Sales Planning & Pipeline Management

“Plans are nothing; planning is everything”. Sales plans and lead management are critical to the success of your team and organisation.

As a sales leader, you probably cannot change the way your customers buy, but you can certainly influence the way your team works.



The skyrocketing costs of chasing an opportunity means sales leaders should be able to answer some of these questions:

 

How does our pipeline (or sales funnel) look today?
How long is our Average Deal Lifetime and what can we do to reduce it?
What is our close ratio and how can we improve it?
Which projects or deals in our pipeline have better chances of succeeding?

 

Managing a sales funnel is a critical operative sales planning job. To perform this, a sales leader needs three things. First, an overview of the general status of the sales funnel or pipeline. Second, a list of each plan or opportunity with details. Third, a set of Key Performance Indicators about the status of the sales pipeline.

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Qymatix Sales Plans view is structured in that way. Here the user has access to a sales plans analytics view, a list of sales plans and a pipeline overview, where sales plans can be managed via drag-and-drop.

With the plan analytics view, sales leaders should be able to answer questions such as: how many projects do we have? In which stage are they? What is the potential in euros?

Qymatix Expert Tip: To improve the performance of your sales team, focus on the sales plans and activities with better chances of success.

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In the pipeline analytics view, you can see the number of deals in your funnel or pipeline, the average size of a deal, their close ratio (or deal win ratio), and their average lifetime (how old your deals, leads or opportunities are on average).

Besides, you can compare below the expected incoming orders versus your sales targets. This information is beneficial to understand if your sales pipeline is well aligned with your sales objectives and goals.

Remember that if you have precise information about sales cycle and its length, you now have tremendous insight for how to plan your upcoming sales quarters and how to give specific guidance to your salespeople.

Moreover, once your sales planning process becomes evident, you can start to create a predictable sales pipeline and revenue stream for your organisation. Invest your time wisely and pay attention to those accounts that can yield the best results.

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Each of your plans should have specific actions. You can access them next to each of your projects or plans and in a calendar tab in the sales activities view. This view will help you to understand the set of activities your sales force is currently undertaking. Do you want a tip? During your sales calls or coaching sessions, ask your Key Account Managers about their plans and how they are investing their time.

Look for “hot” deals in your funnel with no planned sales actions.

What is in a successful sales plan? Best practices in sales planning predict that planning is successful if there is a limited number of elements tracked in a sales plan. These should include an explicit name, a small number of pipeline stages, a management decision on whether to chase the opportunity, a human “chances” assessment, an estimated close date, a financial goal and free-text comments. New opportunities should be associated with existing accounts or leads.

All these elements are present in a Qymatix sales plan.

In the List tab of the sales pipeline view, you can access a list of all your sales planes, with the specific actions or activities associated with them. With the help of artificial intelligence, Qymatix predictive sales analytics notifies you when a plan becomes “hot” and requires attention. This advanced algorithm considers several dimensions to predict the outcome of a project, such as the chances of the sales plan, how old it is, and the sales cycle of your customer.

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From this view, you can add new sales plans in your pipeline or sales funnel. If your integration allows it, sales plan will automatically harvest and updated into your CRM. Otherwise, you can use Qymatix as your intelligent CRM.

Qymatix Expert Tip: If it is not planned, it will probably never happen.

In the list tab of the sales plans view, you can track each of your team’s sales plans, their chances, and status. You should discuss with your Key Account Manager what are the chances of each plan. Your Key Account Managers or sales reps can give you their input. You can decide whether you want to stop the plan, gather more information or go ahead.

In sales planning, still, nothing beats a well-organized sales calendar. In the calendar tab of the sales activities view, you can view all the sales activities, identify by colours. From here you can edit them, add new or delete the actions no longer needed.

From this view, you can list your sales actions, add a new one by clicking on a day and edit them (just click on them).

What types of sales actions can I save?

Classifying the kind of sales activities your Key Account Manager is undertaking is relevant for analytics and machine learning. Since there is, of course, no clear cut splitting a typical sales calls from an offer, here are some guidelines.

Sales Call
A Sales Call is the simplest form of customer interaction, either a phone call or a mail (an e-mail or a classic mail).

Sales Visit
A sales visit is defined as a human interaction. Two or more people, on from the customer side, one from the company side, coming together.

Sales Offer
A sales offer involves a quotation, an order, or a written negotiation about price, delivery, etc. This kind of action is usually associated with the latest stages of a sales plan.

Email
An Email is any electronic form of communication that does not include a written offer.

What do you do if you are not sure what kind of sales action to choose?
Use the one that makes sense to you and be consistent in its usage. For example, you can use “Sales Offer” only for written sales offers, not prices discussed over a conversation. Once you are clear about this, keep the same definition.

Qymatix Expert Tip: Align your sales representatives, inside sales and marketing teams around the same activities and use consistent sales metrics.

Is there any other funnel or pipeline analysis you would like to have? Contact us, we are happy to help you.

We also offer you Sales Planning Analytics and Lead Scoring as a service.

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