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How Sales Forecast Accuracy Helped Dave Apthorp Leave The Building

How Sales Forecast Accuracy Helped Dave Apthorp Leave The Building

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Many sales managers struggle to create reliable sales forecasts.

In fact, many forecasts are wildly inaccurate.

Even (or especially) when the sales team is using a CRM system such as salesforce.

The trouble is gut feel just won’t cut it.

Nor will simply applying a top-down win rate to all opportunities.

Instead, what’s needed is a sales forecast that is robust and can stand up to scrutiny.

That’s because often the sales forecast is shared with the company leadership, finance, peers and back-office colleagues. Other people depend upon a reliable revenue projection to do their own jobs properly.

Being wrong, month after month, doesn’t help anyone.

That said, sales forecasts don’t need to be perfect. But in many businesses, they need – and can – be a heck of a lot more reliable than they are at the moment.

About This Guide To Sales Forecasts

This guide is the most comprehensive online resource to creating reliable sales forecasts.

In this expert-written guide you’ll learn:

• Section 1: Why sales forecasts are often unreliable.
• Section 2: How to create a sales forecast report in salesforce.
• Section 3: How to improve forecasting accuracy using three key reports.
• Section 4: Which three opportunity metrics help identify the deals most likely to slip from your sales forecast.
• Section 5: Where to get the sales forecast template, reports, dashboard charts and metrics highlighted in this guide, all for free.

So, if you’re looking to improve the sales forecasting process in your company, you’ll love this guide.

By the way:

You don’t have to be using salesforce to get tremendous value from this guide. We are experts in salesforce so naturally, that’s what I’ve used to create the examples. However, you can apply the exact same sales forecasting methods to the CRM system in your business.

1.     Why Sales Forecasts Are Inaccurate

A sales forecast is an informed prediction of the revenue a sales team will achieve in a given period (e.g. the current month or quarter). It reflects the deals already won in the period plus an estimate of the sales pipeline that will close successfully in the time remaining.

But why do we go to all the trouble of creating sales forecasts in the first place?

It’s because reliable sales forecasts:

• Provide the executive team with advance information on the health of the business.
• Tell sales managers whether they have enough pipeline to meet quota.
• Help fulfilment, order processing, manufacturing and other teams to plan and operate efficiently.
• Enable finance executives to project capital requirements and cash flow with confidence.

Doubtless there are many other reasons, specific to your company.

However, in many businesses the revenue forecast is taken with a pinch of salt by the leadership team.

Often even the VP of Sales doesn’t believe them (although she wishes she could). And embarrassingly, she struggles to explain why they are so inaccurate.

 

Why many sales forecasts are unreliable

Here are the three most common reasons I’ve found that explain why many sales forecasts are unreliable.

• Deals slip from the forecast. Often this happens at the last minute. Sometimes the same deal has slipped at the last minute more than once.

Sometimes this occurs because salespeople are optimists. Deals they thought would happen, don’t.

Furthermore, in many businesses, salespeople are under pressure to maintain the size of the pipeline. Setting deals to Lost or removing them from the funnel, contradicts this pressure. Consequently, deals that no longer have legs stay in the pipeline but slip to the next month.

Unfortunately, sales forecasts are usually submitted before the month end. This means the forecast often contains many unreliable deals that end up slipping after the forecast is created.

• Deals appear out of nowhere. Sometimes this saves our bacon. Other times it simply makes the sales leader look silly.

In other words, sandbagging. Salespeople go out of their way to avoid management pressure on deals. For example, by keeping an important deal under the radar for as long as possible.

However, these deals simply don’t figure when creating the forecast.

• There’s no crystal ball that tells us which deals we’ll win and which we won’t. Or indeed when we’ll win them. After all is said and done, customer decision making is out of our hands.

If we knew in advance which deals we will win and which deals we will lose, then we’d save ourselves a lot of trouble. Unfortunately, no matter how hard we try we’re still left with customer-driven uncertainty.

Sometimes we attempt to mask these uncertainties by asking salespeople to ‘Commit’ to deals. However, that’s like asking a soccer centre forward to commit to scoring a goal. We all know he’s trying. But there’s still a chance he’ll miss (a pretty good chance if he’s the centre forward on the team I support!).

If we want reliable sales forecasts we have to address these sources of unreliability in other ways. That’s what we’ll cover in Sections 3 and 4.

Before that, let’s examine how best to create a sales forecast in CRM systems such as salesforce.

2.     How To Create A Sales Forecast In Salesforce

What’s the best way to create a sales forecast in salesforce?

Answer:

Use an Expected Revenue Sales Forecast report.

An Expected Revenue Sales Forecast report combines the revenue from Won deals with the weighted sales value from pipeline opportunities.

Sometimes the report includes filters that exclude certain deals (for example, those at a very early stage).

 

How the Expected Revenue Sales Forecast reports works

The report combines Won and Pipeline Opportunities.

For Won deals, 100% of the revenue contributes to the sales forecast.

For pipeline deals, however, the sales value of each opportunity is multiplied by the Opportunity Probability.

For example, a deal for $10,000 at 40% will have an Expected Revenue of $4,000. A Won opportunity for $20,000 will have an Opportunity Probability of 100% and an Expected Revenue of $20,000.

In other words, the Expected Revenue of any specific deal is the weighted value of the opportunity.

Incidentally, in some businesses the sales forecast does not reflect the total, gross value of the sales deal. That’s because the revenue from the deal spreads over time. The sales forecast is therefore the amount of scheduled revenue that will be achieved in the period.

If this is the case, then you need the GSP Scheduled Revenue app. However, the principles of Expected Revenue apply equally to sales forecasts based on scheduled revenue.

 

Why include Won deals in the forecast

Most sales forecasts relate to the current period; for example, this month or this quarter.

As such, the sales revenue we can expect is a combination of deals we’ve already won during the period; plus deals we expect to win.

That means we need to include won opportunities in the forecast.

 

Why use the Expected Revenue of pipeline opportunities

Some salespeople don’t like the idea of the Expected Revenue (or weighted revenue) of pipeline deals.

