked for the Target tab in salesforce.

Don’t waste your time. It does not exist.

Yet measuring performance against sales target is a critical activity in running a sales team. Isn’t it?

Fortunately there ARE ways to measure performance against sales target in salesforce.

In fact, it goes deeper than that.

We need to know how the company, sales teams and individual reps performed historically against their sales targets. But we also need to know whether there’s enough pipeline to meet the target this month or next month or next quarter.

Without this information, you are flying blind.

That is an uncomfortable position. As the pilot, it means you cannot adjust the controls and take action to make sure the sales target will be hit.

For example, if you know there is enough pipeline to meet next month’s sales target then focus the team, first and foremost, on closing existing deals.

On the other hand, if there is insufficient pipeline you have a different challenge. You need to close the deals that do exist. But the sales team also need to find new pipeline simply to have enough to go at.

So measuring performance against both historic and future sales targets is essential. Here are the options for doing this in salesforce.

There are three ways to measure performance versus sales target in salesforce. We explain how each one works, its pros and cons and when its the best solution.

By the way, if you like Option 3 then get in touch. We have a package that is easy to implement for this.

12 Must Have Charts For Your Salesforce Dashboard

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Options for measuring sales targets in salesforce

Here are the three options. They provide salespeople and managers with different levels of information. We’ve described the options and given pointers to indicate the situation in which each is appropriate.

Option 1 – Dashboard Gauge

Use a salesforce dashboard gauge to indicate overall achievement against sales target.
Salesforce dashboard gauge is a simple way to measure performance against sales target.

The arrow indicator shows the current sales performance. Use the red, amber and green segments to set relevant break-points. For example, amber to represent 80% target achievement, green for 100% sales target achievement.

Feed the gauge using an underlying matrix or summary report. The report simply needs to summarize the value of deals won over the relevant period of time.

Pros of the gauge approach

  • The report and gauge are simple and easy to set up.
  • The gauge is easy on the eye.
  • It’s a quick and powerful summary of sales performance against target.

Cons of the gauge approach

  • It is a blunt instrument. For example, if the gauge is at the company level, there’s no visibility of individual rep or sales team performance against sales target.
  • The breakpoint values must be manually re-calibrated for each target period. If the target next month is different to this month, the breakpoints need to be modified.
  • Pipeline deals are not shown. This means we don’t know if there’s enough funnel to meet the sales target for next month. There’s nothing to tell us, for example, if 30% of pipeline deals are won whether the target will be hit.

It’s the right choice if

  • You need to set something up quickly.
  • You need a Board-level chart to summarize performance.
  • You only need to measure top level performance against sales target. Alternatively if you are prepared to invest the time you can set up similar gauges for individual salespeople and teams.
  • Sales targets are the same for each time period. Breakpoints don’t need to be modified each month or quarter. (Or remembering to re-set the red, amber and green breakpoint values on a monthly basis isn’t going to be a problem).

The dashboard gauge is a viable option for relatively straightforward target measurement. It’s a simplistic solution. On the other hand, if you need to set up a sales target reporting mechanism in the next 5 minutes then this is the option to go for.

Remember, use the gauge in conjunction with other dashboard charts and reports to gain full visibility of the sales performance and pipeline.

Option 2 – Salesforce Forecasts Tab

The Forecasts tab is a sophisticated and advanced way of tracking performance versus sales target.

The Forecasts Tab is an advanced and sophisticated way to track performance against sales target.

View Closed Won opportunities that contribute to sales target achievement in the Forecasts tab.

Pipeline deals are also included. These opportunities are categorized to indicate how likely they are to close successfully. Managers have important information on the strength of the funnel and the extent to which sales targets will be hit.

Managers can also override the forecasts made by their direct reports. This means they can adjust the overall forecast to balance excessive optimism or pessimism of salespeople.

There is a downside. The Forecasts tab is a relatively complex piece of functionality. Training and coaching is needed to help both salespeople and managers use it to full advantage.

Pros of the Forecasts Tab

  • Set targets at individual, team, company and product family level.
  • Track performance against sales target based on opportunity category including won, committed, pipeline and best-case deals.
  • Allow managers to override forecasts submitted by their direct reports and modify the projected performance against target for their team.
  • Review forecast history to learn from forecasts submitted in the past.
  • Drill down from the top level forecast to examine performance against sales target at individual rep and team level.

Cons of the Forecasts Tab

  • The Forecasts tab is relatively complex to set up and use.
  • It requires detailed training for sales reps and their managers.
  • Salespeople must update their individual forecasts in order for the overall forecast to have meaning. This means a high level of commitment is required across the team to get the full benefits.

It’s the right choice if

  • You have sophisticated target measurement requirements.
  • Managers must be able to override the forecasts submitted by their salespeople.
  • The sales team is mature and already has a good level of salesforce user adoption.
  • The business is prepared to commit to appropriate training for salespeople and managers.

The salesforce Forecasts Tab provides robust target tracking and forecasting capabilities. However, bear in mind that successful roll-out means appropriate planning and configuration effort.

