4 Eye-Opening Stats Around Sales Pipeline Visibility

November 21, 2018

Seeking a Clear View of Sales Pipeline

The sales pipeline is at the center of all things business development. Every prospect, lead, and opportunity for your company should ideally be housed here, making it the lifeblood of sustenance and growth.

But to be truly valuable, your sales pipeline needs to be visible, updated, accessible, and actionable for the all pertinent players on the sales and marketing teams. Unfortunately, this is too often not the case, and the repercussions are troubling.

It boils down to this striking statistic, via our new Get Closer to Your Sales Team guide: an estimated 24% of forecasted deals go dark.

That’s one out of four promising sales opportunities falling by the wayside — a painful thought. Why is it happening, and how can we fix it?

What’s Causing Snags in the Sales Pipeline?

Why are so many forecasted deals going dark? There are three major factors (and corresponding statistics, all found in the same Get Closer guide) that stand out:

  • Account Churn: Decision makers typically change roles at a rate of 20% per year
  • Internal Churn: An estimated 25% of sales reps change roles every year
  • Lack of Focus: Reps spend 37.2% of their time on non-core activities

In a dynamic digital environment, the sales pipeline tends to be in a constant state of flux. Some of that’s uncontrollable, but if we are able to monitor and account for these factors, we can keep them from derailing deals.

That’s been a major focus of the frontline sales teams at LinkedIn, so today we thought we’d highlight some of the practices that have worked for us.

Improving Sales Pipeline Visibility

At LinkedIn, we recently launched a new feature called Sales Navigator Deals, which is primarily centered on solving the pervasive issue of hidden pitfalls in the sales pipeline. Deals creates a central, integrated, real-time view of the pipeline, enabling all sellers to access accurate and up-to-date insights.

“I used to explore our pipeline in a spreadsheet, adding endless columns and using color coding to try to make sense of it all,” said Jack McKeon, regional manager for LinkedIn EMEA, in Get Closer to Your Sales Team. “Not only was this inefficient, it’s a static view of a dynamic pipeline. With Deals, I can quickly and easily get the focused view that I want – no more wrestling with our CRM system.”

The value of your CRM is greatly diminished when the information it holds cannot be trusted. Sales Navigator Deals syncs up to your CRM, so that changes and edits are automatically and instantly written back to it. Since less time is spent organizing information (via spreadsheets and other half-measures) it frees up more time for sales reps and their managers to spend on those critical core activities.

Another key aspect of Sales Navigator Deals that helps cast light on your sales pipeline is the Buyer Circle. This creates a visual representation of all key stakeholders involved in the decision-making process for a deal, so you can clearly pinpoint gaps and risk points.

“When I see through the Buyer Circle that we are single threaded, it’s a red flag to dig deeper and figure out who else we should be talking to,” said Joan Doyle Foley, head of enterprise sales for LinkedIn. “I use the Buyer Circle to look at other functions that might touch the larger deal.”

Buyer Circle is a vital tool for managing the aforementioned account churn that sends many forecasted deals into darkness. When you save contacts in the Buyer Circle as leads, your team will be alerted of important events like role changes and company exits.  

See Your Pipeline Clearly

The realities of today’s B2B marketplace present new challenges for managing the sales pipeline. Your team will be ready to meet them with the right processes in place. By improving pipeline visibility, you can prevent turnover at your accounts (or on your own team) from derailing deals while also freeing up more time for reps and managers to focus on the work that matters.

That’s a clear win.

For more field-tested guidance on keeping your sellers aligned around the sales pipeline, download Get Closer to Your Sales Team.