They argue opportunities are binary. We’ll either win it or we won’t. Take 100% of the sales value or zero dollars.

However, here’s the thing:

In any given period, you don’t categorically know which deals the sales team will win and which deals they will lose.

Let’s face it, if you knew which deals you were going to lose, you wouldn’t bother with them in the first place.

So it’s logical to take the weighted value of pipeline opportunities. That way we get a reliable total value of forecast sales.

Providing of course, the opportunity probability is reliable.

 

Entering reliable Opportunity probabilities

In salesforce, as with most other CRM systems, there’s a default Probability associated with each Opportunity Stage.

In other words, the probability is set automatically when the Stage is set.

 

Manually adjust opportunity probabilities

However, here’s something not everyone realises:

The Opportunity Probability can be manually adjusted. This is as true in salesforce as it is in all other CRM systems.

This means the salesperson can override the default probability for the Stage.

The Opportunity Probability can be manually adjusted. This is as true in salesforce as it is in all other CRM systems. This means the salesperson can override the default probability for the Stage.

For example, the default Probability for Proposal Made might be 35%. Salesforce will automatically set this value for ALL opportunities at this Stage.

However, in reality the probability for a new customer might be lower. The probability for an existing, long-term strategic customer may be higher. So, we can manually adjust the probability when the default value isn’t appropriate.

 

Use workflow to adjust opportunity probabilities

Here’s another option.

Automatically adjust opportunity probabilities using pre-defined rules.

For example, use workflow rules to set the opportunity probability for strategic customers to 40% at the Proposal Made stage.

Naturally, you’re assuming the probabilities you pre-define in this way will be more accurate than those set by the sales team.

That may well be true for an inexperienced team. Or if you’re not confident salespeople will adjust the probability where appropriate.

 

Use the GSP Probability App

We’ve figured out how to get historic opportunity probability and velocity data out of salesforce.

In other words, we can retrospectively analyse all opportunities and calculate two things:

1. How long each opportunity spent at each stage. In other words, stage-by-stage pipeline velocity.
2. The percentage of all deals won or lost once they reached a given stage.

This is valuable information.

For example, at one manufacturing client we discovered that 23% of deals in Investigation were closed successfully for new customers. Yet for existing customers it was 33%.

Furthermore, we identified that these figures varied by +/- 6% across territories and individual salespeople.

The outcome is that in this company, opportunity probabilities are defined tightly now based on accurate, reliable historical statistical data.

This improvement led to a step-change in the reliability of sales forecasts.

If you want to measure pipeline velocity or analyse historical probability data in your company then get in touch.

 

How to get the Expected Revenue Sales Forecast report

You might be wondering:

Is there a simple way to get the Expected Revenue Sales Forecast report?

The easiest way is to install the GSP Sales Dashboard.

This free package includes all of the reports and sales metrics highlighted in our Sales Forecasting Guide.

Awesome Pipeline and Sales Performance Visibility

Download the FREE Dashboard from the AppExchange today

3.     Improve Sales Forecasting Accuracy

Three reports significantly improve the process of sales forecasting because they give robust visibility of the pipeline.

So use the information contained in these reports to achieve a step-change in forecasting reliability.

(We’ll talk about additional metrics in Section 4).

However, before we start there’s a critical prerequisite of robust pipeline visibility: unambiguous Opportunity Stages.

 

Opportunity Pipeline Stages

High-quality visibility of the sales pipeline leads to vastly improved sales forecasts.

However, in turn funnel visibility depends upon everyone understanding, and agreeing, on the meaning of the Opportunity Stages.
Unfortunately, very often that’s not the case.

In salesforce it doesn’t help that the default Opportunity Stages aren’t well understood. Nor particularly useful in many businesses.

So do two things:

First: change the Opportunity Stage picklist to values that have meaning in your business. This blog post will help you define the right values.

Second: make sure everyone understands and agrees on the meaning of each Opportunity Stage.

Those two items are critical to using the most important pipeline review chart.

 

Report 1: Pipeline by Stage and Close Date

This simple report and chart is the starting point in reviewing and analyzing a sales forecast.

That’s because what the chart and underlying report often reveal, is that any sales forecast based on the opportunities in salesforce is immediately going to be way off base.

However, get the underlying information right and you’re well on your way to a reliable forecast.

Let’s take an example.

Based on this example, here are the primary areas to investigate that improve our chances of getting a reliable sales forecast.

 

Deals with Close Dates in the past

This is a common problem.

So much so, in fact, I’ve published a blog post specifically on the steps you should take when you’re funnel looks full of out-of-date opportunities.

In this case, it’s not too bad.

What are those deals doing in previous months? Are they still open? If so, will they close in the current month? Or are they deals that are no longer viable and should be removed from the pipeline?

Addressing this is the first step to getting a reliable sales forecast for the current month or quarter.

Pro Tip

Drill down to the underlying report.

Here’s a great feature of Lightning reports in salesforce.

Click on the number within the report that you want to investigate. Now we can see the specific deals that make up the number.

Right click on the Opportunity Name to open it in a separate tab.

Update the Opportunity by changing the Close Date and / or Stage.

Repeat this step until you no longer have Opportunities with old Close Dates.

 

Deals with unrealistic Opportunity Stages

Let’s look at the current month (I’m assuming it’s May 2019 for the purposes of this demonstration).

Many B2B companies have a sales cycle of three to four months. Some much longer.

So how realistic is it that deals with an Opportunity Stage of Prospecting or Investigation will close this month?

In fact if we are mid-month (which is often when we are producing sales forecasts), then even many deals in Proposal Made may not close successfully this month.

So here’s what you do.

Same as before, look at the underlying detail.

Review the early stage opportunities. There’s three possible scenarios for each one:

1. The Close Date and Stage are accurate.

Perhaps it’s an existing customer with a strong purchasing track record that has told us he’ll definitely be ordering this month.

2. There’s a reliable Close Date but the Stage is wrong.

In other words, the Opportunity is more advanced in the sales cycle. Assuming you’re confident in the Close Date, update the Stage.