Option 3 – GSP Target Tracker

Many of our customers use the GSP Target Tracker to measure performance against sales target. We have created it as a managed package that can be easily implemented to any salesforce environment.

Much less training is needed for salespeople and managers to use the Tracker compared to the Forecasts Tab. The solution also takes away the need to manually create forecasts.

Closed won and pipeline deals are automatically linked to the relevant sales target. Targets can be measured against secured business and the anticipated revenue from funnel opportunities.

The GSP Target Tracker is easy to use and compares both closed won and pipeline deals to the sales target.

The sales targets are entered into a custom object for each sales person for each month. In the example above, we’re looking at the sales target for Michael Watson in April.

The lower portion of the screen shows the Opportunities that have been automatically linked to this target record. The Target Tracker does this by looking at the Close Date of the Opportunity and the Opportunity Owner. The Opportunity is then linked to the relevant target – in this case, Michael Watson’s target for April.

If the Close Date or the Opportunity Owner change the Opportunity is automatically unhooked and linked to the newly relevant target record.

The embedded chart on the left hand side of the page shows Michael’s target in blue, his Closed Won deals in green and the Expected Revenue of his April pipeline deals in orange. The purple bar shows that based on these numbers, Michael has a shortfall against his target.

The doughnut chart to right provides analysis of Michael’s April pipeline by Opportunity Stage. This means both Michael and his manager have clarity on the likelihood that his target will be achieved based on the pipeline deals.

Dashboard charts summarize company and team level information.

Drill down from dashboard charts to view performance against sales target at team and individual sales rep level.

The dashboard chart shows over / under performance against monthly sales target at the company or team level.

Drill down to the underlying report to view the sales rep target. This compares the sales target with the value of Closed Won deals, Expected Revenue from the pipeline.

Pros of the GSP Target Tracker

  • It’s easy for sales reps use. Opportunities are automatically linked to relevant targets.
  • Highly visual information on performance against target is provided.
  • Extensive drill down capability from company level performance to sales team and individual rep.
  • Assess the quality of the pipeline and its potential contribution to target achievement.
  • Easy to set up (implemented through a managed package).

Cons of the GSP Target Tracker

  • A (very reasonable!) license fee is payable.

It’s the right choice if

  • You need a powerful solution that is easier to use than the Forecasts tab.

Download a Powerpoint version of this blog post by viewing the accompanying SlideShare, How To Manage Sales Targets in Salesforce.

We have implemented each of the options described in this blog post for customers. Contact Us to find out more about applying each approach in your business.

Track Sales Performance And Pipeline Versus Target

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Recorded Webinar on sales targets in salesforce

Watch Gary Smith and Nick Ambrose demonstrate the three solutions in action.

Related Blog Posts

Why You Need To Compare Average Closed Won Opportunity Size

How to use opportunity conversion reports for superior results

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5 Easy Tips That Will Make Opportunity Probability Your Trusted Friend

5 Easy Tips That Will Make Opportunity Probability Your Trusted Friend

5 Easy Tips That Will Make Opportunity Probability Your Trusted Friend

Mr Opportunity Probability stands in the corner at parties.

Barely getting a second look.

Everyone knows he has to be invited. But no-one really wants to speak to him.

It would be better if he just went away.

But here’s the thing.

Opportunity Probability can be your friend. He’s actually much more interesting than you think.

“Used in the right way, Opportunity Probability will increase your forecasting accuracy and root out deals that should be qualified-out of the sales funnel.”

It’s just a matter of knowing what to do with him.

So let’s understand what that Opportunity Probability fellow is and why he’s so undervalued.

Then we can explain the 5 tips that will turn him into your valuable and trusted friend.

Opportunity Probability defined

Just in case, let’s be 100% clear what we’re talking about here.

Opportunity Probability is the standard field in salesforce (or any other CRM system for that matter) that quantifies the likelihood of winning an opportunity.

If the Opportunity Stage is Closed Won then the Opportunity Probability is 100%. If the Opportunity Stage is Closed Lost the Opportunity Probability is 0%.

If the opportunity is still open, then the Opportunity Probability is somewhere in between 1% and 99%.

Opportunity probability can help identify low quality deals and improve sales forecasting.

Why Opportunity Probability is disliked

In our experience, there are three reasons why sales executives don’t make the most of Opportunity Probability.

Understanding these reasons – and why they are not valid – is key to making the most of this metric.

Here they are.

Sales deals are binary

When all is said and done, the Opportunities are either Won or Lost. Not something in between.

(OK, only 70% of the value of the opportunity might be won but that’s because the customer beat down the price or didn’t purchase all of the products that had been on the opportunity. The deal is still 100% Won, just the Amount was reduced).

The binary nature of sales means some executives don’t see any value in setting an Opportunity Probability for pipeline deals.

But here’s the thing. No-one knows which deals are going to be won and which are going to be lost. (If they did, then there would be no point in having the deals that are going to be lost in the pipeline).

That means that once there’s a critical mass of opportunities – and that number can be quite low – Opportunity Probability can be used to calculate Expected Revenue (or Weighted Revenue if you prefer that term).

