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Portfolio - Pipeline Needs Heatmap (Microsoft)

Pipeline Health Heatmap Report


Microsoft has a fairly typical sales pipeline model: marketing creates leads, passes those leads to sales teams, and sales (hopefully) converts those leads into revenue. One key difference, however, revolves around Microsoft’s effort to diversify its revenue streams and reduce reliance on one particular cash cow product like Office or Windows. This strategy manifests itself in the form of individual sales “quotas” for each product. For example: While it might be easiest for a sales team to maximize revenue by focusing solely on selling MS Office, compensation is based on meeting the quotas of all the other products too (SQL Server, sharepoint, etc).

Sales & marketing coordination issues had long hampered the effectiveness of Microsoft’s enterprise marketing teams due to this “no product left behind” approach. Marketing frequently complained about creating thousands of leads that sales never followed up on. Sales teams complained they were overwhelmed with useless and poor quality leads for products they weren’t trying to sell. Unfortunately, this gap existed because marketing wasn’t planning and executing with regard for individual product and geography needs.


Curtis partnered with several individuals in the US EPG marketing org to develop a planning framework allowing marketing to plan and execute against specific pipeline needs. On a monthly basis, marketers could analyze what campaigns were most appropriate by categorizing pipeline for each product and sales district into several groups:

·       Pipeline shortfall (red): Even if sales closed every deal they would still fall short. Marketing needs to find more leads for in this district for this product

·       Weak pipeline (yellow): There are enough existing leads but they are not yet mature. Marketing needs to target existing sales prospects and help sales by increasing customer interest

·       Strong pipeline (green and blue): Sales either has already met their sales quota for this product or is expected to. Marketing should focus their efforts elsewhere

Curtis lead his team to create automated reporting solutions by coordinating cross-functionally with sales and finance teams. Curtis’ team verified the model with sales leadership and presented the results in monthly EPG marketing governance reviews.


As a result of Curtis’ efforts, campaign planning could take into account these critical details. In addition to ensuring marketing was providing financial value to the company, it helped position field enterprise marketers as being knowledgeable about the state of the business. It also helped uplevel conversations between sales teams and their aligned marketing support resources. The perception of the enterprise marketing organization improved over time as a result of sales recognizing the value marketing could provide to the sales process.


Jim Floyd,
US EPG Field Marketing
"[You] saved me personally, a bunch of time. Big “thank you” to you and your team… an equalizer in my conversations with my STU counterparts, making sure that they continue to have accountability for the success of these marketing campaigns and the money used to create and run them. Instead of hearing sales say “what is marketing doing to create me new pipeline” it shifts the conversation to “what should I be doing with marketing to create new pipeline”