3. There’s a reliable Stage but the Close Date is wrong.

Perhaps this deal was originally anticipated to close this month. But now it’s not. Move the Close Date so that your forecast for this month is more robust.

Of course, there’s also the possibility that both the Stage and the Stage need updating.

So go through the funnel opportunities in your sales forecast and make sure you are happy with the Close Date and Stage in every case.

Pro Tip

Managers with large sales teams and / or lots of opportunities can’t go through every deal this way. One technique to avoid this is to manage by exception, using the metrics explained in Section 4.

Create a version of the Close Date by Stage report to run on My Team. Have sales leaders to go through the same pipeline validation process with their team members.

And then go a step further. Providing the Role Hierarchy is correct, when individual salespeople run the My Team report, they will see only their own deals. Train and educate each salesperson on using the report to check and validate their personal pipeline.

Unlikely funnel spikes

In many businesses there’s a determined sales drive at certain times of the year. In particular, to close deals in the last month of the financial year or quarter.

Here’s the Funnel by Close Date and Stage chart I saw recently.

Can you guess when their financial year ends?

You’re right. December. And of course that means there’s an additional quarter-end in March, June and September.

So why the spikes?

The reason is that in this business, salespeople are under top-down pressure to meet revenue expectations from internal and external company stakeholders.

Consequently, hopeful Close Dates are assigned to many opportunities. These are based not on the customer buying process, but on the desire to assuage other pressures. “It’s bound to close sometime this year, I’ll put in the year-end”.

In reality, how many deals do you know that close on December 31?

The same thing happens with the quarter-end.

The result?

The sales forecasts reflect funnels containing artificial peaks in the number and value of opportunities that will be won. Consequently, these sales forecasts are almost always unreliable.

So, review your longer-term pipeline. Validate that peaks in the value of deals to be closed accurately reflect sales effort and marketplace conditions rather than the need to satisfy non-customer stakeholders.

Otherwise?

You’re simply kidding yourself.

 

Pipeline by Created Date

Reviewing the pipeline by created date is another way to validate funnel quality.

This chart shows deals due to close this month (and therefore in our current sales forecast) by created date.

Does your sales forecast contain many deals with a longer-then-average sales cycle?

It looks like it here.

Potentially, these are deals that consistently move along in order to maintain the size of the pipeline. If you’re reliant upon these deals to meet your sales quota, you may be on wafer-thin ice.

Same steps as before.

Drill down to the underlying deals.

Assess the viability of these deals. Do this to gauge reliability of your sales forecast.

 

Conversion Rate Report

You might be wondering:

How does a report that shows opportunity win rates (conversion rates) help us assess the reliability of a sales forecast?

Well, take a look to check that historic opportunity conversion rates are realistic.

First example.

Let’s assume that in your business, instinct and experience tell you the opportunity conversion rate should be around 30%.

So, how do we explain a conversion rate report in salesforce that shows the win rate is 70%?

Two possible reasons.

 

Opportunity sandbagging

Not all deals enter the pipeline immediately. In other words, only when the salesperson is confident of a successful outcome is it entered in salesforce. It’s called sandbagging.

On the one hand, this means your sales forecast might be pessimistic. This is because there are deals out there being worked on, some of which may come to fruition. It’s simply that you don’t have visibility of them.

If this genuinely is the case, your revenue forecast is still going to be pretty inaccurate. Only this time the forecast will be too low.

And as the VP of Sales it doesn’t exactly give the impression you’re on top of what’s going on.

 

Deals in the pipeline too long

Deals that no longer have legs are not moved out of the pipeline.

The result?

The funnel contains many deals that are unlikely to close successfully any time soon (if ever).

Some of these deals may be in your current sales forecast. Consequently, the forecast probably overstates revenue. In any event, it’s not built on solid foundations.

Which explanation applies in your business if the conversion rate is artificially high? Sandbagging or dormant deals? Or both?

Well, instinct and anecdotal evidence might be enough.

But to be sure, take a second look at the Pipeline by Created Date chart.

If there’s a significant number of deals open much longer than seems reasonable then it’s probably the second explanation. Dormant deals aren’t removed from the funnel.

Take a good look at these deals. Weed out those that undermine your sales forecast.

4.     Pipeline Quality Metrics

The reports and dashboard charts we’ve looked at so far are an excellent way of validating the sales forecast top down.

But you might be thinking:

How do I manage by exception? What are the metrics identifying specific deals that potentially should not be included in the sales forecast?

There are three deal metrics we can use to surface deals that have an increased chance of slipping from the forecast. Deals that will potentially leave egg on our face.

Here they are:

1. Number of Close Date Month Extensions. This is the number of times the Close Date on the Opportunity has moved from one month to another.

2. Number of Days since the Last Stage Change. This tracks how long it is since the Opportunity Stage was last updated.

3. Age of the Opportunity. This is the number of days the Opportunity has been open.

Use these metrics to manage by exception.

In other words, they help sales managers quickly and easily identify high-risks deals.

You can do this using a dashboard table.

The table shows deals due to close this month. So they’re all potentially in your sales forecast.
But can you rely upon them?

Well, the Oxted Manufacturing Opportunity has been open over 200 days. It’s 100 days since the Opportunity Stage was last updated. And the Close Date has moved from one month to another 4 times already.

Not exactly a banker, I’d say.

Perhaps this deal WILL finally close this month.

But you get the idea.

These sales metrics and the accompany dashboard help rapidly identify deals we must investigate further.

5.     Get Free Salesforecasting Resources

Here are free resources that will radically improve the sales forecasting method and technique in your company.
• GSP Sales Forecast Template.
• 30 minute web meeting with me.

 

GSP Sales Forecast Template

This free dashboard has been installed over 1,000 times. You can find it on the AppExchange here.

The package contains:
• All the reports described in this sales forecasting guide.
• A comprehensive dashboard with drill-down to all reports.
• The three deal quality metrics and dashboard table that help you manage by exception.

There’s even a configuration guide that explains how to adapt the sales forecast template to the specific needs of your business.

Apply for the 30 minute web meeting

Each week I hold four free one-to-one meetings lasting 30 minutes.

