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Sales Pipeline Visual Analysis Dashboard
Powered by arcplan

by The Solutions Team at arcplan Inc. Tuesday, January 31, 2012


The sales pipeline visual analysis dashboard is designed for marketing, sales, and executive teams to analyze leads from creation to close and to forecast revenue for the year. There are many ways the data can be looked at and the analysis requirements will change from user to user. For this example, we assume the person who is looking at the data is interesting in seeing it from a high level aggregated view.

This dashboard was built using arcplan and leverages many interactive features, including animated charts, filters, tabbed navigation, and ad-hoc capability.

Click on the image to go to the interactive demo.

Lead Generation & the Sales Process

To better understand this visual analysis dashboard, it is important to clarify how leads are generated and what the sales process looks like.

As you can see on the Pipeline tab at this fictional company, leads are generated via online banners, web searches, and direct telephone calls. Leads are entered into the customer relationship management (CRM) system by marketing.

Next, a sales representative contacts the lead to schedule a demo. If contact has not been made in 7 days, then the lead will go cold.

Once contact has been made, the representative must ensure that a demo is scheduled no later than 14 days from contact or probability of closing goes down dramatically based on historical evidence.

Once the demo has been completed, the sales representative has a 30 day window to close the sale. Otherwise, historical data points to no chance of sale, i.e. the lead should be abandoned.

The Data

Let’s go into the 30 day window a bit by looking on the Forecast tab. The sales process includes 5 stages:

  • Initiation (an opportunity is identified) – 5% probability of close
  • Meeting (web or in-person) – 20% probability of close
  • Solutions Review (a demo is being reviewed by prospect) – 60% probability of close
  • Proposal (pricing delivery) – 85% probability of close
  • Negotiation – 95% probability of close

These are your classic measures to analyze when looking at how healthy your sales pipeline is. As with most analysis, the user is looking at historical data to see the effect various initiatives had on the pipeline. However, on the Forecast tab, the system takes current data (bookings revenue) and projects future revenue based on the pipeline, so there is some forward thinking included in this dashboard.

The Sales Pipeline Performance

Back to the first tab - the sales pipeline visualizations shown in the upper half provide a high level view of how well leads are converting from generation to close by month.

There are two main areas to assess the performance of a lead source: the number of leads in each stage and the time a lead spends in each stage. Each stage has a specific target to hit based on historical data and research on how many leads need to be in each stage to reach break-even revenue targets. In addition, a lead can only be in that stage for a period of time before it goes cold.

Taking action on the Sales Pipeline

When the monthly lead count is not being satisfied, the lead generation programs need to be revisited to see what worked and what didn’t work. More importantly, the sales and marketing team should make sure there are future lead generation programs planned.

When there are not enough leads in a particular stage, then quality of the leads and performance of the sales team need to be assessed.

When leads are spending too much time in a particular stage, then the number of sales representatives and how they are approaching the lead needs to be investigated.

Lead Sources

Lead generation is where the pipeline starts and that’s what the bottom half of the Pipeline tab visualizes. It’s important to understand how much revenue each source is bringing in to understand where to start the analysis. It’s true that financial data is not a performance measure, but rather an indication of an organization’s efforts to sell.

Taking action on the Revenue by lead sources

The visualization shows the distribution by each lead source.  The user could use this as a starting place to do further analysis. For example, web searches make up a smaller percentage of the overall revenue, as compared with the other two lead sources. This would prompt the user to investigate how well these types of leads perform through the funnel, i.e. the user would view the sales pipeline performance for SEO (Web). The person can then take the appropriate actions as suggested in the section Taking action on the Sales Pipeline.

Bookings & Revenue Forecast

Click on the image to go to the interactive demo.

On tab 2 – the Forecast tab – the user can see a revenue forecast for the latter 9 months of the year based on bookings and the sales pipeline. Bookings, shown as grey blocks on the chart on the right side of the screen, are funds that are expected to be received from customers in the near future, i.e. booked orders. The projected revenue forecast for each month, shown as green blocks on top of the grey, is based on bookings + weighted opportunities in the sales pipeline (dollar amount of opportunity x % probability). Bookings predictably decrease as time goes on and the sales pipeline trails off every month, as expected. The Forecast tab gives the user visualization capability, but does not provide analysis capability. For that, the user can move over to the Ad-Hoc tab.

Visual Analysis Notes

The majority of the visualizations are standard including sparklines and simplified bullet graphs for the sales pipeline analysis in the upper half of the Pipeline tab. We would like to point out the use of state indicators rather than coloring the bars red when representing a measure that is not performing. Coloring the bar red becomes a problem when the bar is short or the value is zero – i.e. there would be no bar to color red.

The lead source analysis uses a standard stacked bar chart. Stacked bars can be problematic because you can’t see the trend for a series that is not flushed with the X axis but it is important to see the overall revenue for a month. However, we added the ability to graph lead sources individually so the user can see the trend.

Here is a list of the analysis functionality we added to the Pipeline interface:

  • Hide some of the bars to make it easier to see a specific lead source
  • Selection of the time period to look at – this will change the view of the sales pipeline visualizations to show the data for end date of the period

As for the Forecast visualization, a funnel with an overlaid bubble chart best represents the sales stages. The bubbles are larger or smaller depending on the dollar amount they represent. The chart below the funnel clarifies the data points for those who prefer a table over the visualization. The revenue forecast is a stacked bar chart where the grey represents booked revenue and the green represents the weighted forecast. As the user clicks on the bars, that month’s data highlights in the chart below. Many times, dashboard creators clutter their graphs with the actual values.  With this in mind, a table was added below the with the data points.

About arcplan

arcplan is a leader in innovative Business Intelligence, Dashboard, Corporate Performance and Planning software solutions for desktop and mobile use.  Since 1993, arcplan has enabled more than 3,000 customers worldwide to leverage their existing infrastructure for better decision making. Empowering all users to connect and collaborate with relevant information is crucial for improving business performance. With arcplan – it simply works.

arcplan’s flagship product arcplan Enterprise® has been rated the #1 3rd party tool for SAP BW 7 years in a row and #1 for Oracle Essbase and IBM Cognos TM1 2 years running in The BI Survey 10 (2005-2011).

Get your 30-day free trial of arcplan Enterprise and start building dashboards with your own data today.

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Andrew Kriebel said:

The Pipeline tab is doing pretty well, other than the unnecessary motions when you change filters. However, the Forecast and Ad-hoc tabs are poorly designed visualizations.

Are you will to share the data used to build this so that I can create my own viz?

Thank you,

Heather Smith said:

Hi Andy - I agree that the chart animations aren't necessary but many of our clients like them, so we included it to show that the capabilities is there. What would you change about the Forecast tab?

Heather @ arcplan

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