Pipeline management and forecasting

Pipeline management, forecasting

Do you know, how much you can expect to sell next quarter?

Matthijn Hoogenboom

By Matthijn Hoogenboom, Sales Director, MicroPartner

What is pipeline management?

Pipeline management, forecasting, and sales forecasts are all terms that more or less cover the same thing, namely how much a company can expect to sell over a specific period in the future.

Pipeline management is about knowing how many sales opportunities you have and probability that will become orders in a specified period.

Pipeline management and forecasting – why is it important?

An estimate (or a sales forecast) of the expected earnings is important information, as it allows you to run your business better. You can use the insight to, for example, (re)allocate resources, adjust strategy, purchase raw materials and products. As a result, it is crucial that the estimate or forecast is as accurate as possible.

Working with pipeline management and forecasting is not an easy discipline. But it can be made easier with a CRM system like Dynamics 365 Sales, which can handle the many parameters that make an estimate or sales forecast as accurate as possible.

Pipeline management and forecasting with Dynamics 365 Sales

In Dynamics 365 Sales, you can work efficiently with pipeline management and forecasting based on sales opportunities. All data is gathered in one place, which allows you to estimate revenue easily, and see where the effort needs to be increased to reach the sales budget.

Unify the sales process and qualify sales opportunities

With Dynamics 365, you can unify the way you estimate sales, and both management and the sales team have access to your pipeline in real time. You can work with different sales processes, that you define yourself – see example of sales processes here.

You can specify phases in the sales process that help unify the way you qualify sales opportunities. Among other things, you can define the probability that a sales opportunity becomes a customer in the sales process, just as you can define and require activities in each phase, for example:

  • 1

    Phone calls

  • 2

    Send material


  • 2

    Hold a meeting

  • 2

    Send quote


Dynamics 365 can, through reminders, help salespeople complete activities in the various phases.

When everyone qualifies sales opportunities equally and works through a controlled sales process, the data in the pipeline also becomes more credible, because it is more comparable, which has a major impact on pipeline management and forecasting.

Pipeline management is about knowing how many sales opportunities you have and probability that will become orders in a specified period.


You can also use pipeline management to map which offers you lose to which competitors. You can use the insight to make adjustments within, for example, price and products, which, in turn, should lead to you winning more orders.

Overview of pipeline with dashboards in real time

In Dynamics 365, you can follow the pipeline in real time, which means that the pipeline will always be a snapshot. If a salesperson changes a probability of an opportunity, the change will immediately be reflected in the pipeline. Dynamics has, by default, a role-based approach to dashboards, which means that each salesperson has access to their own pipeline, while management has access to both the overall pipeline and each salespersons pipeline. This makes it easier for management to work more accurately with pipeline management and forecasting.

You can use pipeline management and forecasting for:

  • Salespeople can track their performance in relation to their goals.

    They can identify potential risks that they can work on to achieve their goals.

  • Management can track individual sales results against goals to proactively provide advice

    (to reach the desired sales budget).

  • Management can use the pipeline to estimate sales in specific departments

    and allocate resources, if necessary.

  • Management can use the expected estimate to change the product strategy

    or pass on updated estimates to current and potential investors.

  • Management can use the insight on lost sales opportunities

    to change products or prices.

Want to know more about pipeline management and forecasting? Contact us here for a chat.

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