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Nothing is more useful to a sales manager than a pipeline report and dashboard chart that give full visibility of the funnel.

That’s why this article has everything you need to know about the best report and dashboard chart to deliver pipeline visibility in salesforce.

I’ll explain what the report and chart look like. I’ll show you how to easily get both items into your own salesforce environment. And most importantly of all, I’ll demonstrate EXACTLY how to use the report and chart to achieve accurate revenue forecasting and robust pipeline management.

Bottom line:

If you want to get more benefits from salesforce dashboards, you’ll love this pipeline report and chart. It’s my favourite in our 12 Must-Have Salesforce Dashboard Charts.

Don’t have time to read the whole article right now?

No problem, download the PDF by completing the form below.

The Best Pipeline Report and Dashboard Chart

Here’s what we are talking about:

The Pipeline by Month and Opportunity Stage report is the best tool for accurate forecasting and effective sales management. It shows the value of Opportunities due to close each month. Within each month, the value is split by the various Opportunity Stages.

This means it provides essential information for accurate forecasting and managing the sales pipeline.

Here’s what it looks like on a salesforce Lightning dashboard chart.

We can see, for example, there’s $60,000 of pipeline due to close in October. Of that, $11,000 is in the Negotiation Stage.

Drill down from the chart to see the exact numbers in pipeline report:

If you’re using the Classic salesforce interface, then the pipeline chart is going to look pretty similar:

However, Classic and Lightning reports are built differently. This means the Classic pipeline report will look like this:

In other words, in Classic the months usually go on the horizontal axis. Lightning prefers them vertically.

Nevertheless, although the reports look slightly different, the principles of using the information to achieve robust pipeline visibility and accurate revenue forecasting are exactly the same.

How to get this pipeline report and chart

You might be thinking:

How do I get my hands on this pipeline report and dashboard chart?

You have two options.

1. Build it yourself. Use a straightforward Opportunities report, grouped by Stage, displaying the Amount field.

2. Install our free GSP Salesforce Dashboard. You can download it from the AppExchange Listing. In fact, the dashboard contains all 12 of my recommended salesforce sales pipeline charts and reports.

So, no excuses for not having this pipeline report and chart at your fingertips 😊

Awesome Pipeline and Sales Performance Visibility

Download the FREE Dashboard from the AppExchange today

How to use the pipeline report in current month

Let’s assume it’s the middle of October right now. Also, let’s say our average sales cycle is 3 months or thereabouts.

What do the report and chart tell us?

We can see that in our current month (October), there’s $60,000 of Opportunities due to close.

Furthermore, this value is split by the various Opportunity Stages. In salesforce, hover over each Stage for additional detail.

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

Here’s what to do. Expand the report so that it shows the names and owners of the individual opportunities. Click Edit on the report, then check the Detail Rows option.

Think about the deals in each Stage.

For example, those deals that are in Prospecting:

If our average sales cycle is three months, you need to be confident those deals will close this month.

Ask yourself, should some of these opportunities be at a more advanced Stage? Do the close dates need to be moved to a later month? Have the close dates on some of these opportunities already slipped from one month to another?

That’s because if the answer to any these questions is yes, it means you do not have a robust pipeline nor an accurate forecast for the current month.

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

Here’s something that happens time and again with deals due to close in the current month. They slip from one month to the next. This isn’t an article on how to manage that problem, but this is

You might want to bookmark it to read later.

Or watch this video on pipeline quality metrics.

Key point:

Go through the deals due to close this month and make sure the opportunities are at the right stage and have a realistic close date.

December pipeline strength

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

What about those deals in the Negotiation Stage?

Are they at the correct Stage? If so, is it really going to take us three months to close these deals? Is there anything we can do to bring them forward?

In fact, looking at the December pipeline report here’s what I notice:

There’s a lot of funnel due to close at the end of the year.

Are these deals in December because the financial year of many customers ends that month? If so, we can legitimately expect many deals to complete in the run up to Christmas?

Likewise, work out whether many of the opportunities due to close in December been sitting in the pipeline for a long time.

For example, were salespeople under pressure earlier in the year to boost the size of the pipeline? If so, salespeople may have entered December as the close date on the basis that (hopefully) the opportunity is “bound to close sometime during the year”.

If that is the case, it means the December pipeline is nowhere near as strong as we hope. So take a hard look at it.

Tip: this blog post explains how to get pipeline metrics that reveal how long the deal has been open and the number of days since the last opportunity stage change. Use these metrics to identify opportunities that have an increased chance of slipping to another month.

January pipeline strength

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

Perhaps this dip is due to a legitimate seasonal variation. Alternatively, maybe it’s right to expect a slow start to the new year.

On the other hand, is it something we should be concerned about? The pipeline report may be telling us we may need to start organizing marketing campaigns now, in order to boost the pipeline three or four months from now.

12 Must-Have Charts For Your Salesforce Dashboard

Download the FREE eBook from our website today

Deals due to close in earlier months

Let’s stick with our assumption that right now, we’re in the middle of October. Consequently, what are these deals doing here on the sales pipeline chart? The ones closing in September.

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

But we see this very often. In other words, open opportunities with close dates in the past. Either those deals are already closed, and the opportunity stage has not been updated. Or, the close date needs to be moved because the opportunities are still open.

Unfortunately, both circumstances mean the pipeline forecast is not accurate.

A case in point:

Colin Parish, VP of Sales at Moderna downloaded the GSP Sales Dashboard  from the AppExchange. However, Colin’s pipeline report didn’t look like our beautiful example.

That’s because Colin’s funnel was full of opportunities with close dates in the past. It’s such a common problem we gave it a name: The Bedraggled Washing Line Pipeline Report.

See what I mean?

Fortunately, there are five things you can legitimately do if your best pipeline report looks like a bedraggled washing line:

  1. Go through the opportunities one by one yourself and update them.
  2. Get salespeople to update their own opportunities.
  3. Mass update all the opportunities to Closed Won or Closed lost.
  4. Mass update all opportunities with close dates in the past to a future date.
  5. Sweep the problem under the carpet.

Yes, you read that last one right.

I explain exactly why and when you should use each course of action in this post:

Don’t Let Your Best Pipeline Chart Look Like a Bedraggled Washing Line

Don’t hog it, get your team using the best pipeline report

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

However, like any other pipeline report, it doesn’t just need to be visible to managers.

Salespeople can manage their own pipeline using this same pipeline chart. Filter the report to show ‘My Team’s Opportunities’. The means it will contain the opportunities belonging to each individual team member.

Tip: check that your Role Hierarchy is accurate to make sure My Team reports show accurate pipeline information. That’s because salesforce uses this configuration feature to define what My Team means for each person.

Now, each team member can take responsibility for managing their own pipeline.

Best pipeline report video

In the video below I demonstrate exactly how to use the sales pipeline report and the dashboard chart.

Create the Opportunities by Close Date and Stage report

Remember, you can install the GSP Sales Dashboard from the AppExchange. That’s the quickest way to get the Pipeline by Close Date and Stage report and dashboard chart. You will, of course, get all the other pipeline reports we recommend as well.

Related Sales Pipeline Blog Posts

Want even more pipeline visibility? Try these blog posts:

Awesome Pipeline and Sales Performance Visibility

Download the FREE Dashboard from the AppExchange today

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