Feedback from potential clients can provide valuable information for improving your products and services as well as highlighting opportunities to boost your revenue. Yet many businesses fail to manage their pipeline effectively and miss out on these opportunities as a result, says SARAH DALY
Your sales pipeline is an important source of information for planning and budgeting. So, when working out your budgets and forecasts for next year, it is important to make time to review your pipeline and see if you can identify ways to improve it.
Key questions to ask include:
- What do you expect to sell next year?
- To whom?
- At what price?
- What volume?
You also need to look at your input costs. To what extent will these be affected by inflation? Do you have sufficient people/resources to deliver your products/services or will you need find additional capacity? If so, how will you fund this?
Impact of uncertainty on your sales pipeline
Uncertainty is a huge factor at the moment because of the upheaval business experienced over the last 18 months.
- Have any of your prospects disappeared due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, Brexit, or other external factors?
- Have any new prospects emerged?
- Are you still targeting the right customers?
- Do you have any new competitors?
These are all questions to think about when you are working on next year’s budget and plans.
It’s important to be realistic when forecasting. Your forecast should be based on the sales that you are confident you can secure in a given time period. Remember to assign responsibilities, monitor progress, and keep a keen focus on controlling your input costs.
Accounts and payroll information
While your sales pipeline is an important source of information for planning and budgeting, accurate bookkeeping and payroll information is also crucial. It’s important to ensure that there is a good flow of communication between your bookkeeper and accountant. This is because while your accountant is usually the one person who really understands your business, they rely to a great extent on the information you provide to them. So, if this information is incomplete, inaccurate or out of date, it will affect your accountant’s ability to help you. If you need support or advice on how to improve your bookkeeping and payroll processes, contact GroForth for assistance.
Finally, remember neglecting your pipeline is a missed opportunity. So the lesson is, stop ignoring your pipeline!