The discussion is private and specific to your company. You decide the specific topic to discuss so that you get maximum benefit from the discussion.

It doesn’t have to be about sales forecasting. Here some recent examples of other topics I’ve covered recently. How do I:
• Adapt salesforce to the specific needs and processes of my business?
• Embed robust forecasting and pipeline management techniques across my sales team?
• Track revenue versus quota and know whether there is sufficient pipeline to meet target?
• Increase salesforce benefits and the investment ROI?
• Manage framework agreements and other non-standard opportunities?

Good luck and happy forecasting!

Apply For A 30 Minute Web Meeting With Gary Today

Just complete our Contact Us form by following the link below 

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Track Revenue Over Time In Salesforce Using Revenue Schedules

Track Revenue Over Time In Salesforce Using Revenue Schedules

Schedule Revenue Over Time In Salesforce

Take our new app for a test drive today

Revenue schedules are critical because when winning the deal, often, no money changes hands.

Instead, revenue accrues over time.

For example:

  • Professional services that deliver projects over time.
  • Capital equipment items that the customer draws down or pays for over a period.
  • Support or maintenance contracts that span one, two or three years.
  • Software-as-a-Service (Saas) licenses on fixed-term or open ended-contacts.
  • Transactional or regularly supplied items in which you anticipate the customer will buy a significant volume every month, but with no fixed or guaranteed amount.

In other words, it’s common to have multiple revenue schedules over many months or years on the same opportunity.

The upshot:

You need an easy yet powerful way to create and maintain accurate product revenue schedules. Otherwise, you lack robust forecasts and precise visibility of future revenue.

Unfortunately:

Many people have told me just how difficult that is to achieve in Salesforce.

So, to fix this problem, we built the GSP Product Revenue Schedules app.

It’s the quickest, easiest and most effective way for salespeople to schedule revenue over time in Salesforce.

In this blog post, I’ll explain why scheduling revenue using standard functionality is difficult in Salesforce. And demonstrate EXACTLY how to address this using the Product Revenue Schedules app.

Prefer to jump straight to a demo of the app? Watch this video to see how it works.

Before we get onto the app, let’s understand why the standard product revenue schedule functionality in Salesforce is a challenge.

Standard Salesforce Product Schedules

One option to schedule revenue over time in salesforce is to use the standard product schedules feature.

That works for some businesses. However, there are also significant limitations which I’ll explain.

Here’s how the standard product schedule function works in salesforce.

The salesperson adds one or more Products to an opportunity in the usual way.

Then, the salesperson creates a Schedule for each product line item. They do this by clicking individually on each product line item, then on the Establish button.

That provides the popup to enter details about the schedule for that opportunity product.

The result is that we have a revenue schedule that tracks product income over time.

However, the salesperson then repeats this process for every other product on the opportunity.

Advantages of standard product schedules

  • Standard functionality. No need to purchase a separate app.
  • Scheduled revenue over time can be tracked using reports and dashboards (although this is limited).

Disadvantages of standard product schedules

  • The user interface is cumbersome (that’s putting it mildly). For example, the salesperson drills down to each product separately to create the revenue schedule.
  • Salespeople cannot create revenue schedules at the same time as adding the product; they have to add them afterward.
  • If the opportunity close date changes, the schedules do not automatically shift. The result is that the revenue schedules quickly get out of kilter with the opportunity.
  • It’s impossible to customize, adapt or extend the standard schedules. For example, you can’t add a Status field to track Booked, Shipped, Invoiced, Paid values. Likewise, you also cannot schedule the product margin.
  • There’s zero ability track committed and pipeline revenue schedules versus target.

The result is that many companies that need to schedule revenue over time in Salesforce don’t. Unfortunately, this means they lack visibility of future income.

Consequently, they often attempt to resolve this in one of three other ways.

Common alternatives to standard scheduling

Rather than using the standard salesforce revenue scheduling functionality, here’s what many companies do:

 

Option #1:

They perform this critical activity outside Salesforce.

Often, this happens because companies perceive it’s too difficult to schedule revenue over time in Salesforce using standard functionality.

However, accurate visibility of won and pipeline scheduled revenue based on the latest opportunity updates is lost.  

Significant effort is also expended, manually forecasting future revenue.

 

Option #2

Create numerous fields on the opportunity. These fields capture scheduled revenue for Q1, Q2 and so on for each year.

That is almost always a mistake.

That’s because it’s virtually impossible to produce meaningful reports and dashboard charts. It also significantly reduces usability because its time consuming for salespeople to enter the data.

 

Option #3

The third option is to create multiple opportunities in salesforce. Each opportunity typically represents one year of revenue.

For example, let’s say you win a contract to deliver services over three years. That’s one opportunity.

However, companies often create two further opportunities to represent income in years two and three. That’s even though the deal is won, and no additional sales effort needs to take place.

The result?

Pipeline reports and dashboard charts are inaccurate. Opportunity conversion rates are wrong. And salespeople waste time maintaining and updating spurious opportunities.

Looking To Customize The App To Suit Your Business?

Get in touch with us today

GSP Product Revenue Schedules app

Tracking revenue over time is essential yet none of the alternatives cut the mustard.

Its why we built a salesforce app.

Here’s where you can find the GSP Revenue Schedules app on the AppExchange.

Here are the main features and benefits of the app.

  • Very quick and easy for reps to use.
  • Revenue schedules from won and pipeline opportunities mean accurate forecasts.
  • Easily compare scheduled revenue over time with targets.
  • Schedules and forecasts update automatically when the opportunity information changes.
  • Analyze revenue over time by product, territory, salesperson or any other parameter.

And guess what?

The schedules automatically shift whenever the close date of the opportunity moves.

That means everything always stays in sync.

We’ve included a webinar recording at the foot of this post to show exactly how the app works.

Or carry on reading for screenshots and more information about how the app works.

(Incidentally, although all the screenshots in this post are in Lightning, the app works equally well in Classic interface).

Create revenue schedules

The salesperson selects products to add to the opportunity the usual way.

