Chapter 1: Mastering Deal Reviews
How to inspect deals and pipeline health with People.ai
One of the biggest challenges sales managers face in deal reviews, is deciphering the wealth of anecdotal information shared by their sales reps. In order to better understand sales issues and rectify them, sales managers need more concrete information. In this chapter we will discuss how to:
- Use Data Signals to Prepare for Productive Deal Analysis
- Qualitatively Diagnose and Remedy Pipeline Issues to Drive Success
Leveraging Data Signals for Productive Deal Analysis
Sales managers approach deal reviews with the mindset of trying to understand the facts and dig deeper into the underlying issues that are driving the sales pipeline. The ultimate goal is to spend less time identifying issues, and more time coaching the rep through them. For this goal to be achieved, data has to be the centerpiece of the deal review.
As a sales manager, it is easier to mentally prepare for a productive deal review if you have a clear understanding of the successes or challenges in your sales rep’s pipeline. People.ai Deal Room provides clear-cut signals for diagnosing pipeline health:
- Positive signals: multi-threading, meetings on track, executives engaged, engagement score and trends
- Negative signals: single-threaded, no upcoming meetings scheduled, no executive titles found, prospects gone silent
Qualitatively Diagnose and Remedy Pipeline Issues to Drive Success
Having visibility into a sales rep’s pipeline enables sales managers to use a deal review to not only hear the anecdotes of what has occurred so far, but also ask the questions that will enable critical analysis of why a deal is or isn’t progressing at each stage in the quarter.
In the beginning of the quarter, data signals can help a sales manager objectively assess whether the sales rep has set attainable forecasts:
- Why is this in the pipeline?
- Are there any upcoming meetings?
- Who do we need to meet with to keep this deal on track (stage progression, deal size changes, close date changes)?
- Should we move this to next quarter or mark it as closed or lost or do we need to strategize on our approach?
In subsequent meetings as the quarter progresses, the sales manager and sales rep can collaboratively evaluate whether engagement activity has been effective, and what extra steps need to be taken to boost productivity.
- Why aren’t there upcoming meetings scheduled?
- Are we engaged with the champion and the economic buyer?
- Who else do we need to meet with to keep this deal on track?
The golden formula for increasing sales is activity + pipeline = quota achievement. In deal reviews, it is often best for sales managers and sales reps to work through that formula together backwards. With achieving quota as the end goal, the sales manager and sales rep should jointly examine whether the pipeline build is on track. To accurately assess the health of the pipeline, it is necessary to peel back a layer deeper and understand the activity that fuels that pipeline. Sales managers and sales reps equipped with core activity data for identifying and analyzing pipeline issues are best prepared to drive pipeline success.