2022 has brought more than its fair share of challenges for the B2B sales world: tightening budgets, mass layoffs, uncertainty across stakeholders… a lot of variables that are out of a seller’s control.
The good news? We can still control HOW we sell and adapt our processes to meet buyers’ needs in this new world – and that can make all the difference.
In a masterclass with sales leaders from Stripe, Elemy, CoachCRM, and ClozeLoop, we dove into how to make the most of every single deal in your pipeline, from lead to live. Watch the full session and get their tactics below!
Meet the experts:
- Cory Bray, Co-Founder at CoachCRM and ClozeLoop
- Trevor Clark, SVP Growth at Elemy
- Ryan Libster, Head of Enterprise Sales, East at Stripe
Tip #1: Nail your deal execution fundamentals ✅
“Before this year, you could probably get away with skipping steps. Now, you need to truly understand where the decision is coming from and make the most of what you have – a deal today is not a guaranteed deal tomorrow.” -Ryan Libster, Stripe
Ensuring your reps make the most of every deal starts with getting the fundamentals down:
- Send a follow-up within 24 hours of meeting with your buyer.
- The follow-up should include very clear action items and who’s taking point on them.
- Deals with a more complex buying process should always include a Mutual Action Plan (MAP) or Joint Success Plan.
Pro tips for when your team is using MAPs:
- Your MAP timeline should go beyond the point of signature / close date, and into the deployment & onboarding phase. Your customer doesn’t care about you signing the deal – they care about getting to value.
- Loop in stakeholders that you know will be involved later in the process as early as possible, to avoid potential blockers or missed context.
- Do the work to ensure your champion has everything they need to sell your solution internally. Share all helpful resources, outline the problems you’re solving and how your solution will help them hit their goals, and leave nothing to chance.
MAPs are more than just a timeline; they’re an agreement on the way your solution will be bought and implemented at your buyer’s company. Sellers need to enable their champions to build consensus cross-functionally and help you sell the value of your solution – which will also help them accomplish their goals faster and easier.
Tip #2: Run consistent, productive pipeline reviews 🔍
“The only way you can accurately forecast your pipeline is to have perfect knowledge of every opportunity and interrogate every single deal.” -Trevor Clark, Elemy
Your internal processes are just as important as your external processes. Sitting down with your team to review your pipeline every day is a key lever for getting the most of every opportunity. If your pipeline reviews are inconsistent or could use a little help, here are a few tips.
Set a consistent structure and cadence
At many orgs, pipeline reviews are done inconsistently, especially across multiple teams: some sales leaders do them during 1:1s, some with the entire team, and some not at all.
Your reviews will be much more productive if they have a defined, consistent cadence and structure. Ryan also recommends coming to the reviews with all deal and data hygiene completed ahead of time – so you’re spending your time on more strategic conversations instead of just cleaning up your CRM.
Emphasize structure over narrative in your reviews, Cory says. Avoid aimless chit-chat or speculation about how you think your deals are going. Have clear fields and exit criteria for each deal stage, and examples of good and bad deals at each stage, to drive more productive conversations.
Thoroughly dive into every single deal
Trevor recommends checking out Mark Cranney’s article: “Control, or Be Controlled: Sales Forecasting Done Right.” In it, Mark says that the only way to accurately forecast your pipeline is to interrogate every single deal (especially for mid-market and enterprise deals) and to have “perfect knowledge” of every opportunity.
It can be easy to miss things when you’re only focused on following sales methodologies or making sure you finish all your Salesforce documentation. But pipeline reviews are an opportunity to dive deeper into each deal, actually hear what your customers are saying, and accurately forecast.
Fill in the blanks
Cory recommends filling in the blanks of two key sentences for each of your team’s deals:
- “This person is going to buy from me because…”
- “The risks I see in this deal are… and I’m doing… about them.”
If you can’t finish the first sentence or it doesn’t stand on its own, then it’s not a deal. Filling out the second sentence helps reps get ahead of any potential risks (and if they can’t answer the second part of the sentence, it’s a great opportunity to strategize options as a team!)
Tip #3: Understand what each stakeholder group cares about 🎯
“You need to understand all the different players at the different levels of the buying org, and what they care about. What’s going to get them to either support the deal or become a blocker?” -Cory Bray, CoachCRM & ClozeLoop
Understanding who needs to be involved in the buying process, who the key decision makers are, and what each stakeholder cares about can absolutely make or break your deals.
Get ahead of potential blockers by working with your champion to understand their internal org’s buying process and loop in stakeholders as early as possible.
Every stakeholder group is going to care about something different, depending on their specific goals and value props, how senior they are and who they report to, etc. Your job as a seller is to uncover those values and motivations to ensure you’re telling the right story to each buyer.
And speaking of stories: don’t think that the same message you communicated in 2021 will work on buyers today! For the majority of orgs, business goals are entirely different now. The way you’re describing your solution’s value need to match the goals executives care about today.
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