Expected Revenue is one proven way to create a robust sales revenue forecast. It’s not the only way. But used in conjunction with other methods, a sales forecast based on Expected Revenue will stand up to scrutiny from colleagues and internal peers.

Providing, of course, that the Opportunity Probability is accurate.

It can be hard to assess the probability of winning a deal

Often there are many unknowns with sales deals.

We can’t be sure what the customer is truly thinking. We don’t know what price our competitors are quoting. We don’t necessarily know which stakeholders are involved.

This means Opportunity Probabilities can be perceived as difficult to predict or having a spurious degree of accuracy. Is the probability of winning this deal 65%? Or 70%? Or some other figure?

However Opportunity Probabilities should be set based on evidence from the customer. This evidence indicates that a deal is more likely or less likely. Every sales process is different, so agree what constitutes positive and negative evidence in your market place.

More about this in Tip #2.

Opportunity Probabilities are locked to Opportunity Stages

Many salesforce users believe that Opportunities Probabilities are irrevocably linked to Opportunity Stage.

Actually they’re not. It just seems that way.

By default, when an Opportunity Stage is advanced, the probability is increased to the default value associated with that Opportunity Stage. Left untouched, the Opportunity Probability may, therefore, not be realistic on specific opportunities.

It’s not always recognized that the Opportunity Probability can be overwritten and adjusted for each opportunity. Use this flexibility to set a realistic Opportunity Probability on each deal.

5 tips to make Opportunity Probability your friend

So here are the five tips that will make Opportunity Probability your trusted friend.

 

1. Adjust the Opportunity Probability on each opportunity

Too often sales people and their managers regard the Opportunity Probability as fixed for any given Opportunity Stage.

As we’ve already mentioned, it isn’t.

Simply double-click on the field or Edit the Opportunity to set the value that’s right for that particular deal.

Sales people can edit the Opportunity Probability on each deal.

Make sure sales people understand how to adjust Opportunity Probabilities and why they need to.

 

2. Set Opportunity Probabilities based on customer evidence

Think about this situation for a moment.

Let’s say four companies are competing for a deal. They all have an Opportunity Stage of Investigation, with an Opportunity Probability of 25%.

All four companies submit their quote and move the Opportunity Stage to Customer Evaluating. Let’s say that Stage has a default probability of 30%.

So now the combined Opportunity Probability is 120%. Which, clearly, is nonsense.

In fact, the only thing that has happened is that the sales process – as perceived by each seller – has moved forward.

This happens all too often. The Opportunity Probability reflects the state-of-play in the selling process. It doesn’t say anything about the buying process.

So instead, base Opportunity Probabilities on evidence from the potential customer. Here are three examples of evidence from the customer that might warrant an increase in probability.

  • You are given preferential access to key stakeholders in order to conduct discovery.
  • After receiving four proposals, the customer selects you and one other for presentation.
  • The customer Sponsor communicates to colleagues that he or she prefers your proposal over the competitors.

Define and agree the customer and buyer behaviors in your specific market place that might indicate a positive intent from the prospect. Standardize and agree these across the sales team.

Admittedly, setting Opportunity Probabilities based on customer evidence is more difficult than simply relying on the default Stage values. But it encourages sales people to think through the sales process and to seek out customer commitment. That in itself, increases the likelihood of a successful sales outcome.

 

3. Use non-standard Opportunity Probability values

No-one mandates that increments of 5 or 10 have to be used in Opportunity Probabilities.

Here’s what a highly successful VP of Sales at one of our customers says to his team.

“I know the chance of winning this deal is 50:50. But use your instinct. Set the Opportunity Probability to 49% or 51%. I want to know which side of the fence you’re on.”

Not every 51% deal is won and not every 49% deal is lost. But the act of coming down on one side or the other encourages thought and analysis.

This blog post is about getting benefit from the Opportunity Probability field that is used in salesforce and most other CRM systems.

In this business, managers work through each deal with the sales executives to coach them on driving the buying process forward. This dialogue – assisted by the Opportunity Probability – contributes to conversion rates well above industry norms for our customer.

 

4. Set realistic default values for each Opportunity Stage

We’ve talked about setting an individual Opportunity Probability for each Opportunity. But the default Opportunity Probabilities associated with each Stage still have a role to play.

These default values should reflect the norm for your business.

Set realistic default opportunity probability values for each Opportunity Stage.

They provide a benchmark for sales people to adjust the Opportunity Probabilities on individual deals.

If the Opportunity Probability is above the benchmark, can it be justified? If it’s below, can the sales approach be improved?

But here’s our experience.

In many cases, the default Opportunity Probabilities set by companies on the early Opportunity Stages are too low. And the default values set on the latter Stages are too high.

Take a hard look at the default Opportunity Probability values in your salesforce environment. Discuss them in a team meeting. Reach agreement on the right values for your business based on experience and input from the sales team.

 

5. Automatically set Opportunity Probabilities based on historical outcomes

Thus far we’ve talked about the standard Opportunity Probability field in salesforce.

