What is/are Pipeline Reports?
May 28, 2009 8:57 AM   Subscribe

What is/are Pipeline Reports?

I've been asked to create an Access database to track contacts/potential clients and activities relating to these contacts (basically, a CRM). It was mentioned that I should look into "pipeline reports." Is this a type of report, or a proprietary application that generates reports, like Crystal Reports?
posted by momzilla to Technology (6 answers total)
It's a bit of business jargon. It's basically 'business we're reasonably sure of winning, or need to look into winning', like a slightly fuzzier version of forecasting, with an emphasis on ensuring stability and consistency of income. So, you might say, "we've got a ton of business now, but the pipeline in 6 months is looking a little thin".

So, a good pipeline report will tell you what you're looking into, when it might turn into paying work, when they were last contacted, who's responsible for contacting them and moving things forward, that sort of thing. It'd also ideally put numerical values against things, so you could say 'we've got $15k in fees billed, we're working on $10k worth of work to be billed next month, and the pipeline for August and September looks around the same at $12k and $14k respectively."
posted by Happy Dave at 9:13 AM on May 28, 2009

Happy Dave has it. I'll just add that pipeline reports are often one of the most used and most important "reports" in an organization. The client-facing people are probably maintaining some sort of pipeline report on their own now, probably in Excel. Make sure you get with them and see how they use it and what they need from an Access database template.
posted by mullacc at 9:37 AM on May 28, 2009

You might want to check out this presentation from Salesforce.com and this article for some details on how pipelines can be used.

There's a significant organizational challenge in getting sales people to update a CRM tool so the suggestion that you talk to them and try and understand both their workflow and how they think about their pipeline is a good one. In general, top management wants to believe they have "visibility" into the total pipeline and the sales force wants to manage expectations so they always hit or slightly exceed their targets.
posted by donovan at 9:50 AM on May 28, 2009

In essence a pipeline report is a list of the sales opportunities your organisation is currently pursuing and the estimated revenue value. Usually the value would be weighted in some way, e.g. by how likely it is that the opportunity will convert into a sale, sometimes measured by how far through the sales cycle the opportunity has progressed.
posted by Lleyam at 11:15 AM on May 28, 2009

A Sales Pipeline, also known as a Sales Funnel is a list of all prospective buyers & where they are in the sales process - and how many at that stage convert to actual sales.

A simplified pipeline may look something like this:

New Opportunities: 20
% conversion: 5%
Average value: $10k
Projected Total Value: $10k
Average time to close: 60-90 days


Negotiation Phase: 3
% conversion: 60%
Average value: $23k
Projected Total Value: $41.4k
Average time to close: 7-14 days

With that data you can predict sales figures several months this week, next week, next month and possibly even next quarter.
posted by MesoFilter at 4:12 PM on May 28, 2009

Thank you all so much for your input. I'll be talking to the folks who will be using this to get a better understanding, and now I will have an idea of what they are looking for in the reports generated from the DB.
posted by momzilla at 12:40 PM on May 29, 2009

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