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How Real is My Sales Pipeline?

How Real is My Pipeline?For those sales people who are midway through your fiscal year – or for any sales person at any time, for that matter – are you asking yourself, “how real is my sales pipeline?” I know many of you look at your pipeline to see if you have met that infamous 2x quota or 3x quota. But why is that the significant barometer? Who cares if your pipeline is 2x or 3x quota, if it is not even real? And, how do you know that your pipeline will get you to your quota goal or, better yet, exceed it? There are a few simple ways to determine the quality or reality of your sales pipeline. Take a look and see if you would remove or adjust a deal in the pipeline if:
  • the deal is hundreds of days old
  • you’ve changed the close date multiple times
  • your management has told you to close earlier than humanly possible (aka, the buyer cannot and will not buy in your management’s timeframe)
  • you’ve never been able to get to the true decision maker(s)
  • your management has not been able to get to the true decision maker(s)
  • the buyer will talk to you to get information (via a demo or a proposal you prepare and present), but they will not give you any information, even when you ask them to
  • the buyer rarely returns your calls
  • the buyer rarely meets the deadlines they establish and agree to
You have all seen this before. You put deals in your pipeline that are a hope and a prayer, based solely on the fact that someone at some level of the organization wants to talk to you or takes your call/meeting, so it goes right into the pipeline. There is little to no qualification, little to no understanding of executive goals and priorities, little to no reason the deal should even be in your pipeline. I know it’s scary to have a pipeline that is less than your quota, but it would be much better to have a pipeline that is real. The alternative is to have a robust-looking pipeline, lulling you into a false sense of security, where little to none of the deals close and you spend way too much time trying to make it happen. Dare to ask the question, “how real is my sales pipeline?” It’s better to spend your time, and others’ time, where it counts! Janice Mars, SalesLatitudeJanice Mars, principal and founder of SalesLatitude, is a senior business and sales executive with more than 30 years of experience helping companies build successful sales teams. She has parlayed that experience to help her clients to improve their sales processes, accurately forecast revenues, ensure focus on winnable opportunities, and attain consistent results. View my LinkedIn profile | Twitter   Image courtesy of puttsk at

Janice Mars, Principal and Founder of SalesLatitude, is a sales performance improvement consultant and change agent focused on growing top performers to impact bottom line growth. With more than 30 years of experience as a senior business and sales executive, she helps companies build successful sales teams by maximizing their time and resources, selling from the buyer’s point of view, and strengthening the effectiveness of leadership. View my LinkedIn profile | Twitter


How to Avoid the Downside of Collaborative Selling - WOMEN sales pros6 years ago

February 23 2016

[…] one situation I recently encountered. A sales rep was working an opportunity that had been in her pipeline for some time. She followed her sales process and brought in management and other key resources at the […]


Sales Digest: Make Your Pipeline More Effective - Braveheart Sales6 years ago

January 22 2016

[…] How Real Is My Sales Pipeline? Author: Janice Mars Source: SalesLatitude Blog Published: June 25, 2015 Time to Digest: 2 […]


Janice Mars7 years ago

August 26 2015

Alice, thank you for your comments. It's all about sales reps making/exceeding their quota and using their time efficiently. Sales people know what their quotas are and should be spending time looking for those opportunities where there is a critical need and where their products and services best match that need. The key is to spend your time where it counts.


Alice Heiman7 years ago

August 24 2015

Janice, I couldn't agree more. A real pipeline/funnel will get you much farther. It also prepares you for what work needs to be done. If your pipeline is less than your quota, you have to spend more time prospecting or talk to your manager and make a new plan.


450 Days of Hoping and Praying - WOMEN salespros7 years ago

August 19 2015

[…] pipeline versus your quota is on track; however, it’s a false sense of security since the deal may be or not be real. And, it may be neither a blessing nor a curse. You may just have entered it into the pipeline too […]


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