But what if you could automatically set the Opportunity Probability field based on past experience?

That would mean the probability is automatically set depending on factors such as:

  • New versus existing customer.
  • Historical sales person performance.
  • Size of the deal.
  • Region or geographical territory.
  • Products associated with the opportunity.

We’ve implemented exactly that functionality for a number of GSP customers.

In summary, historical opportunity probabilities in a custom object. A piece of code then automatically updates a custom Opportunity Probability field on the Opportunity. The probability in the custom field is based on the outcome of historical opportunities that match the current opportunity.

The custom probability field is automatically updated based on the historical data that shows how likely a deal is to close.

Our customers who use this solution still use the standard Opportunity Probability field. This means the sales person can set a different value to the probability that has been automatically set. It has proven to be an invaluable facilitator of discussion between the sales person and his sales coach or manager.

Don’t hesitate to get in touch if you’d like to see this solution in action.

“If you’ve left Mr Opportunity Probability alone in the corner up to now then this is the time to bring him out into the open.”

Used in the right way, Opportunity Probability encourages sales people to think through their opportunities. It facilitates discussion between managers and sales people. It enables accurate forecasting based on Expected Revenue.

It does, in short, lead to superior sales results. It’s just a matter of knowing what to do with him.

Related Blog Posts

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Why You Need To Compare Average Closed Won Opportunity Size

How To Spot Neglected Accounts You Should Be Focusing On

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Big is beautiful: The 4 easy dashboard charts you need to measure pipeline size

Big is beautiful: The 4 easy dashboard charts you need to measure pipeline size

Size matters.

Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

Big is beautiful. At least when it comes to pipeline size.

That’s all other things being equal, of course. Bigger is better, assuming the sales pipeline only contains deals of the right quality. To make sure this is the case, there are a number of dashboard charts and reports that accurately measure sales pipeline quality.

So, here are the four salesforce dashboard charts and underlying reports that accurately measure the size of the sales pipeline.

1. Pipeline size by Close Date and Stage

If you only create one pipeline size dashboard chart then make it this one. It’s the starting point for any funnel review focused on pipeline size.

Salesforce dashboard chart showing pipeline size by month and stage.

The dashboard chart shows the size of the pipeline by Close Date. The individual segments group the pipeline size by Opportunity Stage.

Why this chart is useful

Use this chart to assess the size and strength of the pipeline, both near term and into the future.

Here are three examples of the insights this chart gives.

  • Pipeline size this month. The dashboard chart in our example shows the pipeline for September is £2.5M. Let’s assume the typical sales cycle is 3 months. In which case, we need to confirm how many of those deals in the Prospecting Stage can be relied upon to successfully close this month.
  • Negotiation Pipeline. October and November both have deals at the Negotiation Stage. Is it really going to take several months to conclude these opportunities? Maybe. But it is also probably worth investigating whether these deals can be brought forward to boost this months’ revenue.
  • End of year pipeline. December shows an upturn in the size of the pipeline. We need to know if this is realistic. Is there a compelling reason why more deals will close this month? Sometimes December 31st is entered into opportunities on the basis of, “well, it’s bound to close sometime this year”. If so, then the December pipeline size is overstated.

If you like the sound of this dashboard chart that measures pipeline size then read “If You Only Create One Chart Make It This One” (video included).

Incidentally if you have the same problem as Colin Parish – lots of opportunities with close dates in the past – here’s what to do about it.

2. Standard funnel size dashboard chart

This chart shows the pipeline size in the form of a traditional sales funnel.

Opportunity funnel dashboard chart showing total sales pipeline.

It’s often the first chart that gets created on the dashboard because it’s the one that resembles a traditional funnel.

Why this chart is useful

Actually, we have mixed views about this chart.

The funnel chart is a good way to check whether the pipeline is in proportion.

In the chart above, for example, the value of deals in the Investigating Stage and Customer Evaluating Stage is almost identical. This suggests a shortage of pipeline in the earlier Investigating Stage. It’s highlighting that the funnel is out of kilter.

Here’s another example. Look at the funnel size chart below.

Pipeline size displayed on a funnel dashboard chart highlighting that there is a shortage of early-stage opportunities.

The total pipeline is exactly the same. But the pipeline is short of deals at the first Opportunity Stage, Prospecting. Again, it’s highlighting a sales revenue problem down the road.

But there’s several things to watch out for with this chart.

First, there’s not time context with this chart. It shows the total size of the pipeline, irrespective of when those deals are likely to close.

Second, the shape of the dashboard chart doesn’t vary with the amount of pipeline at each Stage. What does vary is the height of the slices and the numbers within them.

So be careful. This pipeline size dashboard chart is a good one to eyeball every week. It describes whether the total pipeline is in proportion. And that’s a good reason to have it on your dashboard.

12 Must Have Charts For Your Salesforce Dashboard

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3. Pipeline size dashboard metrics

When is a dashboard chart not a chart? When it’s a dashboard Metric.

Here’s an example of what we mean.

