The Open Sales Pipeline Report is the simplest and most effective tool for a sales organization, top to bottom, to manage sales performance and ensure that the sales strategy is being executed.
The trouble is that for many organizations, the Open Sales Pipeline Report does not contain the right information for the sales person and the sales manager that they need to actively manage the Pipeline. This contributes to a lack of confidence in the sales pipeline and allows stuck, stale, and dead opportunities to dwell where they don’t belong.
In addition to Sales Stage, Forecast Category, and Close Date, we think the key field elements for an Open Sales Pipeline Report are as follows:
|Open Sales Pipeline Report Field||Field Rationale|
|Sales Stage Duration (Days)||Indicates the number of days that the sales opportunity has been in the current Sales Stage. This provides insight into whether or not the opportunity exceeded a typical or average dwell time for this phase of the sales process.|
|Age (Days)||Indicates the number of days that the sales opportunity has existed in the Pipeline. Used in conjunction with the Sales Stage Duration field, one can see how the Age field can provide an initial assessment if the opportunity is stuck, stale, or dead.|
|Close Date Push Counter||Indicates how many times the owner of the opportunity has pushed the opportunity close date relative to the initial close date when the opportunity was created. This illustrates that the owner of the opportunity either does not understand the prospect’s decision making process or that the date is being pushed to reflect a clean pipeline.|
|Close Date Days Pushed||Indicates the incremental number of days that close date has been pushed relative to the initial close date when the opportunity was created. Used in conjunction with the Close Date Push Counter, one can determine if the opportunity is progressing appropriately.|
|Opportunity Update||A long text field that allows the opportunity owner to enter a brief, intelligent, and relevant update on the next key steps or recent milestones; the newest update is always on top, and prior updates are retained in the history. This allows the opportunity owner, sales manager, and others in the organization to keep track of opportunity progress in one place, which mitigates the need to provide ad-hoc updates.|
Adding the above-suggested Open Pipeline fields to your Open Pipeline report is one thing—fairly easy. Helping your sales leaders and their direct reports understand the value of the fields with correct information and how to use the new fields to improve Open Pipeline health and hygiene is quite another—a lot of work.
If your organization lacks confidence in the health and hygiene of the Open Sales Pipeline, then having the right fields on the Open Sales Pipeline Report is the first step of the journey.