In this video, you’ll learn all about pipeline projections — also known as pipeline forecasting — so you can predict incoming revenue from your sales pipeline.
Using Ontraport’s visual sales pipeline, you can forecast sales results and plan your team's time and resources needed to close the deal. It’s powerful stuff.
Let’s start with how you’ll use pipeline projections:
Your pipeline projections are like weather forecasts. They use past and current information to make predictions that’ll help you make smart decisions about your sales efforts. They tell you how likely you are to hit your goals — or miss them. Sort of like “there’s a 70% chance of rain on Sunday.”
Your pipeline projections answer the question, “How much revenue can I expect to earn next week, or month, or next quarter?”
You’ll need a weighted sales pipeline to get the answer to that question.
A weighted sales pipeline accounts for the fact that not every opportunity will end in a sale. Instead, it shows the probability of winning a deal based on your past experiences.
For example, an opportunity in your “Consideration” stage is more likely to close than the ones in your “New Prospect” stage.
A weighted sales pipeline is made up of these four main things:
First is the “Sales Stage.” This tells you which stage in your sales process each opportunity is in.
The second thing is “Expected Win Percentage” which notes how likely you are to win a deal.
Third is the “Deal Value.” This is your best guess of the value of your deal, if it does indeed close.
Fourth you have the “Expected Close Date.” This is when you expect to win the deal.
So, you’ve got a field for deal value, for your expected close date and expected win percentages, and defined sales stages with the “Sales Stage” dropdown field. Using this data, Ontraport can give you a pretty good estimate of how many deals you’re likely to close and when.
If you’ve watched our other “Tracking opportunities with Deals” lessons, you know that everything you need for a weighted sales pipeline is built right into your Deals feature.
Now, let’s take a look at how this all works together.
All you or your team needs to do is add in your deal’s value and the expected win percentage of that deal. For the “Deal Value,” go ahead and put in $2500.
When deciding how likely you are to win each deal, you should think about your past experiences. For example, if your deal just had a demo, and deals with demos close about a quarter of the time, your probability is 25%.
Pro tip: if you already know your close rate for each sales stage - based on past experience - you can save your sales reps a step and keep their sometimes-poor judgement out of the equation here by creating an automation that updates your “Expected Win Percentage” field based on your sales stage,
The short version of this is to simply make an automation with a trigger that starts when the stage is updated. If it’s “Equal to demo,” for example, then update the “Expected Win Percentage” to 25%.
If the sales stage is changed to “Consideration,” maybe you’ll have it go up to 35%. This will all be based on your historical data, of course.
Then you’ll need to add the deal’s expected value. You need to have a team member enter that info manually, especially if each deal tends to be pretty different. You can automate this, if each deal is similar.
When you add your deal’s value and expected win percentage, your “Calculate Weighted Value” automation kicks off. It'll do the math for you by calculating your deal’s weighted value to forecast your expected revenue.
Let’s check out how you can use that weighted value!
Go to your “Deals” collection and pick the “Pipeline: Expected Close Dates” default group. Watch our “Default groups and automations in Deals” video for more details about this group!
Here, you can see all of your deals organized in order of when you expect them to close.
But let’s look right below your column labels, where each column has “Deal Value” and “Weighted Value” listed. This is like the weather forecast you check before planning a big event.
Since the “Weighted Value” takes into account the expected win percentage of your deals, you can use this value for business planning.
If you’re not sure if launching a new ad campaign in the next month is a good idea, look at how close your expected revenue is to your goals. If there’s a significant gap, it may be time to pour on the gas with that new campaign.
In just a matter of minutes, you’ve gotten the gist of how pipeline projections work. Now, you can figure out how much cashflow you can expect to bring in at certain intervals.
Be sure to watch our lessons about tasks if you want to know how to really kick your sales process into gear.