Dashboard metric showing total pipeline size.

A salesforce dashboard metric gives a single total figure that it pulls from the underlying report.

So, to easily view the total size of the pipeline, use a metric.

Here are two other examples. First, the total value of open opportunities due to close this month.

Dashboard metric showing total pipeline size due to close this month.

And second, the size of the pipeline due to close next month.

Dashboard metric showing total pipeline size due to close next month.

What it’s good for

Dashboard metrics give an immediate understanding of the overall size of the pipeline.

In the example above, if you know your sales target for next month £0.5M, then all other things being equal, you’re probably in good shape. If the target is £1.5M you’ve got a problem. But least you know there’s a problem, and that gives you chance to do something about it.

4. Trend in the size of the pipeline

This chart measures the trend in the size of the pipeline. It’s called the As-At Historical Pipeline Trend report and dashboard chart.

As-At dashboard chart that displays the size of the pipeline on the 1st day of each month.

The chart shows the size of the pipeline As-At the first day of each month. We can see here that the month-on-month trend is positive. The pipeline is getting bigger.

What it’s good for

Effective sales managers know the size of the pipeline at any point in time.

But they also know the trend in the size of the pipeline. The trend tells them whether they are doing the right things. Moving in the right direction. Making headway.

This dashboard chart also comes with a little sister that measures the trend in pipeline size on a daily and weekly basis. Read this blog post to find out more about pipeline size trend dashboard charts.

Pipeline size salesforce dashboard

Here’s what a salesforce dashboard might look like with these four charts that measure sales pipeline size.

Salesforce dashboard chart that gives management insight into the pipeline and funnel size.

The dashboard charts give sales executives the essential information on pipeline size. And the bigger the size of the pipeline, the more you are likely to sell.

All other things being equal.

But size is no good without high quality. It’s important to identify which deals need to be questioned in terms of close dates. That’s why we’ve also published blog posts that demonstrate specific dashboard charts to measure the quality of deals in the sales funnel. Combine with the pipeline quality charts with pipeline size charts to get the complete management picture.

For help with all things dashboards, of course, don’t hesitate to get in touch.

 

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Why You Need To Compare Average Closed Won Opportunity Size

5 Tips To Increase Average Deal Size Using Salesforce

5 Tips To Increase Average Deal Size Using Salesforce

You might think there’s not much that can be done to increase average deal size.

Other than apply good old fashioned sales skills.

But you’d be wrong.

In fact there are 5 things that can be done in salesforce to help increase average deal size and drive revenue.

  • Compare average deal size across sales people.
  • Measure the number of optional products on opportunities.
  • Make it easier to find and add optional products to opportunities.
  • Get a grip of discounts.
  • Create product bundles.

Let’s explain how each one works in salesforce and look at the relevant dashboard charts.

1. Compare average deal size across sales people.

As the saying goes, what gets measured gets managed.

The mere presence of a dashboard chart indicates that average deal size is important.

Compare the average deal size across sales people to communicate that this sales metric is important.

This is the most basic way to measure average deal size but it adds major value. By comparing the average deal size by sales person, the chart:

  • Tells sales people this is a metric that is important.
  • Helps identify training needs.
  • Highlights successful people from whom we can learn.
  • Provides factual information that can be used in 1.1s and reviews.

It’s a simple and easy dashboard chart to create. Simply create a standard opportunities report and summarize the Amount by Average rather than Sum.

Start comparing average deal size across sales people today.

2. Measure the number of optional products per opportunity

On most opportunities there are one or more core products.

It’s these products that comprise the bulk of the opportunity sales value.

But there are often a number of optional products that can be added. Optional products might include additional enhancements, complimentary product features and service and support contracts.

And guess what? There are often two characteristics of optional products.

First, they tend to come under less price challenge than core products. And second, the margin on optional products is often higher than on core products.

Adding more optional products to opportunities is a critical way to increase the average deal size. That’s why you want to measure it.

The average deal size can be increased by adding more optional products.

The chart compares the performance of sales people in adding optional products. Here is the impact of adding optional products on average deal size and revenue.

Average deal size can be measured by core and optional products.

That’s important information when it comes to training, coaching and managing sales people.

The same information can be created at team and company level.

Compare opportunities with and without at the sales team level.

Let’s look now at how to make it easier for sales people to add optional products to opportunities.

12 Must Have Charts For Your Salesforce Dashboard

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3. Use a product selection wizard

We agree that adding optional products is an essential way to increase average deal size.

But here’s the rub.

Using the standard page layout, it’s not particularly easy to find and add products to opportunities in salesforce. Especially if there are a lot of products.

And that’s an important reason why optional products get missed off opportunities.

Here’s how many of our customers deal with that challenge. They use a product selection wizard.

Increase average deal size by using a product selection wizard to make it easy to add products to opportunities.

The wizard gives an easy-on-the-eye way to view all products. Sales people can expand each section of the tree and select products from various categories. The pane on the right lists all the opportunity products by the various categories.

