Your sales team’s deal reviews should do a lot of things.
They should provide managers an opportunity to direct and coach their representatives toward mastering their sales process and driving revenue more efficiently. They should provide reps an opportunity to speak to their successes and failures, look for advice, and even suggest ways to improve the existing process.
Most importantly, your deal reviews should unite your entire team beneath a clearly defined and agreed-upon process strategy that will dictate each individual member’s tasks in the weeks to come.
However, if your team’s deal reviews are like many others, they probably don’t do those things very often. Sales teams struggle with the gulf between what their deal reviews should be and what they are all the time.
So what’s creating this gulf? We call it “storytime.”
Beating the “Storytime” Problem
“Storytime” is what happens when your deal review meetings aren’t structured. Without a clear understanding of what should be presented and why, sales reps instead get lost in the weeds of a particular account, falling back on anecdotes or tangents about their latest interaction with the buyer, or irrelevant details about the history of the account, or…
You know what happens next. Both reps and managers lose focus. The meeting meanders. By the time you’re all going back to work, nobody could tell you what the big “takeaways” from your deal review were, much less how they can use them to inform the work they’re about to go do.
The way to ensure “storytime” never happens again and make sure your deal reviews start doing everything they should again is simple: structure, structure, structure.
Structuring your Deal Reviews
Deal reviews are a tool your sales team uses to achieve a result. Therefore, the most effective way to use your reviews is to first identify the goal you want them to achieve and then define a standardized format for how you can go about achieving it.
Identifying your goal is the easy part. During your deal reviews you want to answer the following three questions:
- Where are each of the active deals in the pipeline right now?
- What needs to be done next to move this deal forward in the pipeline, according to your sales methodology?
- Based on the next steps agreed upon for each account, what does each team member have to do next and how should they go about doing it?
Answering these three questions will give you everything from the high-level state of the union to the nitty-gritty of immediate next-step marching orders.
Now, in order to answer these three questions successfully, you’ll also have to structure how you’re talking about each of the particular deals you’re reviewing. The specifics of your structure will depend on your unique process and pipeline, but however you approach it, we recommend covering the following three main topics:
Is the account in question qualified according to your sales methodology? Are they struggling with the type of issues you can provide a solution for? Are they familiar with and/or interested in your services? Is the timing right?
If the account is in its early stages, does the rep think it is a bona fide opportunity? Why or why not? If the account is in late stages, what are the final objections your rep will have to overcome before close?
People.ai can use your Salesforce data to automatically generate customized account health scorecards. These scorecards give you an instant bird’s-eye view into the state of each account and prepare you to discuss next steps, streamlining and standardizing the qualification portion of the deal review.
Who has the sales rep talked to at the account? Do they know all the qualified decision makers? When and what was their last interaction, what did it lead to, and what are the next steps? Does the rep know how each of the points of contact they have reached out to connect with one another?
People.ai’s relationship maps can streamline this portion of the deal review, too. People.ai uses your Salesforce data to automatically capture every engaged contact within an account and visualize their relationship to one another in an organizational chart. This maximizes visibility into the decision makers within an account and validates who you need to talk to next and why.
Based on where the deal is in the pipeline right now, what is the next step the rep should take to move forward according to your methodology, and why? Does the representative have any questions or concerns or require any additional resources to take this next step? How can the rest of the team support them in taking this step?
By the time you’re done discussing the plan for a given account, you should know the next step being taken, who is taking that step and why, and what the intended effect or success criteria of the step will be according to your sales methodology.
People.ai can even help dictate next steps, by identifying what’s been most successful for you at each stage of your pipeline in the past and making recommendations as to what you could do next.
Streamline Deal Reviews with People.ai For more help standardizing and streamlining your deal reviews to overcome the “storytime” problem once and for all, sign up for a People.ai demo or give us a buzz any time.