“Data, I think, is one of the most powerful mechanisms for telling stories. I take a huge pile of data and I try to get it to tell stories.” — Steven Levitt, Co-author of Freakonomics
Marketing and product teams spend vast amounts of time, energy and resources to define target markets, and their related characteristics, so sales teams can pursue the best opportunities to drive revenue and profit growth.
So what percentage of your sales pipeline should be comprised of your target market’s “best prospects?”
We’ve observed that the most disciplined sales teams consistently achieve 60% — 70% of their sales pipeline comprised of the target market’s best prospects. For typical sales organizations, we see only 20% — 30% of the sales pipeline consist of the “best prospects” as marketing and product teams have defined them.
Disciplined sales organizations do three things very well to ensure that the sales pipeline is comprised of the best prospects :
- Their CRM data and governance structure are focused on providing meaningful insight to sales, marketing, and leadership teams. They source, manage and track industry, sub-industry, and other company demographic information that identifies which companies are their best prospects.
- They measure the percentage of their sales pipeline dollars that come from their best prospects, versus all other prospects. They know bad prospects and less desirable prospects are inevitable, which is why they keep tabs on how they consume resources.
- Sales leaders. operations, and support teams don’t take opportunity (deal) qualification lightly. They ensure that a healthy tension between functions help prioritize resources and build the “muscle tone” to say “No” to opportunities that are less desirable.
We’ve helped organizations improve sales growth by 20% or more, just by helping them shift to measuring Pipeline size from target markets and best prospects, and embedding the three points above into their sales and marketing team motions.
You can start the shift in your organization by asking your sales leaders and sales operations teams — “What percent of our pipeline is comprised of opportunities from our target markets and best prospects?” They answer might surprise you.