frustrated-computer-guy

What Is Real Deal Status

Authored by Steve Newell on December 2, 2015

Working with sales leaders who struggle with understanding the true state of the deals in their pipeline is an every day occurrence for my team and I.  Many rely on information from their sales reps through phone calls, emails and meetings to gage how individual deals are progressing along combined with hours of digging through CRM data.  The data lacks “real” understanding of which deals are progressing, which ones are stalled, and the ones that are falling out.  One of the first things we do when implementing TopOPPS is to create alerts and reporting views to help sales leaders understand what is happening to their pipeline both on an aggregate and individual opportunity basis.  

Which deals are progressing?

Of the three, understanding which deals are moving forward is the easiest for sales leaders to identify since sales reps keep that list top of mind. Most sales leaders rely on the opportunity stage, close date in the CRM, and communication with the sales reps to identify which deals are progressing towards close.  

With TopOPPS, we can use the activity level for the opportunity along with positive check-ins by the sales rep to identify which opportunities have positive momentum at any time without having to communicate with sales rep.  As quarter end approaches, these views can help sales leaders and sales reps understand which opportunities are closed, most likely to close and which ones are not realistic to close by end of quarter.

Below is a common filter our customers use to identify those opportunities that are moving forward.  This includes the right contact level, a positive (and recent) conversation with the rep,  and a defined next meeting date.

Progressing

Which deals are stalled?  

Stalled opportunities can be most difficult to detect.  Too often, by the time an opportunity that has been identified as “stalled” it is actually falling out.  The notification of a stalled deal  needs to happen quickly so immediate action can be taken.  There can be many factors that contribute to deal becoming stalled, but identifying which deals are stalled is the most critical part of addressing the underlying issues.  One of the most common contributors to stalled deals is rep focus.  Sales reps tend to focus on closing deals as they approach quarter end and neglect the healthy deals with future close dates.  

The TopOPPS alert shown below looks for deals that are in a given stage longer than the average time by 10 days, deals with no activity in the last fourteen days, or deals with no recent sales rep check-ins in the last seven days.  These are early indicators that a deal is stalling.  With this alert, the sales rep is prompted to update the opportunity through a check-in and provide their assessment of the true deal status.

Stalled

Which deals are falling out?

There can be a fine line that separates stalled opportunities with those that are falling out.  While they have many of the same attributes of lack of activity and being in a stage too long, deals that are slipping can have additional attributes.  These attributes can include the close date being pushed back multiple times and a longer time without any meaningful communications with key decision makers.  When deals are slipping, it can become more difficult to turn them around.  Like stalled deals, the sooner these opportunities are identified the higher the likelihood that the deal can be turned around.   

The alert below identifies opportunities that are falling out that include a number of push-backed expected close dates, last activity exceeds 30 days, the deal is stuck in a stage too long, and the expected close date in at least 15 days sooner than TopOPPS predicts it to be.  The called action for the sales rep is to perform a check-in and document what is happening with the deal so it doesn't throw off the forecast.

Falling out

Real deal status affects the forecast  

Sales leaders often have deals that are forecasted to close but should not be.  This causes an unrealistic representation of what deals are expected to close in the quarter. Even worse,  sales leaders have to spend hours digging through the forecasted deals to understand which ones will actually close.  While stalled opportunities can be kept in the forecast, ones that are falling out should be removed from the forecast since there is a lower likelihood of these deals being closed in the current quarter. This is a best practice that we can enforce through the use of our forecast rules. Once the deal is moving forward again, it will move back into a forecast category for the current quarter.   TopOPPS puts your forecast on autopilot!

Getting Up and Running

These three alerts are immediately set up after TopOPPS is installed in your CRM.  Taking your CRM data, TopOPPS applies these alerts in a matter of minutes.  Immediately you can gain a better understanding of the overall health and quality of your pipeline.  Both sales leaders and sales reps benefit from real time alerts, eliminates a lot of CRM time and info gathering conversation.   TopOPPS  makes real deal status available on demand.

Subscribe to our newsletter!

