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Sales pipelines: Sales leaders need more than snapshots, they need trends

by Dann Anthony Maurno
Assistant Editor, MSDW
September 21 2017
David Kohar

A sales pipeline may look rosy on a Power BI dashboard. But can it reveal that a $2 million sale in the close stage belongs to a sales rep who is a slow closer?

Snapshot views provide no historic context, which is what sales leaders need for a truly accurate forecast. "I can do a lot in Power BI, but what it's missing is the third leg of the stool, which is that you have to collect progress and time-based  data," says David Kohar, a managing director with Edgewater Fullscope. He will describe that requirement in his D365/CRMUG Summit 2017 presentation, "10 Ways to Take Your Sales Analytics to the Next Level."

As Kohar describes, the out-of-the-box dashboards and reports are perfectly good for a real-time snapshot of a sales pipeline. But, "What a VP of sales wants to understand is, how good is that salesperson at forecasting her opportunities? It's not easy [with out-of-the-box tools] to understand how long it actually takes her to go from the qualify stage to the proposal stage. Or, does the deal go from being $200,000 to $300,000 when it gets to proposal, but she's notoriously a big discounter, and as we close the deal it's down to $185,000?" He observes that it is almost impossible to get that level of data out of Dynamics 365 or Salesforce, or any top salesforce automation tool.

The business needs a series of snapshots that become historic data if they want to build a true analytical tool. The sales ...

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About Dann Anthony Maurno

Dann Anthony Maurno is a seasoned business journalist who began his career as International Marketing Manager with Lilly Software, then moved on as a freelancer to write for such prestigious clients as CFO Magazine; Compliance Week;Manufacturing Business Technology; Decision Resources, Inc.; The Economist Intelligence Unit; and corporate clients such as Iron Mountain, Microsoft and SAP. He is the co-author of Thin Air: How Wireless Technology Supports Lean Initiatives(CRC/Productivity Press, 2010).