I’ve been involved in dozens of companies’ sales opportunity pipeline stages over the years. To drive accurate forecast reports for Executive Management and The Board of Directors, my recommendation is to keep the sales stages simple and easy to understand in a sales force automation (SFA) and /or customer relationship manager (CRM) tool.

Below are various sales stage names and probability percentage suggestions:

  1. Sales Qualified 25%
  2. Needs Assessment & Proposal 50%
  3. Developed / Preferred Vendor 75%
  4. Contract Negotiation / Decision Due 90%
  5. Closed Won 100% or Closed Lost 0%

Advance add on option: To help keep the core sales stages simple and scale a successful sales team, apply best practice sales methodology activity check boxes within each stage. If an activity tracking check box is not checked, SRs cannot advance the opportunity to the next stage. As with the number of stages, keep the check box steps simple and easy for sales leadership to verify.

If “Closed Lost” is selected have a dependent field pick list for reason:

  • Authority
  • Change of Objectives
  • Competition
  • Compliance Issue
  • Decision Maker No Longer With Company
  • Features
  • Functionality / User Interface
  • In-House
  • Loss of budget
  • Price

Preferably a reason pick list is created for “Closed Won” too, or alternatively, a text field can be created. Reason codes create insightful and helpful reporting for spotting trends, developing marketing content, knowing where SRs require additional training, and shifting things for positive results.

Originally published at www.linkedin.com

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