Conventionally, sales performance is measured by the value of orders closed. Sales persons are assigned targets, and their incentives are based on their ability to meet these targets. However, merely meeting targets does not ensure consistency of sales performance, effective utilization of sales resources, accurate target assignments, or effective sales conversions.
The pipeline report metrics
On2Biz automatically generates a sales pipeline report based on values entered in sales projects. Let us look at a sample pipeline report generated by On2Biz:
This is a pipeline for one month for a particular sales person. The metrics that are shown in the report above are:
1. Milestone – Milestones indicate the stage of sales in the sales process.
2. Pipeline – Pipeline indicates value and number of projects that are currently at various milestones.
The number of projects in the pipeline should be highest at the lead stage, and gradually reduce towards the bottom. In the example above, there are not enough projects at the beginning of the pipeline. This may hamper sales flow in the following period.
3. New – Indicates the number of new projects that have arrived at the corresponding milestone in the report period selected (1 month).
Each milestone should have some new projects each month. No new projects indicates that the sales process may be taking too long, or that there is not enough activity.
4. Inactive – Indicates the number of projects that are inactive for more than 1 week (or period specified in configuration) at the time the report is generated.
This column has two numbers shown as X / Y, where X are projects that are inactive due to lack of any sales activity, wyile Y are projects that may have activity, but have not shown any progress in milestones. Ideally, X should be low or zero, indicating enough sales activity is being carried out. Y indicates lack of progress.
5. Average Project Value – Indicates the average value of projects at the corresponding milestone.
The average value gives an indication of the size of orders that are being worked on. When comparing pipelines of sales persons, one can find out which sales persons are working on smaller value projects, but may have larger number of projects, and which sales persons are working on fewer, hopefully larger value projects.
6. Weighted Pipeline Value – Indicates the value of projects at the corresponding milestone, based on the probability of conversion.
The probability of conversion is automatically calculated by On2Biz, based on the history of conversion of the particular sales person, product category or sales team for which the pipeline report was generated. Ideally, the weighted value should be equally distributed in all the milestones, which ensures smooth sales flow. Lack of enough weighted value at any critical stage is an early warning for potential trouble to come.
7. Funnel – The funnel shows a cumulative performance of all projects in the selected category and period. It shows the total number of projects that have passed the corresponding milestone in the period for which the report was generated.
The shape of the funnel indicates the rate of conversion of projects along the different milestones. The funnel should be consistently tapering down, indicating healthy sales conversion.
8. Conversion Ratio – Indicates the rate at which projects are getting converted with respect to the total number of projects in the funnel.
The critical conversion ratios to watch are the top and bottom – conversion of leads to opportunities, and order conversion. If the conversion of leads to opportunities is not high enough, it indicates that the quality of leads being captured may not be good enough. Order conversion should be consistent, as per benchmarks of the particular industry or market. A low order conversion ratio indicates lack of sales effectiveness. However, if the order conversion ratio is too high, it may not necessarily be good. It may be a sign of under-utilization of sales resources – you may be playing too small a game.
Drilling down from the pipeline report
One can drill down from this report to the list of projects for the following metrics:
1. Click on the pipeline value to get a list of projects that are currently at that milestone
2. Click on the number of new projects to get details of the projects
3. Click on the Inactive projects X / Y to get the corresponding projects that are inactive. Both X and Y are separate links.
Key Performance Indicators
To understand how the above metrics can be used as key performance indicators, let us see another example of a pipeline report to compare with the previous one:
Let us compare the above pipeline with the one previously shown:
1. Shape of the funnel – Firstly, the shape of the funnel now looks warped. Compare this with the previous report, where the funnel was gradually tapering. The bulge in the middle indicates that this sales person has projects that have directly entered the quotation stage and not as converted leads. This is likely because these may be repeat orders by existing customers (one can see the details of the projects by clicking on the corresponding pipeline value). So the sales person may be overly dependent on repeat orders and not putting enough effort on new leads – or in this case, just sitting on the leads without working on them.
2. Distribution of Weighted Pipeline Value – Compared to the previous example, this report shows a different distribution of the weighted value. There is a larger weighed value of the top, and smaller weighted value at the bottom. However, if one looks at the new and inactive columns, it shows that these leads may be all old, and lying around without any progress. Hence if there is any deviation from a uniformly distributed weighted value, it could be a sign of trouble.
3. Lead Qualification Ratio – This report shows only 73% leads are being qualified, while in the previous report, 92% leads were being qualified. This may indicate that leads being captured are not good enough, or as in this case (evident from the inactive projects), the sales person is too lazy to work on the leads.
4. Order Conversation Ratio – This report shows an extraordinarily high order conversion ratio of 67% – a sure sign of trouble!!! A high order conversion ratio is a sure indication of under-utilization of sales resources. The earlier report showed only 7% conversion, but all other KPIs were good.
Had we used the conventional method of measuring performance only on value of orders converted, the second sales person would have been considered a better performer than the first. On2Biz pipeline report therefore simplifies the performance management by using a broader set of Key Performance Indicators, which ensure consistent sales effectiveness across the entire sales team.