Can you remember a time before a maps application existed on your phone or in your car? Actual printed paper maps existed (and still exist!) to guide travelers to their destination. If the road closed or the map was outdated in any way, you wouldn’t find out about it until it was too late, making you late for an appointment or other plans. Thanks to crowdsourcing and automatic updates, Google Maps and other mapping applications can not only guide you but also forecast traffic and an estimated time of arrival.
Now consider a guide and forecast for your business. With updated data and “crowdsourcing” from sales representatives, a sales pipeline offers real time information that can be used to forecast revenue so business owners can make more informed decisions and catch mistakes, budget declines or underperforming sales reps before it’s too late.
Managers and sales reps can refer to their pipeline of prospects and leads to increase conversions and forecast revenue and performance.
Defining the Sales Pipeline
The sales pipeline will include every opportunity that exists for a sales person and every stage of the prospect in process. Sales stages can be defined by your sales organization but, on a high level, typically include:
Within these sales stages, there may be other activities such as contacting the prospect, meetings and following up. The sales pipeline offers a visual guide to the process, much like a map, so that sales reps know every opportunity and where they need to focus to help those prospects become clients.
A sales forecast is an estimate of sales revenue based on information found in the pipeline. Sales forecasting will allow sales reps to determine how well they are trending towards meeting their quota. The sales forecast also informs decision-makers within your business on expected performance, trends and revenue.
The accuracy of sales forecasting is important to predict business needs and compare to historical data. Sales managers may use this data to build or break up sales territories, set quotas and determine if more (or less) sales reps are needed. Inventory can be managed with information found in the sales forecast, preventing too much or not enough, so that clients are happy and the sales team continues to be successful. And isn’t that what we all want? Happy clients and successful sales teams.
The best way to convert the leads and prospects in the pipeline is to be better prepared. Much like the map application, the pipeline gives a bigger picture of the opportunity stages of the prospects. This information gives sales reps a clear visual of each prospect, where they appear in the process, and what is required to move them to the next stage and convert to become a client. A sales forecast, pulled from pipeline data, allows management to predict business needs and provide reps with the tools and inventory required to meet the demands of prospects and leads. Think of forecasting like the map application’s ability to predict traffic patterns and estimated time of arrival. Accessible information, in real time and available anywhere, empowers the sales team to maximize conversions and keep the pipeline loaded with more leads. Imagine your work commute before Google Maps or Waze. Now apply that same efficiency to your sales process.
Launchpad Media Management provides powerful sales enablement tools in a system that is available anywhere and at any time. The LaunchPad Media Management gives each organization the ability to set their own criteria for sales opportunity stages and manage the pipeline. A forecast Hot List give sales reps a tool for forecasting and estimating close dates for proposals. Management can easily pull reports and drill down on each sales representative to review budgets and goals, as well as compare to historical data. LaunchPad Media Management has 75+ reports available for sales, the ability to customize reporting as well as a powerful commission tracking tool. Learn more by requesting a demo - click here.