The objective of pipeline analysis is to permit effective sales monitoring and project cash flow and profitability of the business. Once the sales team develop a feel for the analysis then it is possible to establish future sales and hence cash slow with a considerable degree of certainty. A pipeline analysis is a working document which should be revised weekly. Devising a pipeline analysis has three elements:

  • Defining key stages. Key stages are very market dependent and definitions need to carefully judged. Once defined they must be strictly adhered to.
  • Assessing timing. As with key stages this depends upon an in depth knowledge of the target market and individual customers.
  • Preparing a projection. This is a mechanical exercise that can easily be prepared on a spread sheet.


Key Stages

A target client moves from 1-10 in the sales process.

1. General Interest This is an expression of interest resulting from press/ pr, contacts etc. This has a probability of 0% but is defined as a suspect to be followed up by the sales team. The suspects’ details should be captured in a suspect list and included in any on going marketing communications campaigns 0%
2. Establish Need After a meeting or a telephone conversation in which the customer requirements are identified. It is essential at this stage to identify the person in the organisation who has the authority to make the decision to place an order 10%
3. Money Allocated Client has identified funding within his budget or obtained budget approval 20%
4. Request for Quote Target asks for a quote 30%
5. Competitive Bid Judge according to knowledge of competitors but normally give probability according to number of serious tenders according to number of serious tenders
6. Non Competitive Bid 50%
7. Entered negotiation 60%
8. Offer accepted 70%
9. Contract Accepted 90%
10. Contract signed 100%

Assessing Timing

The average sales cycle for service products is on average 6 months from initial contact. This might be as long as 12 months for larger more expensive projects. Once a target enters the sales cycle each stage must be carefully monitored and timings to completion estimated.

Preparing a Projection

A typical spreadsheet is set out below. As noted above these are working documents and should the bible to the sales team and the basis of all reports to the board.

Sales and Pipeline Analysis

Notes Target Client Value Stage/ 


Jan Feb Mar Apr
1 Big Co 150,000 10/100% 150,000
2 American Co 100,000 3/30% 33,000
3 Small Co 25,000 7/70% 17,500
4 Medium Co 50,000 2/10% 5,000
5 Total 150,000 17,500 33,800


  1. Big Co might require significant additional services later in the year. JT is meeting with AH to discuss next month after installation.
  2. JT has good relationship with MD.
  3. etc

Download this article or have a look at our resources section for other articles and White Papers

Richard J Turner

Catalyst Venture Partners



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