Leverage these best practices with automation and AI driven by TopOPPS

Learn how our customers are winning with artificial intelligence in their CRM:

  • Predictive Sales Forecasting
  • Automated Pipeline Management
  • Significantly More Updates from Reps

Watch Videos

More Recent Posts:

October 23, 2019

Where 1 + 1 = 3 in the Sales Application Stack - Sales Enablement

  In my previous blog I outlined 21 different sales technology categories for the Sales Application Stack .  These categories were consolidated from various industry analysts research. That blog highlighted the difference between data integration and application embedding and highlighted the benefits of application embedding and selecting software vendors who have strategic partnerships with other software providers in the CRM application space.   The concepts of application embedding needs to be expanded with the concept of “application in context”.  “Applications in context” is applications working “in context” with applications to solve a series of problems in a consistent and cohesive manner without derailing the users thought process. ...

Sales Operations, Sales Tools, Sales Pipeline Management, Strategic Partnerships

September 20, 2019

The Emperor [CRM] is Naked

  One of the things I like to track are stories I heard in kindergarten that persist through life.  The Emperor’s New Clothes is one of them.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been in meetings, listening to what is being discussed and ideas explored and wanted to yell out, “THE EMPEROR IS NAKED”. ...

Sales Operations, Sales Tools, Sales Pipeline Management, Strategic Partnerships

August 16, 2019

AI For Sales - Business Examples

  The last seven blogs provide a business-case approach to infusing AI through the entire sales process.  One of the purposes of this blog series was to demystify AI by using AI for Sales as an  example.  Media tends to portray AI as a magic bullet.  Actual implementations show the less “black box” an AI solution is and the more “glass box” approach, the more utility it provides to the user.  The utility is created by uncovering the key drivers of an outcome and managing those drivers to increase results. ...

Sales Operations, Sales Tools, Sales Pipeline Management, AI for Sales

August 6, 2019

TopOPPS + Outreach Galaxy: AI Enhanced Guided Selling to Increase Win Rates

  Ever had the situation where: an important sales opportunity is in danger because of inactivity and it goes unnoticed; the opportunity is sold but they don’t have the budget till next quarter so the sales rep needs to “stay close”; or the opportunity wants to buy but “isn’t there yet” and needs further ongoing education?   ...

Pipeline Optimization, Artificial Intelligence, Sales Pipeline Management, Guided Selling, guide winning behaviors

July 22, 2019

AI for Sales - Calculating the Sales Forecast

  I mentioned in my first blog on AI for Sales, when you hear the phrase “AI for sales forecasting” it feels like the solution is an algorithm to predict “the sales number”.  This is only partially correct.  While the ultimate goal is an accurate sales forecast, AI for sales forecasting requires artificial intelligence to be infused throughout the entire sales process.   The last 6 blogs have walked through different AI use cases for each of the different areas supporting the sales process to build a foundation for applying AI to create a more accurate sales forecast.  With that background we are ready to review AI use cases for calculating different versions of the sales forecast. ...

Pipeline Optimization, Artificial Intelligence, Sales Pipeline Management, AI for Sales

June 5, 2019

AI for Sales - Sales Pipeline Management and Sales Rep Coaching

  This is the second of two blogs reviewing artificial intelligence use cases to support sales pipeline accuracy.    The first blog focused on artificial intelligence for guided selling. Guided selling is key to maintaining a realistic sales pipeline by ensuring that sales team rigor, discipline and process are consistent across all opportunities. This blog focuses on sales pipeline management and sales rep coaching.  It includes tools to help: ...

Pipeline Optimization, Artificial Intelligence, Sales Pipeline Management, AI for Sales

April 16, 2019

AI for Sales - Guided Selling

  The next two blogs cover AI for the sales pipeline.  This blog focuses on AI for guided selling.  Guided selling is the process of prescribing optimal sales execution steps to the sales reps to enforce an efficient sales process.  The tasks and process are based on sales patterns of past close-won, and close-lost opportunities.  Guided selling is key to maintaining a realistic sales pipeline. ...

Artificial Intelligence, Sales Pipeline Management, AI for Sales, Sales Enablement

February 27, 2019

AI for Sales - Enhanced Data Collection

  An accurate sales forecast requires a crystal clean sales pipeline.  A crystal clean sales pipeline requires a deep history on most buyer/seller interactions for each opportunity.  By having a deep history of these interactions you can apply AI to identify buyer patterns and better guide the sales process.   Unfortunately most sales organizations do not have enough information about each opportunity to apply AI to assist in the sales process. ...

Sales Automation, Sales Tools, AI, Artificial Intelligence, AI for Sales