Developing your business pipeline

Your pipeline predicts your future and tells you how to allocate resources

It's not enough to track your leads. You need to know what they add up to. You need to know how many resources you'll need to win the pursuit. And at each step along the way, you'll drop some leads. Either they fail to qualify, the customer cancels them, or they all land at the same time and you can't pursue them all. Pipeline analysis blends lead tracking with analytics. A pipeline model is a spreadsheet that shows your leads over time, status, source, and other attributes. The formulas contained in the pipeline can enable you to do "what if" analysis that give you exceptional insight into what drives the success of your business.

An assessment of your pipeline can tell you whether you're going to hit your numbers, what your numbers should be, and what it will take to get there. Consistent success requires more than just getting a database of leads and submitting some proposals. But perhaps the most important is that pipeline assessments can tell your future. When you try to answer the questions that determine the success of your business development efforts, most of them require a pipeline model and some time to collect the data.

In every pipeline assessment we've done, we've discovered that there's something more important to the growth of your business than lead generation. It's so vital that if you don't have it, you really aren't in business at all. You're just gambling. But collecting the data is tricky. And if you interpret the data wrong, you can fool yourself.

But when you do it right, it can also help you better integrate business development, lead capture, and proposal submission. You will also discover that successful growth requires more than just good people. When you structure your pipeline correctly and collect the right data, it can help you fill your pipeline the right way, and greatly contribute to successful growth.


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Carl Dickson

Carl is the Founder and President of CapturePlanning.com and PropLIBRARY

Carl is an expert at winning in writing. The materials he has published have helped millions of people develop business and write better proposals. Carl is also a prolific author, frequent speaker, trainer, and consultant and can be reached at carl.dickson@captureplanning.com. To find out more about him, you can also connect with Carl on LinkedIn.

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