As you’d expect, we have the standard Quantity and Sales Price fields. However, we also have two custom fields, Revenue Start Date and # Revenue Months.

These fields allow the salesperson to define the revenue schedule parameters for each product on the opportunity.

Clicking Save adds the products to the opportunity and generates the related revenue schedules.

We can click View All to see all the revenue schedules associated with each product.

Adjust revenue schedules

Let’s say the salesperson wants to adjust the revenue schedules.

Easy.

Hit the Edit Line Items button.

The page opens and lets the salesperson quickly and easily edit the revenue schedules for all products on the opportunity.

The revenue schedules update immediately.

Close Date Changes

Here’s the most frequent event on an opportunity:

A change to the close date.

In other words, the salesperson thinks it’s closing this month. However, decisions get delayed. Therefore we need to move the close date to next month.

No problem.

All the revenue schedules automatically update by the same number of days as the shift in the close date.

This feature means salespeople avoid having to continuously re-align revenue schedules. Therefore, revenue forecasting accuracy is maintained effortlessly.

Manually adjust product revenue schedules

The GSP Product Revenue Schedules app automatically calculates the schedule amounts. This calculation is based on the parameters set by the salesperson.

However, sometimes, it’s right for the salesperson to manually adjust the revenue schedule amounts, based on human knowledge.

Let’s say, for example, you know that the first monthly schedule will be higher than the others.

No problem.

Open the Mass Edit Line Item page.

Adjust the schedules.

That automatically adjusts the Sales Price of the Product Line Item.

In turn, this updates the Line Item Total Price and the Opportunity Amount.
In other words, everything is kept 100% in sync.

Update for latest scheduled revenue forecasts

Here’s what happens when the Opportunity is Won.
The Schedule Amount is locked.
Why?
It’s because this value represents the product schedule revenues we expect when the opportunity is won.

Something else also happens:

The Revenue Amount copies into the Forecast Amount.

That means as time goes by, the Forecast Amount can be adjusted based on how the opportunity revenue pans out.

Moreover, this means we can compare two things: the revenue we expected to generate alongside the latest actual forecast.

This comparison is critical in many businesses.

For example, let’s say you win an opportunity to sell 100 petrol pumps. The customer wants to take delivery over 12 months, in line with their gas station re-fit program.

Your product revenue schedule defines how you expect to realize the revenue over time. Perhaps you’ve even made some manual adjustments to get it spot-on.

But suppose the site re-fit program doesn’t proceed as fast as planned. Now, five months into the contract, the account manager updates the Forecast Amount based on the latest information.

Perhaps she even needs to add several new monthly schedules to extend the timeframe.

Opportunity level summary

At all times, essential revenue schedule values are summarized back on the opportunity. These updates include the Revenue Amount, the latest Forecast Amount and the number of schedules.

Consequently, this means salespeople can quickly and easily view the latest critical metrics about the opportunity.

Track revenue over time versus target

Now you can compare scheduled product revenue over time with salesperson targets.

Here’s an example.

Let’s look at the target for Jim Jones for April 2019. The product revenue schedules that are due to land in April, automatically link to this target.

Jim’s scheduled revenue target for April is $12,000. Remember, that’s his scheduled revenue target, not the gross sales value target.

Jim has scheduled product revenue from won opportunities of $8,333.

So he’s achieved 69% of his target.

Jim also has potential scheduled product revenue of $1,666 from open opportunities. In other words, this revenue is not committed. It relates to the product revenue schedules on pipeline opportunities that we hope will close soon.

We can also see the weighted value of these pipeline schedules: $833. This amount is the opportunity probability factored into the scheduled amount.

Consequently, this produces the Expected Schedule Amount of $9,167. That’s the total amount Jim can expect to achieve from scheduled revenues in April.

The result is that salespeople and managers can easily see whether there is enough committed and pipeline scheduled revenue to meet quota.

It looks like Jim has some work to do to hit his target!

Product Revenue Schedule Reports and Dashboards

Salespeople and managers need full visibility of the sales pipeline and scheduled revenue. Fortunately, the GSP Product Revenue Schedules app has comprehensive dashboards for Salesforce Lightning and Classic versions.

Here’s the Lightning dashboard

And the Classic version.

Users can clone and adapt these charts and reports and customize them to meet additional reporting needs.

S-curve versus straight-line schedules

By default, the app produces straight-line product revenue schedules. In other words, each monthly schedule is for the same amount.

As we’ve seen, salespeople can easily adjust the revenue schedule for any month.

But who on earth needs s-curve schedules?

Well, let’s say you deliver infrastructure projects.

The initial stages of the project are about mobilization and planning. These activities are relatively resource-light. Then you get into the heavy lifting of delivery. However, towards the end of the project, there’s more activity around testing and commissioning, which requires less overall effort.

Consequently, the revenue profile is an s-curve. Moderate amounts of effort and cost are expended at the beginning and end. More significant work occurs in the middle.

The result is an s-curve revenue profile on individual opportunities.

Get in touch if you’d like to find out how to activate s-curve revenue profiles within the app.

Advantages of the GSP Product Schedules app

Here’s a summary of the main advantages of using the GSP app to schedule product revenue in salesforce.

  • Super-easy for salespeople to use.
  • Flexibility to define different revenue profiles over time for each opportunity product.
  • Forecast accuracy is maintained because schedules automatically shift when the close date changes.
  • Compare schedule revenue expected when the opportunity is won with the latest post-win forecast.
  • Compare scheduled product revenue versus target.
  • There’s also the option to adapt the standard app to meet specific scheduling needs within your business.

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When Repeat Opportunities Are Right (And When They Are Not)

When Repeat Opportunities Are Right (And When They Are Not)

Schedule Revenue Over Time In Salesforce

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Not every sale results in a single, one-off invoice and payment.

Often, they result in multiple orders and payments over time.

However, here are two common mistakes companies make in Salesforce:

  • They do use repeat opportunities when they shouldn’t, and sometimes
  • They don’t use repeat opportunities when they should.

The result?

  • Your sales process is more complex than necessary.
  • It’s challenging to get accurate pipeline visibility.
  • Sales metrics on the size, quality and trend in the sales pipeline become distorted.

