Nothing is 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 favorite 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.
Tip: You don’t have to build this dashboard chart yourself. If you haven’t done so already, download our free GSP Sales Dashboard from the AppExchange. That way you can easily install all 12 recommended 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.
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 sales 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.
Tip: When the Pipeline by Stage chart is first created in many businesses, it doesn’t bring the immediate clarity you expect. That’s because the pipeline is full of opportunities with Close Dates in the past. In fact, the chart looks more like a bedraggled washing line. However, that problem of Close Dates in the past can be easily fixed.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
- Start on the reports tab, click new report then select an Opportunities report.
- Adjust the basic filters. Set Opportunity Status to Open. Set the time Range to All Time.
- Set the Format to be a Matrix report by clicking on Tabular Format.
- On the left hand side chose Opportunity Stage.
- Across the top of the report chose Close Date. Adjust the date format to Group By calendar month.
- Pull the Amount field into the body of the report.
- Click on the Show link to remove the record count. Repeat the process to set the report to Hide Details.
- Run the report to check that it looks the way you expect.
- Now create a chart directly in the report. Click on Add Chart in the Customize section.
- Choose the vertical bar chart.
- On the Y axis select the Opportunity Amount.
- On the X axis select the Close Date.
- In the Group by, select Opportunity Stage.
- Now choose the stacked bar chart.
- Click on the Formatting tab. Put the legend below the chart. Enable the hover. And put the chart below the report.
- Now run the report and check your chart.
- Save the report (remember, not in your Personal Folder, no-one else will be able to see it).
- Click on the dashboard tab and select the dashboard to which you want to add the chart.
- Click on Edit on the Dashboard.
- Drag a bar chart from the left hand pane onto the dashboard.
- 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.
- 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’.
- 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.