Topic: Customer Behavior

How Do I Forecast My Sales Pipeline?

Posted by Anonymous on 125 Points
We have a very long sales cycle (about 2 yrs) and it often happens that we are very sure that the deal is going to happen and then suddenly it is delayed by a couple of months. We use a sales pipeline rating technique called "Solution Selling" where we identify and qualify our prospects.

I would like to know is the some tool out there with regards to being able to rate the probability of closing a deal based on some values that I can capture. The list of questions could be very much client specific like "the probability to outsource work to some one".

That way if I could rate the prospects, I could use that rating as a weighting to try and forecast my sales pipline with a conservative view or a bold view.

Does my question make sense?
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  • Posted by mgoodman on Accepted
    Any software you find is almost certain to be dependent on the quality of the input. I'm guessing the actual calculations are fairly trivial ... not a technical challenge.

    Therefore, I'd concentrate on learning as much about the prospective customer as possible. Maybe you can find an inside coach at the customer site and explain to them that you have a long pipeline, so any information you can get about the likely timing of a decision, and the key criteria, will ultimately serve both of you well.

    It seems to me this isn't so much a "formula" that needs to be solved, but a customer relations and sales planning issue.
  • Posted by Chris Blackman on Accepted
    You need to understand your sales funnel - and how much it leaks... Let me explain.

    One of the other members here has written a book on the subject: "The Leaky Funnel": see the profile of Hugh MacFarlane at

    The book describes how a company aligned its sales & marketing journey with the corresponding buying journey undertaken by its customers. The subject company had a medium-long term sales cycle, but the methodology adapts to any length cycle.

    Hugh's consulting company has a website and a special site for the book

    You can also buy the book from Amazon here

    I have read the book and can heartily recommend it (and no, I'm not on a commission LOL!)

    I know this will help you!



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