The Latest from the ABM Experts
May 28, 2020
Strategic Account-Based Deal Coaching for Sales Leaders & Sellers
Written by Ottavio Dattolo
We know from experience that deal reviews can be stressful. Deal reviews are often unstructured and accompanied by a lack of outcomes, leaving both sellers and leaders scratching their heads with frustration. Sellers are defending their deals while leaders are stuck wondering why there is so much pipeline going to the wayside. This is unfortunate because when conducted correctly deal coaching can be a recipe for a winning sales team, leading to more closed deals and continuous improvement of their selling techniques.
There are two key objectives of deal coaching:
- Discard any deals that are either stalled or realistically have no chance of closing so that the seller can set their sights on better opportunities and eliminate any inflated sales pipeline.
- Zero in on the remaining good opportunities, highlight where there are gaps in information and how to improve your overall strategy to win those deals.
With that in mind, it is important that there is a concrete and structured way to review pipeline when practicing an account-based strategy. Terminus Account Insights can give you a detailed snapshot of all your accounts and opportunities. The data can help you paint a conclusive picture of the current status of both your target accounts and opportunities when reviewing with a sales leader.
That’s why we created the Deal Coaching for Sales Leaders and Sellers Worksheet. This resource can serve as a framework to help sales leaders and sellers review what is happening with deals in their pipeline. Use all of it, some of it, or as a starting point and add onto it! Hopefully, this can help both sides stay focused on the deals (and details) that matter most to your revenue goals.
When reviewing your current pipeline, it is critical that you do a detailed analysis of the company in which you are looking to progress forward. The more you know the better off you will be when it comes to crunch time. This also provides insight for your sales leader to better understand how they can help you throughout the deal cycle.
First, you must understand how and why your product or service is something that the company in review will benefit from and how you can accommodate their specific needs. That’s why it is so important to understand what they are trying to accomplish with your product or service, the industry in which they work, and any additional information about the company that you can keep in your back pocket. This includes account details, desired business outcomes, and challenges that the company is currently facing.
Relationships & Contacts Involved
Next, you must dive into the existing relationships that you have with the account and the contacts that live within that account. By using Terminus Relationship Scoring, you can easily see how strong of a relationship that you have on an account and contact level basis through a 1-100 scoring scale that measures the recency and frequency of emails exchanged, as well as any calendar invites that you have shared in the past. This score is dynamic and will appreciate and depreciate based on the duration of time between your last communication.
Having a good understanding of the relationship score at the account level can be a key insight for your sales leader about the direction in which the deal is trending (both good and bad). An account with little to no relationship score can feel like doing a belly flop into the deep end. While an account with a high relationship score can be an indicator of a deal that has a high propensity to purchase.
At the contact level, relationship scores can help you understand which contacts within an account you have the best relationship with. You can see who your champion is as well as understand the additional decision-makers that you need to engage within the account. According to the Harvard Business Review, “The number of people involved in B2B solutions purchases has climbed from an average of 5.4 two years ago to 6.8 today.” With more cooks in the kitchen, it’s crucial to engage all of the key stakeholders throughout the buying process. Relationship data is a sales leader’s best friend when understanding the depth in which his or her seller has reached within the buying committee of an account. This presents itself as a great coaching opportunity to get more multithreaded, buy-in, and closed-won deals.
Sales & Account Insights
As you do your deal review, it is important that both the seller and leader walk through the Sales and Account Insights tab in your Salesforce instance together. There is an abundance of data that can help steer your next move within an account. Specifically, there are three important pieces of data that you should be looking at when conducting a deal review: spike, opportunity insights, and competitors involved.
Spike means people are visiting your website more than normal, showing more interest in your products and you can see specifically which pages. Chili peppers are a quick glance comparison showing which accounts are the hottest of the hot to help you prioritize immediate outreach. These also help you understand which accounts AREN’T showing signals on your website, which probably means you need more marketing support and/or 1:1 sales outreach with helpful content. As you work through this data it will help you understand the overall velocity in which the account is moving.
Opportunity insights can provide a detailed view of all of the activity that has happened within an account. This can include page views, people, events, spikes, and content downloads. Reviewing this information can help you understand the velocity of the deal, what is most important to your account, and can provide additional color on how you should be approaching the account moving forward.
As a seller, having access to this information can be a secret weapon when trying to stand out from the crowd. As a leader, it is important to regularly review this information with your sellers to make sure that they aren’t missing any key data points and lending advice on how to leverage this data in future conversations.
It is also important to highlight what is moving the needle with the account. Is it sales? Is it marketing? Are sales and marketing working in tandem with one another? Are marketing and sales activities driving more engagement on your website? Are you seeing sales and marketing activity increase as the deal progresses? Based on what you find, you can identify what areas you need to pull in your supporting cast to get the deal to the finish line.
By leveraging the “researched topics” section of Account Insights, you can easily identify any topics that an account has been researching on the open web. It is important that you work with your marketing team to set up your competitors as intent topics through the native Bombora integration within Account Insights. Once you have done this, you will have visibility into any of your accounts that have been researching your competitors. By understanding what competitors that you are up against, this can allow both the seller and the leader to work together to come up with a competitive positioning plan on how to win the account.
Although deal reviews may still be stressful for some, using a systematic approach to how you review deals is important to the success of your sales organization when using an account-based strategy. By leveraging both the Deal Coaching for Sales Leaders and Sellers Worksheet, Sales Insights, and Account Insights, both sellers and leaders can work together to focus on and close the right deals.