January 8, 2012

Put that in your Sales Pipeline and Track it!

Sales Pipeline

This post originally appeared on abigailgorton.com on 01/08/12.
Technologies have advanced, but Sales will always be Sales

Most of our businesses embark on a new set of goals each year. But do we know if we are on track to achieve them? I went to a conference a year ago where I truly got the message  that businesses need to know their ‘closing’ ratio – the proportion of inbound contacts that actually turn into sales.

My inner-statistician and outer-control-freak bellied up to the computer with barely concealed glee. ‘We’ opened a spreadsheet and data-dived for what we could find of my sales pipeline, drawing on those trusted resources – the in-box, to-do list, my calendar, saved voicemails and annotated business cards.

OK, so all that above, was 2012.
In 2023 I manage my sales pipeline in Pipedrive.

Knowing the past performance of my sales pipeline tells me this about the present:
–   Close ratio: The proportion (numbers or value) of deals that actually close
–   Number of Contacts  needed each month to reach sales goals
–   Where contacts come from

Knowing the present performance of my Pipeline tells me this about the future:
–   How busy the next couple months are likely to be
–   Overly healthy pipeline? Knuckle down and bring in more subs!
–   Light on incoming work? Need to get out to do a bit more networking.

The Benefits of Knowing Your Sales Pipeline

My Closing Ratio within the Pipeline:
–   About 30% of my contacts are ‘leads’ who do not qualify as true prospects. Either my services are not right for them, or they do not have the time or budget. Most of these identify themselves on the first call. If I take 3 – 6 calls like this each month, that is fine by me – I can often refer them on to another business.
–   Over a year, my close ratio is about 50%. I am fine with this. If we are not the right fit for each other, the sooner we “Get to No”, the more time each of us have saved..
–   If my close ratio is 50% and my sales target is $100K of business each month (“Just sayin’…” that is so NOT the actual number!) then I would need an average pipeline of $200K each month.

The Sources of my New Leads.
This is the gold dust, right here! A year of data for this really tells me which of my marketing is worth while. These were the sources that identified themselves:
– BNI: Referrals from my current BNI membership and activity
– Clients: Referrals from my current clients
– Friends: People with no business overlap who refer business to me.
– Networking: Other than BNI (Chamber of Commerce, local Web forums etc)
– Organic SEO: People who found me through search
– Paid Google Ads
– Social Media:

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