The deal review is key supporting your sales teams position themselves to support more complex buying decisions.
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As the opportunity for face-to-face interactions with customers decline, suppliers need to find new ways to influence the buying decision. The best place to start is to understand the reason buyers make purchase decisions.
It is critical that sales teams focus on boosting a buyer's confidence in their purchase decision to remain competitive.
Fail to support buyers build their confidence, uncertainty will enter the sales process that will mean a buyer is less likely to complete a purchase.
The result will be the following Closed Loss outcome in your sales pipeline for an opportunity that has been forecast to be won.
This is an example of a lost opportunity flowing through the sales pipeline that should have been picked up during a deal review.
Using the Nazca Platform, you can immediately see it has been poorly managed and identify the areas of risk being rolled up into the sales pipeline, and possibly also into the manager's own roll-up sales forecast.
Furthermore, within Salesforce in the example below, you can review the sales engagement presenting the different conversations that need to take place to manage a sales engagement to a Closed Won outcome.
You can also review how this deal is performing against your average win score and average loss scores for deals managed during the current or other reporting quarters.
The result is the ability to immediately identify where in the sales pipeline there is an issue. In the case of this lost deal, the main issue occurred over three months ago at sales stage 3 - Qualification.
If you had been using the Nazca Platform and this was one of your Team's deals being reviewed, you would have probably averted this loss by guiding them on developing their sales engagement and close plan. Or, challenged them whether to qualify out.
Fact is, this deal continued through the sales pipeline consuming valuable resources, the salesperson's time, your own, pre-sales and other functions and investment supporting the engagement.
Turn your sales pipeline into a leading indicator
The problem for most companies' sales pipelines is that they are a lagging indicator of what the salesperson 'thinks' is occurring with that sales engagement. And when they do realise the true situation, it is too late to do anything meaningful.
Often salespeople resort to price discounting which only serves to make the situation worse if they won the deal because it will probably result in a loss-making sales engagement for the company once delivered.
The secret sauce for managing effective deal reviews is not only how you transform your sales pipeline into a leading indicator and early warning system. It is also how you shift focus from being inward-facing on your sales process to outward-focused on the buyer journey.
Do this and you are positioning your sales teams to better help buyers manage the more complex buying challenges they face and make sense of the information they are receiving from different channels and sources.
How do you shift focus on the buyers' journey and struggles?
The best approach is to simplify how your sales teams approach and engage with opportunities feeding into the sales pipeline. We would recommend the following approach:
- Take Control of the sales engagement with early qualification to protect both time and resources.
- Discover what is important that is a challenge worrying and keeping buyers and those influencing the buying process up at night. Take the time to discover their situation using Contact Insights.
- Step into the buyers' world and their journey using the Buyers' Journey to develop a compelling proposal to act now.
- Track and guide your Sales Engagement ensuring you are having the right conversations to earn trust and deliver value to buyers and those influencing the decision to buy as the opportunity moves through the sales gates towards final negotiation.
- Remain focused on the goal to secure a Closed Won outcome by triaging different conversations scores guiding Control and Success.
The image below maps that approach onto the sales pipeline how the Nazca Platform guide the sales engagement to a successful outcome by shifting focus from the inward-facing sales process to the outward-facing buyers' journey.
Become a "Sense Maker" supporting complex buying decisions
No longer do salespeople own the customer engagement. Business to Business (B2B) buyers have learnt from Business to Consumer B2C customer experiences allowing buyers to self-serve via the web site and other digital interactions.
If salespeople who rely on interacting with buyers face-to-face are to secure their time and have a seat at the buyers' table, they need to step into their world and deliver greater value.
If you are a sales manager or leader, you need to adapt and quickly focus on supporting your salespeople:
- Step into the buyers' journey to be outward-facing and help buyers resolve their buying struggles.
- Become Sense-Makers positioning themselves as delivering unique value-add to give buyers more confidence, minimising uncertainty as they grapple with competing perspectives and alternative options.
