The Power of the Stage Duration Metric

SO_StrategyAlignment

If your organization’s frontline sales manager can view in your CRM the amount of time an Opportunity dwells in its current sales stage, you’ve taken the first step to unleashing the power of the Stage Duration metric.

We’ve worked with a cross-section of clients in technology hardware, software, services, logistics, transportation, and business services outsourcing. Most have 612 month complex sales cycles, which are focused on selling to mid-market and enterprise firms and need a support team for most opportunity pursuits.

In particular, the initial sales Stage Duration metric has helped sales managers improve opportunity and pipeline management and, in turn, sales results within their teams. Initial Stage Duration is the amount of time an Opportunity dwells in the initial sales stage before it moves on to the next stage. We map that metric to the number of Opportunities that actually make it to proposal. We’ve seen consistently that if the stage duration metric for an initial sales stage is more than 90 days, there is less than a 10% chance that the Opportunity will make it to Proposal. Now, this does not mean that every opportunity that dwells in the initial sales stage for more than 90 days is dead or mostly dead. All it means is that the facts bear witness that chances of moving to proposal diminish greatly. This is a cue for the sales manager to ask hard questions on how to jumpstart the opportunity or kill it quickly.

Finally, the 90-day initial sale Stage Duration metric may not be the threshold that applies to your sales organization. Maybe its 45 days or 105 days. Regardless, it can serve as a powerful metric to help sales managers improve sales results.

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