Every sales manager is under pressure to grow revenue.
That means knowing about the sales pipeline trend.
It stands to reason:
All other things being equal, you can’t grow revenue if your sales pipeline trend is flat. Or worse, heading downhill.
In particular, managers need clarity on their sales pipeline trend over both the long and short-term.
Of course, how you define long and short term is up to you. It’s a function of your sales cycle.
However, the principle is the same irrespective of time periods. You need to know whether your sales pipeline is growing or shrinking.
Here’s how to achieve that clarity using salesforce dashboards and reports.
Long-term sales pipeline trend
Getting visibility of the long-term sales pipeline trend in salesforce means using the Opportunity As-At report.
This report shows the size of the sales funnel ‘As-At’ the 1st of each month.
As such, it gives us valuable insight into the medium and long-term trend in the sales funnel.
We can see the funnel shrank for the first three months.
Fortunately, we were then able to correct it. In fact, the funnel is showing healthy growth in the final three months that should stand us in good stead for 2018.
Detailed analysis of the long-term pipeline trend
Drilling down to the underlying report means we can examine the long-term sales pipeline chart in more detail.
The report and dashboard chart illustrate that the reduction in pipeline size in the first three months was primarily in the latter stages of the sales cycle. The Negotiation Stage, for example, reduced in size.
In fact, the Negotiation Stage has continued to remain flat over the last three months.
That’s because the upward trend in sales pipeline size is primarily in the Prospecting and Investigation Stages.
How do we explain this growth? Did we initiate new marketing campaigns? Did the market take an upturn? Have we hired more salespeople?
Of course, only you know that in the context of your business.
However, here’s one more thing to consider:
Has the pipeline growth been at the expense of funnel quality? Size matters. However, not usually when sacrificing quality.
To monitor this, use the GSP lead conversion dashboard to compare win rates across opportunities. Then review these pipeline quality metrics to measure whether deals are consistently slipping from one month to the next.
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Short-term sales pipeline trend
The As-At report tells us about the size of the sales funnel trend on the 1st of each month.
As such, it’s an excellent guide to the overall trend in the sales funnel.
However, what about short-term trends? How has the funnel changed over the last few weeks or days?
Here’s the salesforce dashboard chart that does that.
However, bear in mind the underlying report and chart mean you must be using Enterprise Edition or above in salesforce. That’s because the report uses the Historical Trends feature, not available in Professional Edition.
This pipeline trend chart gives the short-term information needed for day-to-day sales performance management and funnel reviews.
In the example above, we’ve set the report to provide a snapshot for each of the last 6 weeks. That means the chart measures the short-term impact of marketing campaigns and lead generation activity.
Again, the salesforce report gives more detail on the sales pipeline trend:
To create this type of report first enable the Historical Trends reporting function. Do this by clicking Setup, Customize, Reports & Dashboards, Historical Trending. Check the box ‘Enable Historical Trending’ for Opportunities. Then, when you create a new report, Opportunities with Historical Trending is an option under the Opportunities report types.
Get Sales Pipeline Trend Visibility In Your Business
Like the sound of clarity on sales pipeline trends across your sales teams.
- If you are using Enterprise Edition or above, install the EE version of the GSP Sales Dashboard from the AppExchange. The dashboard delivers great visibility of the size, quality and trend in your sales pipeline. It includes both the long-term and short-term charts discussed in this blog post.
- If you are using Professional Edition, install the PE version of the GSP Sales Dashboard from the AppExchange. This dashboard includes the long-term sales pipeline trend chart. However, it excludes the short-term version. That’s because the latter needs features only available in Enterprise Edition and above. In all other respects the dashboards are identical.
If you are installing the Enterprise Edition, don’t forget to enable Historical Reporting in your org first.
Video Demonstration on Sales Pipeline Trend Dashboard Charts
I’ve recorded a 3 minute demonstration of both charts in action. The video includes additional commentary on how to use these charts in the context of the traditional funnel dashboard graph.
Awesome Pipeline and Sales Performance Visibility
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Related Articles on Pipeline Trends
If you liked this article then you might want to read some of the other blog posts we’ve written on achieving full sales performance visibility using salesforce. Try these:
- 12 Must-Have Salesforce Dashboard Charts.
- Is Your Sales Funnel Big Enough To Make Quota?
- 3 Killer Pipeline Quality Metrics That Tell You When To Be Sceptical.
Gary also recently ran a webinar with special guest Derek Davis, Director of Sales Support at Gilbarco Veeder Root. They demonstrated a wide range of dashboard charts that give increased visibility of the sales pipeline. They also directly addressed the question of how to measure the trend in the sales pipeline. Watch and listen to the webinar recording or read the Q&A published by Gary.
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