So, here are five examples in which you may think repeat opportunities have a role to play in Salesforce.

In each of these commonly occurring scenarios, companies receive multiple payments over time. So, are repeat opportunities the best way to handle each situation?

Here’s a simple way to answer this question:

Decide whether future revenue is in jeopardy.

If the answer is yes, then repeat opportunities are probably required.

However, if the answer is no, then you probably don’t need repeat opportunities.

Here’s how repeat opportunities apply – or don’t apply – to each of the situations above.

Repeat opportunities with software as a service

Based in Paris, Sidetrade provides predictive software to accelerate credit management and the sales-to-cash cycle.

Sidetrade delivers its platform on a SaaS basis. Customers sign-up for a fixed-term contract for several years. Payment is on an annual basis.

Sidetrade doesn’t need recurring or repeat opportunities each year.

Repeat opportunities are not required because the future revenue on the existing contract is not in jeopardy. The opportunity is not in doubt. That’s because the signed customer contract is already in place.

Therefore, instead of repeat opportunities, Sidetrade forecasts future revenue using Revenue Schedules.

For sure, Sidetrade will aim to sell additional services or upgrades to the customer.

However, Sidetrade handles this using additional opportunities. These are new opportunities for incremental revenue rather than repeat opportunities.

Repeat opportunities with insurance premiums

Based near Toronto, Aboriginal Insurance Services (AIS) sells insurance products to the Indigenous Native American communities across Canada.

For example, the community will purchase motor insurance to cover all vehicles operated by the municipal area.

The insurance and premium is always for one year of cover.

AIS will aim to renew the policy with the community. However, there’s no guarantee of this renewal.

Future revenue is in considerable jeopardy. Each year, competitors will seek to undercut AIS or offer more product benefits.

Therefore, it’s right for AIS to create a repeat opportunity to manage the renewal. It is a separate sales process. AIS will apply crucial, proactive key account planning to optimize the chances of success.

There is, however, no certainty of a positive outcome.

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Repeat opportunities with service contracts

Based in Yorkshire in northern England, MAM Software sells advanced software and hardware to support the automotive logistical supply chain in the UK and the USA.

The company provides support contracts that cover the software and hardware. These typically run for 3 – 5 years.

The customer pays an annual fee for support.

However, MAM doesn’t use repeat opportunities.

That’s because the customer is committed contractually for the duration of the support arrangement. The revenue is secured. It’s not in jeopardy.

Instead, MAM has a single opportunity. Products with Schedules forecast future revenue. These schedules mean MAM has an accurate, forward-looking view of secured income.

Repeat opportunities with Proof of Concepts

Another London based customer, Modernis, provides advanced analytics and consultancy services to the insurance and reinsurance markets across the UK, USA and Europe.

Modernis offers the analytics products in a software-as-a-service platform.

However, the sales process often involves two distinct stages.

First, Modernis provides chargeable proof-of-concept access to its platform. Later, once customers have experienced the value that the platform brings, Modernis sells a contract that runs for several years. This contract incorporates an annual license charge.

To manage this, Modernis create two opportunities.

The first opportunity represents the sales process for a chargeable proof-of-concept.

A second opportunity is automatically created. This represents the sales process for the full contract.

So the company uses repeat opportunities – at least of a type. The repeat opportunity is used because commitment to the full contract is not a given.

Instead, it depends on a successful outcome to the proof of concept.

Modernis also forecast the future revenue on the full contract using Schedules. This is because once the contract is signed, the revenue is not in jeopardy. Therefore, a repeat opportunity is not required.

Framework agreements in Salesforce

Gilbarco Veeder Root (GVR) is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of petrol pumps and retail equipment. Based in Greensboro, North Carolina, the company has a Salesforce deployment covering six continents.

A GVR opportunity often relates to a large site re-fit program for one of the major petrol retail companies.

The refit program may take the retail petrol company several years to complete. It’s likely to require a significant purchase from GVR.

One the one hand, a long-term contract benefits both parties.

On the other hand, the customer doesn’t want the delivery of all the petrol pumps manufactured and delivered in one go!

Rather, they need to ‘drawdown’ the units as-and-when the refit program is ready to install them.

So the total value of the contract is agreed upon. However, the month-on-month revenue is variable.

GVR handles this with a single upfront opportunity.

The company uses custom revenue schedules to predict the volume and revenue that is anticipated each month. The GVR Account Manager updates the schedules each month with the actual orders.

This allows GVR to track the projected volume (upon which the commercial terms were agreed) with the actual volume ordered by the oil company.

Recommended blog post: How To Manage 4 Types of Framework Agreement In Salesforce.

Implementation points to consider with repeat opportunities:

  • Consider triggering the repeat opportunity automatically. This avoids the subsequent opportunity being forgotten about. That trigger happens when the first opportunity is won or at some other predetermined point in the process.
  • Measure the win-loss ratio for the repeat opportunity separately to the initial opportunity.
  • Consider using Products and Schedules to forecast the revenue over time. Read this blog post for more advice on how to do this.
  • Consider custom revenue schedules if you need additional flexibility. For example, if you need to record the status (not due, invoiced, paid) on individual schedules, then you will need custom revenue schedules.

Not every sale results in a single payment or transaction. However, only use repeat opportunities when it is right to do so. And if it isn’t right, then try revenue schedules instead.

Add Products To Opportunities Quickly and Easily

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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

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.

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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.

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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.

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3 Ways to Spot Deals That Will Deflate Your Monthly Sales Forecast

3 Ways to Spot Deals That Will Deflate Your Monthly Sales Forecast

If your monthly sales forecast has ever fallen through the floor at the last minute then this blog post is for you. Use these three sales metrics to identify the deals that might deflate your monthly sales forecast. Take action on these deals to firm-up the close date or remove them from your sales forecast.

No-one cares when a deal moves within a month.

But everyone cares when a deal moves from one month to the next.

And when that happens in the last week of the month of the quarter that’s when they care the most.

(Actually that’s not true. What they care about most is when that move happens on the last day of the month or quarter).

