Your Pipeline Report


Three Reasons Your Pipeline Report Is A Poor Sales Management Tool

95% of banks use a pipeline report as the primary means of managing sales. The only problem is your pipeline report provides important data on where a deal is in the underwriting, documentation, and funding processes…but tells absolutely nothing about the marketing and business development activities that created the deal. Said another way, your pipeline report is an excellent funding tool, but a poor sales management tool.

If you’re still using a pipeline report as the sole sales management tool, then your bank’s sales culture is stuck in the 20th century and is in desperate need of modernization. In this blog, I’ll provide three reasons why it’s imperative to address modernizing your sales culture in 2021.

  1. A Partial Perspective – A pipeline report only provides data on at most 50% of the sales process. More specifically, it provides data on the second half of the sales process. Your pipeline report provides no information about the effectiveness (or lack thereof) of the marketing and business development activities that created the deal. These activities represent the first half of the sales process.
  1. Processes Are Supervised – Activities are managed, and processes are supervised. Sales management, if done effectively, must include both the “management” of marketing and business development activities, and the “supervision” of the underwriting, documentation, and funding processes. Most bank sales managers “supervise” their team’s production from start to finish. To be effective, sales managers must realize a higher level of engagement is required to manage the front half of the sales process. When sales managers “supervise” production, there’s little growth and improvement among most banker’s on their team.
  1. Inability to Diagnose Performance Issues – Studies suggest that 50% to 60% of bankers don’t meet their annual sales goals. Certainly, there are many reasons for this, but the primary reason is that a pipeline report only provides sales managers with a limited view of their banker’s full sales activities. With a lack of understanding of the source of the performance problem, sales managers are left to provide generic recommendations to bankers who aren’t performing.

One of the primary roles of any sales manager is to develop and coach each member of their team, even seasoned bankers. We’re at a time in banking where our years of experience are as much an asset as a liability. Too many bankers have a “bunker mentality” going into 2021 when our world has been turned upside down with a pandemic, recession, and presidential election. We all must be open to new ideas and fresh approaches to finding, closing and retaining quality customers.

To move your bank’s sales culture into the 21st century, one step in the process is to introduce a “sale funnel report” as a compliment to your pipeline report.

Everyone in sales has a sales funnel whether they know it or not. A sales funnel report looks at the quantity and quality of a banker’s marketing and business development activities. Also, and even more importantly, it compares three important conversion ratios that provide deep insight into where a banker is struggling in the sales process and where they’re being efficient and effective.

Conversion ratio #1 looks at the number of calls made compared to the number of financial packages received. If banker A goes on 10 calls and receives two packages and banker B goes on five calls and obtains four packages, that provides their sales manager with valuable insight. Conversion ratio #2 looks at the number of packages received to the number of proposals or Letters of Interest issued. If you apply the same ratios to conversion ratio #2, again this is invaluable from the standpoint of diagnosing and correcting performance problems. And finally, conversion ratio #3 compares the number of proposals issued to the number of deals closed.

Now any discussion of tracking numbers makes community bankers fearful that their bank is somehow adopting “big bank” sales practices. This couldn’t be further from the truth. At big banks, statistics like these are used for punitive purposes. In community and regional banks, these statistics are used for developmental purposes. Improving the performance of mediocre performers as well as seasoned veterans is far easier when your bank incorporates a sales funnel report as part of their sales management efforts.

Times have changed drastically! Maintaining the status quote has never been more dangerous. If your bank is serious about remaining competitive amidst incredible competitive pressures, then it is imperative in 2021 that you utilize a sales funnel report in addition to your pipeline report.

To improve your 2021 production, download our complimentary 2020 Sales Funnel Worksheet click here.

Complete and email me your worksheet to and I will provide you with specific recommendations to boost your 2021 production.

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