Sales leaders and managers have to move from being leaders of sellers to being leaders of selling.
To be a leader of selling requires sales leaders and salespeople to have a deep appreciation and understanding of the buyers' journey.
According to Gartner's Report, The Future of Sales eBook, this requires salespeople and sales leaders to shift their focus away from salespeople as the primary commercial channel and toward digital sales channels. Doing so requires sellers' decision making be based on data, analytics and insights supported by Artificial Intelligence (AI).
Gartner recommend the following early actions that sales leaders need to be prepared for early in the sales engagement.
- Be ready to engage the "everywhere customer" - A shift to buyer-orientated not product oriented commercial channels is critical to meet customers' changing expectations and preferences for digital and self-service channels.
- Position sales to facilitate complex buying decisions - In a world of "everwhere customers," where it is even tougher to influence the purchase decisions, sales needs to focus on helping buying groups feel more confident in their own decisions.
The deal review and sales managers and leaders supporting their sales teams to be effective during early qualification is critical to manage a value-based sales engagement and close deals when forecast.
Fail to effectively manage early disqualification will have a direct impact on the companies ability to succeed achieving its sales revenue targets and longer term business value growth.
- Increase digital skill sets in the sales organisation. With increased digital skill sets, sellers can sell effectively along digital channels and dynamically adapt to changes in the buying environment.
From a salespersons' perspective, it is important to discover insights by becoming more anyltical and disciplined in how they engage with buyers and those influencing the decision to buy.
With buyers not contacting sellers until later in their buying process, it is important salespeople recognise buyers will be self-serving and consuming digital content available in the market long before they engage with a salesperson. The deal review is important to ensure salespeople are
- Build a future-forward sales technology roadmap. Invest in technology to support hyperautomation objectives for using AI to execute basic sales tasks, detect buying signals and predict business outcomes.
AI has a fundamental role to play supporting a sales team, however, AI will not replace the need for good salesmanship to accurately forecast and successfully close a sales engagement at the value forecast.
When considering technology such as AI, consider how you can augment it to better support the salesperson manage the human interaction to successfully manage a more complex sales engagement.
The deal review is critical supporting sales leaders and managers help their teams successfully manage, execute and close a value-based sales engagement.
How can the deal review support you win more business?
The online, virtual deal review, if managed well, will help:
- Salespeople adopt a Sense-Making approach to sales, positioning their unique value-add to help guide customers to decision confidence, minimizing uncertainty over competing perspectives and alternate actions.
- Sales managers and leaders shift their mindset from the leader of sellers to become a leader of selling.
- Provide the much needed human interaction sales teams rely on to perform their roles successfully. The deal review is becoming more important than ever because it is also replacing the "walk to the water cooler" moments and human interactions that are no longer available during lockdowns and pandemics.
To achieve all three outcomes requires the salesperson, the sales manager and sales leader to have a deep understanding of the buyers' journey and their challenges, which is where the deal review becomes critically important to your business success.
Consider the three most important jobs a salesperson must undertake. Which one has the greatest opportunity to be focused on the buyers' journey and their struggles?
Of course, it will be the deal review, which is why you must focus on developing these interactions if you are going to support buyers with more complex buying decisions that result in a successful sales outcome.
In the Article, How does the Nazca Sales Methodology Work? we discussed how to align your sales process and sales pipeline with your customers' buying journey and challenges.
The deal review is your opportunity as a manager to Sense-Check and supports your sales team develop their sales engagements you are intending to roll up into your own sales forecast.
It is also your sales teams' opportunity to validate, discuss and obtain your support developing their sales engagement to a successful closure.
This requires you both to focus on the conversations that are taking place at each stage of the sales engagement.
How do you become a Jedi "Sense-Maker" supporting buyers?
By listening and guiding the conversations to help buyers and those influencing the decision to buy.
