Bigger Pipelines Aren’t Always Better

One of the reasons I love Twitter is I get introduced to new people and thinking that I wouldn’t have normally known about.  One of those examples happened today, when I was reading my stream and @Ardath421 tweeted this article written by @bobapollo.

Bob shared information from a recent webinar where Sirius Decisions published results of a recent survey: 2010 Sales Pipeline and Forecast Survey. One of the key finding that came out of it regarding sales pipelines and that having bigger pipeline does not mean that results will be better.  I wasn’t hugely surprised but this, but it’s always good to see supporting data on it.

Bob wrote:

Perhaps the most interesting conclusion was that bigger pipelines aren’t always better – and offered empirical evidence to back up their findings. According to the study, firms with less than 3 times cover in their pipelines were significantly more likely to have the majority of their sales people at or above quota than firms with an average cover of 4 times or more.

The firms with high (>4x) pipeline coverage also reported significant sales forecasting challenges – they were more than twice as likely to report problems with sales forecast accuracy and revenue predictability than their peers.

Less is More

So – there seem to be circumstances when having excessive levels of pipeline coverage is a bad thing. When you dig further into the situation, it becomes clear that the fundamental problem is one of quality, not quantity – and of having the capacity to do justice to well-qualified opportunities.

When organisations are insufficiently selective, resources end up getting spread more thinly, poorly-qualified opportunities draw resources away from better-qualified ones, and sales people and sales managers find it hard to determine where all the deals really are in their decision-making process.

This just makes sense.  I’m aware of friends who work in sales who are looking at a 5x pipeline.  I’m all for casting a wide net, but at some point sales people cannot qualify everyone equally.  Some are always better than others, and with super large pipelines to manage there are too many butterflies to chase.  Bob’s post went on to discuss the importance to “Focus on Quality” and require “Evidence of Progress” and what’s needed to “Replicate Success”.  All great points that are needed to help sales succeed the most.

After all, that’s all we want, right?  It is Christmas in 2 days…

I’m looking forward to reading more of Bob’s blog in 2011! I also definitely recommend following @Ardath421 and @bobapollo too…


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  2. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Betty Jean Bell. Betty Jean Bell said: RT @Performable: Bigger Sales Pipelines Aren’t Always Better – #cro #lifecycle […]

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