The wizard makes it easy to add products to opportunities. And because it’s easier, more optional products get added to opportunities. And that increases the average deal size.

For more information on using a product selection wizard visit our dedicated blog page.

4. Create product bundles

Very often groups of products can be bundled together.

Bundling products has several advantages.

  • Essential but relatively minor products don’t get accidentally missed off the opportunity.
  • Complimentary optional products can be automatically added to the opportunity.
  • An improved price can be offered to the customer compared to purchasing the products individually.

All of these benefits help to increase the average deal size.

The combination of products that can be bundled together is created by an experienced product manager.

Sales people select the bundle using a similar interface to the product selection wizard.

Increase average deal size by adding product bundles to opportunities.

When sales people associate a bundle with an opportunity, all of the products in the bundle are added to the opportunity.

The customer benefits from a reduced price or increased discount for buying as a bundle. And the effect from a sales perspective is to increase the average deal size.

5. Get a grip of discounts

It stands to reason. The bigger the discount the lower the average deal size.

Discounts are a fact of commercial life. But in many businesses there is loose control over discounts.

Discount approvals are often handled in an unstructured way. Requests and approvals are often communicated by ad hoc emails and phone conversations.

The result of this is often that a higher level of discount is approved than is needed to secure the deal. And this impacts the average deal size.

The solution is to use the salesforce approvals functionality.

The approvals functionality in salesforce allows managers to control discounts.

Using Approvals means that pre-defined rules can be created based on the size of the discount. There is a full audit trail of the discount request and approval on the opportunity. And discount requests can be approved by email or Chatter and automatically updated on the opportunity.

In my experience this controls discounts in two ways.

  • Discount requests become more formal. This encourages sales people to think more deeply about whether a discount is really necessary to win the deal.
  • Management control is increased. This can mean that overall, lower level of discounts are offered to customers.
  • A quid-pro-quo is more often obtained from the customer in return for a discount. An increased product quantity or longer contract term for example.

The outcome is an overall lower level of discounting and higher average deal size.

The average deal size is not a sales metric that should be left to look after itself. There are things that can be done to proactively increase it.

If you would like a customised demo of how to increase the average deal size in your business then simply fill in the form below. We’ll get in touch to arrange a time for a web meeting.

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How to tell if your sales funnel is emitting warning signals

How to tell if your sales funnel is emitting warning signals

It’s easy for sales managers to get distracted with the here and now. Especially when there’s constant pressure to hit this month’s target.

Today may look rosy. Or not. But your sales pipeline shape may be a warning signal of a future revenue problem.

And that problem is a missed sales target three, four or five months from now.

Sales managers need to understand whether they’re storing up a problem for the future. They can do that by looking at the shape of their sales pipeline.

It needn’t take long.

Here are two eyeball checks to see if your sales pipeline shape is emitting a warning signal. The checks will tell you whether you should be initiating marketing and business development activities now, to meet sales targets in the future.

Let’s say your sales cycle is typically 3 months. The shape of your sales pipeline tells you whether you have enough early stage opportunities to win revenue three, four or five months from now. That’s the first check.

The second check is to look at the timing of these opportunities. You need to understand whether the early stage opportunities that you do have, are in the right place.

Sales pipeline shape

Take a look at the pipeline chart below taken from a salesforce dashboard.

Sales pipeline shape showing opportunities by stage.

The chart shows all open opportunities grouped by opportunity stage. What we’re interested in are the shape of each segment. They show the breakdown of the sales pipeline by opportunity stage.

In this case our early stage pipeline looks good. The colour shading and numbers on the chart show that we have progressively more pipeline at earlier stages in the funnel.

Now have a look at the pipeline chart taken from another business.

Pipeline shape with not enough early stage opportunities.

This time it’s not so good. The early stage funnel is smaller than the middle or later stages. Just one look at the chart suggests we’re storing up a problem for the future.

In other words, the pipeline chart shows at-a-glance, whether the overall shape and composition of our funnel is a cause of concern.

And of course, you can run this chart at any level in the sales hierarchy. So examine the pipeline shape at individual, team and product level to understand the health of the pipeline.

12 Must Have Charts For Your Salesforce Dashboard

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Sales pipeline timing

The funnel chart gives an immediate indication of the shape and health of the pipeline.

But we also need to know about timing. Specifically, are the early stage pipeline opportunities related to deals that are due to close some months from now? If your sales cycle is 3 months and these early stage opportunities are all due to close this quarter, then you might have a problem.

Look at the chart below. It relates to the second funnel chart we looked at a moment ago.

Significant proportion of the early stage opportunities are due to close this month.

We saw in the funnel chart that the early stage pipeline is too small. And now look at the timing. A significant proportion of the early stage pipeline is due to close this month. So now I’m immediately sceptical that I’ll meet the revenue target for this month.

In this case there is relatively little early stage pipeline three to four months from now. In many B2B sales environments, that’s a sure sign of an impending revenue problem.

In comparison look at the dashboard chart below. It shows the time-based spread of the opportunities in the first funnel chart.

Most of the early stage opportunities are due to close in later months.