In the report, 5 Ways the Future of B2B Buying Will Rewrite the Rules of Effective Selling, Gartner has monitored the steady shift from in-person sales interactions toward digital channels. A recent survey of customer stakeholders found near equal usage of a supplier’s websites versus sales reps to complete the most common buying jobs.
B2B buyers report spending exceedingly little time with sales reps. Perhaps most troubling is a pronounced generational shift in scepticism of salespeople. Gartner research finds millennial business customers over twice as sceptical as baby boomers, with 44% of millennials preferring no salesperson interaction in a B2B purchase setting.
Salespeople are also having to deal with the steady rise in the average number of individual stakeholders involved in a complex B2B purchase. Ten years ago that number was just over five;
today, it’s over 11, occasionally flexing up to nearly 20.
There is also the complex, nonlinear path that most B2B purchases follow, as each stakeholder seeks to complete very different buying jobs spanning problem identification, solution exploration, requirements building and supplier selection.
B2B buying is hard. Unaddressed, customers’ struggle to buy means suppliers failing
to provide help, what we call “Buyer Enablement”, are unlikely to win large deals predictably or consistently.
Your sales teals need help, which is why the deal review is so important to your ability to support buyers with complex business decisions to win their business.
Your sales team need to offer something of significant value if they are to win over the increasingly more sceptical buyers and those influencing the decision to buy, who prefer not to interact with salespeople.
Your value-add is helping buyers make sense of the increasing uncertainty and often contradicting information they are having to work with in order to make a good purchase decision.
The image below extends our focus to the conversations you need to have with buyers and those influencing the decision to buy so they can make good, well-considered decisions to buy.
With both yourself and your team using the Nazca Platform preparing for and running deal reviews, you focus on those conversations at each stage of the sales engagement.
The image above maps the conversations that the Nazca Platform is guiding your sales teams to have and report on that is used to challenge the sales pipeline.
Considering this Closed Lost sales engagement, if you had had this level of insight you could have guided your team on the conversations they should be having with the different stakeholders making and influencing the decision to buy.
Extend the deal review to always-on support for your sales team
We've been talking about the importance of managing conversations with our sales opportunities flowing through the sales pipeline. The same focus needs to also be given to supporting your team to develop their sales engagements and adapt to the fast-changing world of sales.
The Nazca Platform helps manage these conversations by incorporating its own messaging supporting people working on sales opportunities to work more effectively together within a secure, enterprise-grade environment.
The messaging is integrated within every sales opportunity flowing through your sales pipeline. It is ideal preparing for and managing deal reviews especially because it links you to specific areas of the sales engagement.
Finally, the sales pipeline is not the same as a sales forecast
A classic mistake people who are less familiar with sales make is to assume the sales pipeline is a direct reflection of the sales forecast. The two are separate, however, they are related.
The sales pipeline is an early warning system that should highlight risk. The problem with most sales pipelines is that they are no more than a sequential series of sales gates the salesperson moves through based on their subjective view, perspective, possibly a response to pressure to achieve quota, or deflect pressure not presenting the true situation.
To remove the risk that the sales pipeline is lying and the impact this can have on the sales forecast, you need to remove all subjectivity from the sales pipeline.
Your sales pipeline must become an objective reflection of what your sales team consider the sales engagement to be at that point in time.
The Nazca Platform helps you achieve this outcome guiding your sales team on the conversations they must be having with buyers and those influencing the decision to buy.
Pulled all together, the Nazca Platform provides you with an enterprise-grade sales process management solution that will become a vital, trusted and valued tool managing sales pipelines and deal reviews.
What is my next step?
Get in contact with us and we will:
- Lead you through a discovery allowing us to understand your concerns, wants, and needs.
- Show you what's possible and how using Nazca and the Onboarding we can solve the problem to help achieve your business objectives.
- Listening to you.
- Make the return on investment (ROI) case clear so you can present a compelling business case internally to invest in Nazca and plan with us your sales team onboarding programme.