Pardon the French, but when this happens it completely screws your monthly sales forecast.

But here’s the thing. If you can spot deals that might slip then you can take three forms of action. You can:

  • Prioritize at-risk deals to increase the chances of a successful close this month.
  • Adjust your monthly sales forecast to take account of the potential slippage.
  • Investigate deals highlighted by pipeline quality metrics.

Here are three sales metrics that help you do that. You can use these metrics in salesforce to spot deals that might sabotage your monthly sales forecast.

1. Month on month close date changes

There’s a statistically proven way to forecast the weather accurately. Predict that whatever happened yesterday will happen again today. Very often you’ll be right.

It’s the same with opportunities. The fact that a deal slipped last month means it’s more likely than others to slip again this month.

Particularly if that slip happened in the last week of the month.

The number of times the close date has changed is important. But what helps us identify the most at-risk deals is the number of times the close date has moved from one month to another.

Particularly if that move happened late in the month or quarter.

Here’s what that looks like on a dashboard chart and report.

Dashboard table that shows opportunities whose close date has slipped month on month.

Salesforce report that shows the number of times the monthly sales forecast has been impacted by close date changes.

The chart shows opportunities that are due to close this month. These are the deals that are in your monthly sales forecast.

That focus on this month is deliberate. If the opportunity is at an early stage and the close date moves from 3 months out to 4 months, we’re probably not too concerned. It is deals that might let down this month’s sales forecast that we’re most interested in.

A sales manager armed with this information might:

  • Focus on helping the opportunity owner to close the deal this month.
  • Make a call to the prospect or arrange a negotiation meeting.
  • Offer the prospect an additional incentive or discount to close this month.
  • Or any one of a number of other tactics to increase the probability of closing the deal this month.

You might also consider removing it from any month-end sales forecast you communicate to colleagues. Forewarned is forearmed.

Let’s look at another way to show the same information. Here’s the team-view.

Dashboard chart that shows how the monthly sales forecast can be impacted by close date changes at the team level.

The chart and report helps managers identify systemic issues. Do some sales people need support and training in closing out deals? What can we learn from individuals that have low slip rates? Are some products, opportunity types or territories more prone to having deals slip than other?

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2. Number of days since last opportunity stage change

This is a powerful sales metrics because it shows deals on which progress is slow. It highlights deals with low velocity.

Let’s say the typical sales cycle is 3 months. Let’s also assume there are four or five opportunity stages for open deals.

Then all other things being equal, the opportunity stage should change every 20 to 30 days.

If an opportunity is due to close this month but the last stage change is well above this figure then it’s a strong warning signal.

dashboard table showing days since last stage change.

Report showing days since last stage change.

The metric is particularly powerful when applied to opportunities that have slipped one or month months.

Dashboard table showing impact on sales forecast of combining close date changes with last stage change.

Now we can really hone-in on at risk opportunities.

3. Total age of the opportunity

Some opportunities seem to live on for ever.

They’re like zombie deals. No-one knows if they’re really alive but they haunt your sales pipeline and over-inflate your monthly sales forecast.

Dashboard chart showing age of open deals.

And it’s amazing how often these deals will have the last day of the month, quarter or year as their close date.

That happens when the sales person hopes the opportunity will close at some unknown point in the future. Leave enough time, and it’s bound to be closed by then.

Why does this happen? It happens because:

  • Sales people are optimists. They often believe a deal has life long after its sell-by date.
  • Pressure from managers on the size of the pipeline. Closing out these deals doesn’t alleviate this pressure. It increases it.
  • Sales people don’t like setting deals to Closed Lost. This standard salesforce Opportunity Stage implies failure. And that doesn’t sit well with most sales people.

Which is all very well but these opportunities have a habit of moving from one month to the next. That habit often raises its head in the last few days of the month.

And we’ve already discussed the impact that has on the monthly sales forecast.

What’s the best way to manage these opportunities? There’s several options:

  • Add an additional opportunity stage. “Not Proceeding” for example. In many cases these zombie opportunities aren’t lost to a competitor. Rather, the customer simply does not go ahead with any purchase.
  • Create a Task to revisit the opportunity. The customer will potentially go ahead at some point in the future. Keep in contact. Check-back regularly. Add them to your marketing nurture program.

Either way, keep a watch for these opportunities. Use the Opportunity Age sales metric to identify deals that have out-stayed their welcome.

How to create these monthly sales forecast metrics

Each of these three sales metrics are based on custom fields on the opportunity. There is already a standard Opportunity Age field but it continues to count the age of the opportunity even after it’s closed. We therefore created a custom age field that stops when the deal is won or lost.

The three fields are updated using the salesforce Process Builder. Whenever an opportunity is edited the process builder updates the metrics. The dashboard charts and reports then simply use these custom fields to give visibility of the monthly sales forecast.

Simply let us know if you’d like a customized demo of how these sales metrics can apply in your business or if you’d like our help in creating powerful salesforce dashboards that give visibility of sales performance and the sales pipeline.

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How to Measure Opportunity Win Rates Across Sales Teams

How to Measure Opportunity Win Rates Across Sales Teams

Increasing your opportunity win rate is the single most powerful way to increase revenue.

Building more pipeline increases sales. So does shortening your sales cycle. And increasing your average deal size definitely helps.

But nothing has such a dramatic impact as increasing your opportunity win rates. (Here’s where you can do the math for your business).

Effective sales managers compare win rates across sales teams, territories and products.

All other things being equal, if your opportunity win rate is improving then your sales are increasing. We’ll show you how to build an opportunity win rate report in this blog and the accompanying video.

So measuring win rate is a critical sales metrics. But here’s what else you can do with an opportunity conversion rate report. You can:

  • Identify individual rep training requirements.
  • Measure the impact of business development initiatives.
  • Gauge the effectiveness of your sales strategy by comparing win rates across customer segments.
  • Compare partners with direct sales teams to optimise the sales mix.

But be careful. Opportunity win rate reports can be misinterpreted. And the very fact of measurement can drive unwanted behaviour. Read on to learn how to measure opportunity win rates and avoid these pitfalls.

