SiriusDecisions Says Build A Productivity Pipeline to See How Your Sales Team Measures Up

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In the summer of "Cash for Clunkers" and just about anything else the federal government can come up with to stimulate the economy, SiriusDecisions has learned how to kickstart sales productivity - and take the guesswork out of it.

we don't have one.

Think sales can't be an exact science? Think again. While experienced sales leaders have traditionally "gone with their gut" to determine where to focus teams and target their initiatives, b-to-b sales and marketing research and advisory firm SiriusDecisions says that developing a productivity pipeline is the smarter way to go.

How big a concern is "getting a handle" on sales productivity? In a recent SiriusDecisions sales readiness survey, the leading response (nearly 24 percent) to a question asking respondents what they call the resource or function within their organizations dedicated to improving sales productivity was "we don't have one."

The SiriusDecisions productivity pipeline looks beyond the sales pipeline's traditional revenue guideposts by leveraging the value of sales analytics to actually measure and model buyers' behavior as they move through the buying process. When this type of detail is combined with specific metrics involving sales rep performance, an alternative view of the standard pipeline emerges that provides sales leaders with critical new insight into potential opportunities.

"Complementing the sales revenue pipeline with a productivity pipeline facilitates the measurement and benchmarking of sales productivity," notes SiriusDecisions' Joe Galvin, vice president and head of its Sales Optimization Strategies (SOS) advisory service. "Once established, productivity benchmarks provide sales leaders, managers and reps with a data-driven view of what goes on inside the selling process, not just what comes out at the end. Quantifying the impact of sales productivity initiatives can now be measured as well, based on their ability to target a specific stage or activity in the selling process."

Mr. Galvin continues: "Because it shows where opportunities fall out, stall or advance, the productivity pipeline takes on a shape based on buyer behavior, not just revenue value. If it widens significantly, efficiency is weakening; groups of opportunities are collecting at the same spot due to the fact that reps are struggling to move them. Significant narrowing, on the other hand, shows a high rate of opportunities falling out due to waning sales effectiveness."

In both cases, identifying these key "break points" allows sales readiness resources to be focused where they're most needed. For the first time, sales leaders will have the information to directly affect productivity by reducing the amount of time and/or increasing the frequency that opportunities advance in the pipeline. By applying conversion and cycle length data with revenue by opportunity, a far more accurate revenue forecast model can be developed.

Mr. Galvin concludes: "The true power of the pipeline is more than just satisfying the data demands of management. When properly developed, it provides a fact-driven profile of when and where opportunities advance and when they fail. These profiles can then focus your demand creation efforts, and identify sales skill and knowledge deficiencies that when remedied can significantly benefit topline revenue."

For more details about how to leverage the high value of a productivity pipeline, please contact Joe Galvin at jgalvin (at) siriusdecisions.com.

About SiriusDecisions
SiriusDecisions is the world's leading source for business-to-business sales and marketing best-practice research and data. SiriusDecisions Executive Advisory Services, Consulting Services, Benchmark Assessment Services, Learning and Events provide senior-level executives with the sales and marketing operational intelligence required to maximize top line growth and performance. The unique combination of thought leadership, benchmark data, analytic tools, best practices and access to a peer and analyst network allow SiriusDecisions clients to quickly receive the critical insight they need to make decisions effectively. For more information about SiriusDecisions, headquartered in Wilton, CT, visit: http://www.siriusdecisions.com.

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GEOFF HILTON
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