There’s relatively little early stage pipeline due to close this month or the next. In contrast, most of the early stage opportunities are due to close three to six months from now. There’s a good head of steam built up to meet future sales targets.

By the way, we’re written a blog post specifically on using and creating the Open Opportunities by Stage dashboard chart. The article includes a video of Gary demonstrating how to apply the information in the chart and step-by-step on how to create it. It’s chart #2 in our series of the ‘12 Charts that should be on your salesforce dashboard’.

Investigate the pipeline shape further

These dashboard charts tell you in one eyeball glance whether you’ve enough early stage pipeline. If you think you’ve a problem then the first thing to do is look into more detail. Find out exactly where the funnel shape is wrong.

Drill down on the charts by team and opportunity owner. Look to see whether the shortage of early stage opportunities lies predominantly in one territory or geographical area. If you use products on opportunities (which you should!) then create the same reports based on opportunity line items. That way you can determine whether the problem is confined to one product family.

Also check there’s not sandbagging going on. In other words, are sales reps deliberately holding opportunities outside salesforce until they’re confident the customer is going ahead? If that is the case, then you’re missing the visibility of sales performance needed to manage a team effectively. It also makes it impossible to accurately assess how deals are leaking from the sales funnel.

Once you have a detailed understanding you can decide on the marketing and business development actions that will protect future sales volumes.

So act now – create the dashboard charts that tell you about the shape and size of your sales pipeline. Then have a quick glance to check they’re not giving off warning signals!

And now, read our 5 tip guide to creating high impact salesforce reports.

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How to Increase Your Revenue by Measuring Sales Velocity

How to Increase Your Revenue by Measuring Sales Velocity

The quicker your sales velocity the more you sell.

At least that’s the theory.

But experience with one of our customers shows this isn’t necessarily the case.

In fact, slowing down during the investigation and discovery stages decreases the overall sales cycle velocity BUT increases win rates.

And that results in increased revenue.

There’s also a great deal more insight on how to manage the sales team by analysing how long opportunities spend in each stage of the sales cycle.

So read about Modernis’ experience in using sales velocity charts and reports in salesforce to discover the full story.

Measure overall sales team velocity

Take a look at the sales velocity chart below. It’s taken directly from the dashboard of one of our customers, Modernis.

Salesforce dashboard chart comparing sales cycle velocity for closed won versus lost opportunities.

The chart shows the average duration of the sales cycle in days.  It compares the time spent at each stage in the sales cycle for Closed Won deals versus Closed Lost opportunities.

Closed Lost opportunities have a shorter sales cycle than Closed Won. This is good news. It means that in Modernis, non-viable opportunities are being qualified-out at relatively early stages in the sales cycle.

In other sales teams we often see the reverse.

In these cases, the sales cycle for Closed Lost deals is significantly longer than Closed Won. But these sales pipelines often contain a disproportionate number of lame duck deals. There are drifting opportunities in the funnel that have long over-stayed their welcome. It’s easy to spot these deals by counting the Number of Close Date changes.

Take another look at the chart or examine the underlying report below. The report shows the Average Time in days for each Stage.

salesforce report comparing sales cycle for opportunities

In Modernis the length of time spent on Investigation is significantly different between Closed Won and Closed Deals.

This is deliberate. Time spent uncovering the prospects needs and buying process is viewed as time well spent. It enables the information to be gathered that allows a tailored proposal to be created. Like the hare and the tortoise, quicker is not necessarily better in Modernis.

Individual sales person velocity

But let’s see what else we can learn. Let’s study the sales velocity for selected members of the sales team (the names of the Modernis sales people have been changed in the interests of confidentiality).

Compare the velocity of opportunities owned by different sales people.

The chart shows there’s significant variation in both the length of the sales cycle and the average time spent in each stage.

Dave Apthorp’s sales velocity

Dave Apthorp is the leading sales person in Modernis. He has been for several years. It’s not the first time he’s featured in one of our blogs – The True Story of the Best and the Worst Sales Person on the Dashboard – demonstrates the importance of using more than one metric to assess sales performance.

But let’s look here at the length of Dave’s sales cycle by stage.

salesforce dashboard chart comparing sales cycle speed for dave apthorp.

Dave Apthorp has the shortest sales cycle. But he has the longest Investigation period – by some distance.

In other words, it Dave is taking more time than any other sales person to understand fully the customer’s needs. This means he can tailor and customise his proposal to align it with the customers’ expectations. And that goes a long way to explain why he has the shortest Proposal and Negotiation stages. Customers see the value in what he is proposing.

Here’s what Dave himself said when we showed him the sales velocity chart. “There are only two secrets to selling. One, qualify your deals. And two – get any objections out and on the table early. It doesn’t mean you have to answer the objection there and then. But get them into the open early so you can work out how to answer them in your proposal.”

And that in my view is the secret to improving win rates, reducing the sales cycle and successfully concluding deals. Ask open ended questions to fully uncover the customers’ issues. And then tailor your proposal accordingly.

So let’s look at what else we can learn by looking at the sales velocity of selected other reps.