Opportunity win rate metrics

Like most things, there’s more than one way to measure opportunity win rates.

Some people argue that the total open pipeline should be factored in. This means that the value of closed won opportunities is calculated as a proportion of the total open pipeline.

In our view this distorts the win rate percentage.

Let’s say your sales cycle is three months. If your team is successful this month in creating new pipeline (e.g. because of a marketing initiative) then those deals will not close for another 2 to 3 months. But if the team also did a great job of closing deals that month the win rate is distorted. It’s artificially low. New opportunities that have been created will pull down the win rate.

So keep it simple. The correct way to measure opportunity win rates is to compare the number and value of deals won in a month with the number and value of deals lost in the same month.

It’s unambiguous. There’s no debate about whether certain elements of the pipeline should be included – or not. And it avoids the risk of double counting open opportunities from one month to the next.

Opportunity Win Rate Report Example

Here’s an example of an opportunity win rate dashboard chart in salesforce.

Use a dashboard chart to compare opportunity win rates.

The chart shows two essential metrics.

  • Win Rate by Count Percentage. This is the blue column. It shows the percentage of deals that have been won in the month in terms of the number of opportunities. In other words, of the total number of deals that closed in December, 20% were won.
  • Win Rate by Value Percentage. This is the green column. It shows the percentage of deals that have been won in the month in terms of the value of opportunities.

Depending on the nature of your business, both metrics may be important.

We can see in the chart, for example, that in December the Won Amount % is higher than the Won Count %. This is good news. It means the sales team successfully closed the higher value opportunities.

February tells a different story. The Won Count is higher. Overall it was the lower value opportunities that closed successfully. Now that we have this information, we can start to investigate the reasons.

Here’s the underlying report that accompanies the dashboard chart.

salesforce report that compares opportunity win rates across individual sales reps.

This gives us significantly more detail on the opportunity win rates by sales rep and month.

Take a look at the figures for Dave Apthorp for March 2016 (highlighted). We can see that Dave has:

  • Closed £273,000 of opportunities. This combines both closed won and closed lost.
  • Won £123,000 of opportunities. This is amount of the £273K that Dave has won.
  • This means his Won Amount % is 45%.
  • The report also shows Dave’s Won Count % is 33% (calculated from the underlying opportunities that make up the report).

The report can be modified to compare opportunity win rates across sales territories, customer segments or other dimensions.

Watch the video at the end of the blog post for step by step instructions on creating this opportunity win rate report.

How to use the Opportunity Win Rate report

The dashboard chart and report gives powerful visibility of win rates across sales reps and teams.

But use the metric on conjunction with other reports to avoid driving unwanted behaviour such as ‘sandbagging’. In other words, an over-emphasis on win rates can result in sales people keeping opportunities out of salesforce until they’re confident that a deal is there to be done. This means you lose visibility of the early stages of the pipeline.

Use these reports to investigate further why win rates vary across reps, teams or competitors. Here are examples of questions managers can ask when reviewing win rate reports.

  • Does everyone have the same understanding of when it is appropriate to create an opportunity?
  • Is one team focussing more heavily on new versus existing customers?
  • Is a sales person cherry picking the best deals and ignoring others?
  • Is it tougher to win deals in a new territory compared to mature markets?
  • Are deals that are effectively lost being closed in salesforce?

This last point is critical. Open deals often live on in the eternal hope that one day they will close successful. Here’s how to identify these lame duck deals that are artificially increasing your opportunity win rates.

As The True Story of Dave Apthorp: The Best and the Worst Sales Person reveals, it’s important not to use the win rate metric in isolation.

Awesome Pipeline and Sales Performance Visibility

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How to report on opportunity win rates

The video shows how to create the win rate dashboard chart and report shown in this article. Scroll down for details of the Opportunity formula field referred to the video and the report formulas.

Opportunity formula field

The formula used in the Opportunity custom Amount Won field is:

IF(
IsWon = TRUE,
Amount,
0
)

No need to add the field the page layout but make sure it is visible to all relevant profiles.

% Won (Amount) report formula

Here’s the report formula that calculates the Amount Won % using the opportunity field above.

Formula in salesforce report that calculates win rate by opportunity amount.

% Won (Count) report formula

Here’s the report formula that calculates the percentage number of opportunities that have been won in the month.

This report formula calculates win rate by the number of opportunities.

12 Must-Have Charts For Your Salesforce Dashboard

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Effective sales manage relies on robust visibility of the sales pipeline. This salesforce dashboard chart shows the open opportunities by close date and stage. It gives sales executives the essential information they need to manage the sales pipeline effectively. It allows them to forecast accurately. It enables dud deals to be identified. And it prevents that all too common problem of the over-inflated sales pipeline.

4 Ways To Measure Revenue Against Sales Targets In Salesforce

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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.

Related Blog Posts

The Best Sales Pipeline Report To Use This Year (2020)

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Effective sales manage relies on robust visibility of the sales pipeline. This salesforce dashboard chart shows the open opportunities by close date and stage. It gives sales executives the essential information they need to manage the sales pipeline effectively. It allows them to forecast accurately. It enables dud deals to be identified. And it prevents that all too common problem of the over-inflated sales pipeline.

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

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

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.

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.

Blog posts related to this 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.

Blog posts related to this 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.

If You Only Create One Dashboard Chart Don’t Let It Look Like This! Explains what to do if too many opportunities with Close Dates in the past make your beautiful chart look like a washing line!

3) Traditional Funnel Chart

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

The traditional 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 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 traditional 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.

Blog posts related to this salesforce dashboard chart:

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

12 Must Have Charts For Your Salesforce Dashboard

Download the FREE eBook today from our website

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.

Blog posts related to this 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.

Blog posts related to this Salesforce dashboard chart:

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.

Blog posts related to this 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.

12 Must Have Charts For Your Salesforce Dashboard

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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.

Blog posts related to this Salesforce dashboard chart:

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.

Blog posts related to this 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.

Blog posts related to this 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.

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.

Blog posts related to this 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?

Blog posts related to this 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.

Blog posts related to this 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.

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.