Salesforce.com is well equipped for managing the sales pipeline. The key is focusing on the stages and management of process via dashboards.
Managing From Dashboards
In our Salesforce consulting, we work with managers and business owners to focus them on key metrics. The metrics need to be simple and real. By simple, they need to be something each salesperson understands and manages their activities towards. By real, the dashboard metrics must have rewards and consequences based on performance.
Depending on how your market works, the sales pipeline should be minimized with the least amount of Opportunity stages. A common set of stages for a service business would include:
- Create Awareness
- Set Appointment
- Conduct Initial Consultation
- Send Contract
It is a six-step process. Each step would be defined so that each person on the team understands a common meaning.
Scoring Opportunity Stages
Each of the Opportunity Stages represent a probability. By carefully defining the probability percentage, the sum of all Opportunities multiplied by their probability constitute a forecast. This forecast can be used to plan for cash flow and revenue in coming months and quarters.
There is a feedback loop in the early stages which must be attended to. The comparison of forecasting to reality will drive a correction factor back into the probability assumed.
Simple Salesforce Management
Our observation is that most Salesforce.com systems are overengineered and cumbersome. The daily execution required of today’s managers can make what was good intentions become irrelevant quickly. As always, the most important factor is adoption by your team. Thus, our Salesforce.com best practice is to start simply and introduce new customizations reluctantly and slowly.
Pipeline management should be something that helps you with decisions on whether more prospecting needs to take place or if your fulfillment team needs to be prepared. It is a moving picture of what is happening in your funnel to drive sales based on stages. Ensure your team has a weekly meeting to review what is in the pipeline. It will take a good 30-60 days for a team to adopt what you have implemented with good leadership.
Feel free to comment on your own experiences below.