eyeglasses in the hand over blurred tree background

When you change the way you look at things

One important aspect about good pipeline management is to understand the age of the bids that are still undecided and in play.

We all know, unlike that bottle of cabernet that you are savoring in your wine cellar, bids don’t get better with age.

Consider this pipeline age report. (This is what we commonly see in most businesses).

Commercial Flooring Business Consulting

It tells you:

  • 42% of bids are in the early stage of negotiation.
  • 17% of bids need to be converted now.
  • 42% of bids have expired or about to expire.

The value of this information is particularly useful for bids in the 90 to180-day space. This is where you need to task your salespeople to follow up as these bids are still in play.

You may need to kiss the investment you made in the older than 180 days goodbye.

But wait!!!

Andre knows that this picture is too simple because it does not meet his standards for reports and data.

Andre’s Axioms for Actionable Data:

  • Does the data/report drive action or a decision?
  • Does the data/report help change behavior?
  • Most importantly does the data/report tell us that we are improving?

So let’s apply more context to see if we get more insight

If you change the way you look at things the things you look at change!

Commercial Flooring Business Consulting

And here it is graphically displayed:

Commercial Flooring Business Consulting

We like trends. They often reveal far more insight than static snapshot data.  Here are great aha’s that the static aging report did not tell you that the trends revealed:

AHA #1
In October only 30% of our bids were 180 days or more old.  Yet only 90 days later in January, this has ballooned to 42% of our pipeline.

AHA#2
This happened very recently–in the last 30 days.
In December we had $23.7M in 90-180 and $47.7M in over 180.  Nearly all of this $71.4M has moved to over 180 in January ($66.8M)

This means that we are definitely not following up on our bids.

You would not have seen this in a simple aging report.

Now you have greater insight and heightened urgency and critically it meets all 3 of s Andre’s Axioms:

  1. Yes it drives a decision– get the salespeople to follow up on their bids
  2. As a leader you can employ good coaching behaviors and you can encourage better estimating/sales behaviors
  3. It tells us we are not improving so we need to change things!

Our recommendation

  • Track and review the aging of your bids.
  • Where possible show the trend. Even at the expense of a little more complexity.
  • Segment your pipeline aging by salesperson and share this information with all salespeople.
  • Fall in love with the way you manage your pipeline… YOUR BACKLOG WILL BE VERY HAPPY WITH YOU.

Until next week, and hopefully your pipeline will be a little healthier.