12 Must Have Charts For Your Salesforce Dashboard

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Shaun Yates’ sales velocity

Shaun is the second highest revenue producer in Modernis over the last 12 months. He’s also got the slowest sales velocity.

Shaun Yates sales cycle

Shaun’s deals spend a lot of time in the Prospecting Stage. The Investigation Stage is comparatively short, at least compared to Dave’s.

However, we dug into some of Shaun’s opportunities. We found the level of information he was gathering during Prospecting was far in excess of the other sales people. In other words, he’s effectively doing the Investigation.

When we discussed this with Shaun we made an interesting discovery. His interpretation of what constitutes a qualified opportunity – the difference between the Prospecting and Investigation Stages – was different to everyone else’s.

In fact when you combine Prospecting and Investigation, Shaun is spending nearly as much time as Dave on understanding the customers’ needs, issues and buying process. And now that we’ve clarified the terminology, Shaun is moving his deals into the Investigation Stage earlier in the sales cycle.

Shaun also has the longest Negotiation stage. Shaun and his manager, Jim Peters, think this is because Shaun is relatively inexperienced at closing deals. He’s hesitant to ask for the sale. So Jim has arranged for Shaun to accompany Dave on several sales meetings and has lined up some external training.

So that’s two further benefits of measuring sales velocity. Iron out variations in the understanding of terminology that may be distorting management visibility of the sales pipeline. And identify training needs that will help sales people increase their revenue performance.

John Davies’ sales velocity

John is the third ranked performer on the Modernis team in terms of overall sales volume. His conversion rate is also the lowest – he wins a lower percentage of his opportunities than anyone else.

Let’s look at the average time his deals spend in each stage of the sales cycle.

john Davies sales cycle

Opportunities owned by John and Shaun spend a similar amount of time in the Prospecting Stage. However unlike Shaun, John is quite slow to respond to new Opportunities. We know this from the Activities charts on the sales dashboard.

Is John spending enough time on Investigation? Certainly it’s less than Dave and Shaun (if you include Shaun’s Prospecting stage).

But look at his Negotiation stage. It’s significantly longer than Shaun and Dave.

In addition to having the lowest conversion rate, John’s opportunities experience the greatest number of Close Date changes.

salesforce dashboard chart comparing the number of Close Date changes on opportunities

This shows that not only is John slow to qualify new opportunities, he’s not doing a great job of it. In other words, his deals consistently move from one month to the next. That means he’s expending significant amounts of time and energy on deals that are in the later stages of the sales cycle. And many of these deals fail to close successfully.

To improve John’s velocity and revenue, Jim Peters has arranged one-to-one coaching to help John improve his qualification process. Jim is also tracking the speed with which John gets to grips with new deals – and John knows this is a metric on which he is being scrutinised.

Jim has also arranged for John to go on an open-ended questions course to improve his investigation and discovery skills. That will allow him to spend more time on Investigation and do a better job of creating a tailored proposal that genuinely meets the customer needs.

Sarah Watson’s sales velocity

Here’s an interesting one. Have a look at Sarah’s sales velocity and form a view on how her sales volume compares to the other reps.

sarah watson sales cycle

If you think that Sarah is the lowest overall sales producer then you’re absolutely right.

She’s spending minimal time on Investigation. And a huge amount of time with her deals are in the Proposal stage.

So what can we infer about the way Sarah manages her opportunities? Quite simply she needs to do a lot more work during Investigation and create a more tailored proposal to the customer.

But let’s not jump to too many conclusions too soon. She might not be spending enough time in the early stages – but is that because she feels under pressure from the management team to get the customer proposal out of the door? Is this a management rather than a sales person issue?

Jim tells us that Sarah is the newest member of the sales team although she has worked for Modernis the longest. Her previous role was a technical team leader on the implementation team. Jim is confident she has the knowledge and inter-personal skills to succeed in sales. He’s coaching her to ‘calm down’ and work smarter not faster!

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How and why to use Expected Revenue for Sales Forecasting

How and why to use Expected Revenue for Sales Forecasting

Not having an accurate revenue forecast is the bane of many sales managers’ lives.

Gut feel just won’t cut it. Nor will a top-down percentage applied across all opportunities. And the Expected Revenue report in salesforce is often dismissed as irrelevant or inaccurate.

That’s unfortunate. Because used correctly, an Expected Revenue report is a realistic forecast of future sales. A forecast that will stand up to detailed analysis and scrutiny.

But here’s the rub with Expected Revenue. If the Opportunity Probability is wrong then so is your Expected Revenue forecast.

And the Probability is usually wrong.

It’s wrong because in most salesforce systems, the Probability is linked directly to the Opportunity Stage. It reflects how far the Opportunity is through the sales process. It doesn’t say anything about the chances of winning the deal.

But this relationship can be uncoupled. It’s possible to automatically set Opportunity Probabilities based on proven historical evidence. Then the Expected Revenue report becomes a realistic revenue forecast and a key sales performance indicator.

And that’s one of the holy grails of sales management.

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