Crowdsource deal strategies with sales teams
I enjoy being an active participant (or even a fly on the wall) in sales team’s deal reviews and quarterly business reviews (QBRs). With the right mindset and the right framing of a discussion by a sales manager, magic happens. As sales leaders, I encourage you to consider applying “crowdsourcing” principles to deal strategy discussions across your sales teams. Give everyone a voice and remember to embrace a beginner’s mind. This is a great way to manage the forward pipeline and inspire sales teams to build their businesses.
Improve Pipeline Quality
Bringing the entire sales team together to talk deals has so many material benefits to your business. The sales team’s forecast becomes more accurate and more real. The quality of the team’s pipeline improves where quality is measured by improvements in the gap between expected pipeline and closed business. Salespeople mentor each other on ways to execute a winning strategy in their deals. Salespeople share where they are in their deals and they learn from each other. Fellow team members ask the hard questions. Blind spots are exposed. Close plans are created or polished. Deals close faster.
Sales Team Meeting in Action
Imagine this scenario. It’s the beginning of a quarter. A sales manager invites the sales team to talk about top deals in a regular weekly sales meeting. Normally, the sales manager would run through the deal list and have the sales team review what’s in Salesforce.com. Consider this alternative. Before jumping into the deals, the sales manager selects a topic or theme to discuss that is relevant to the go to market or what’s going on with customers at that time.
For example, in Q4, good topics to consider reinforcing include: compelling events, close plansor decision making process. Best practices on the topic are first discussed, and then the deal discussion happens.
A new context is set for the team’s deal review call.
Each salesperson shares their deal strategy for their active deals. A short deal story is shared by each salesperson highlighting the most critical information: what are they buying, why are they buying and when are they buying. Another great question to have the sales team focus on is what happens if the customer does nothing. Each sales person presents for two minutes. Rep by rep, deal by deal, a quick deal story is shared. Then, each sales person gives each other feedback on deals.
Salespeople Learn from Salespeople
This kind of peer-to-peer deal conversations helps salespeople realize what they know and what they don’t know about their opportunities. Realistic expectations can be reset about winning and action plans can be quickly created. Salespeople appreciate this “safe” forum to learn from each other and improve deal strategies. It’s amazing to see how salespeople are willing to give each other sound advice about winning deal strategies. Who said that sales teams aren’t motivated to help each other?
Here are some coaching comments that were shared by salespeople to their peers on their team from a real life team based deal review that I participated in this week.
- “Politics are to big to overcome. Push deal.”
- “Do you have a biz buyer that will trump IT?”
- “My concern is access to power and confirming budget.”
- “Are they going to spend the money…i.e. value for the money”
- Use case would need to be more compelling/critical.”
- “What’s their alternative? Suggest you highlight how spending time and money with disparate agencies and internal marketing teams will have less impactful results.”
You can’t buy this kind of peer-to-peer deal coaching on deals. Each of these comments highlighted new actions to be executed immediately on deals.
It’s up to you as the sales manager to build a culture of peer-to-peer coaching in your deals with your sales teams.
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