Bill Kantor, the founder, and CEO of Funnelcast is applying the lessons he learned about statistical process controls in the hardware industry to the art and science of measuring and managing the opportunity funnel and then optimizing forecasting for B2B technology companies.
The end-to-end Customer Acquisition process is still quite manual today, due to B2B Sales being such a human-centric endeavor. However, with a sufficient amount of opportunity data, the science behind statistical process controls in the manufacturing and consumer-facing industries is now available to B2B revenue leaders.
But why are we will still using manual tasks to manage the B2B opportunity funnel? It starts with companies and their leaders not investing the time required to take a more data-centric, holistic view of even the most basic metrics - such as win rate. Yes, the win rate which is NOT a point-in-time measurement, rather it is a curve that includes different win rates along the time continuum being measured. As an example, the win rate on Day 75 is NOT the same as the win rate on Day 120. Moreover, if you simply use total deals won / total deals closed to calculate the win rate it excludes all of those opportunities that are still open and in process.
What are the TOP metrics that are most predictive of a B2B company's sales success? Bill suggests there are only 3 sales metrics that matter, which include:
Opportunity Creation Rate
Average Contract Value
But what about the more detailed, nuanced measurements such as "stage by stage" conversion rates which provides additional signals as to whether a deal is at risk of becoming "stale" and thus the probability to win reduces materially? They are critical to increasing the accuracy of forecasting - as those deals that are stalled are highly correlated to sales rep storytelling and the "exception status" of a single deal becoming the "outlier" reason for multiple deals - effectively eliminating the category of outlier to the norm.
If you are responsible for managing the new customer acquisition forecast, and/or are responsible for financial performance metrics that are a direct result of win rates, opportunity creation and thus hitting the forecast and the plan - this is a highly instructive episode.