By Dave Brock
Sales people spend a majority of their time doing deals–finding them, qualifying them, helping their customers navigate the buying process until they make a decision, then ultimately getting the order. Since this is where most of our people live their lives, it’s where sales managers should be spending a lot of time.
Unfortunately, too many sales managers don’t leverage deal review for their full value.
Many of the deal reviews I participate in look more like interrogations. Sales managers pummeling the sales person for data:
- What solution are you selling?
- Why do they need it?
- Who’s involved in the decision?
- Who’s the competition? What are they doing to win this? What are you doing to counteract them?
- When is this going to close?
- What do you have to do to win?
- How much will we have to discount?
- When did you say this is going to close, again? Are you absolutely certain?
- What value will you book this at?
- Can you upsell a little?
- Are you really sure about the close date, I need this for the forecast so you need to deliver!
Sound familiar? Most deal reviews I sit in (at least before the client turns me loose to change what they do) are some variation of this interrogation. Typically, the manager is getting a lot of status information but doing little to help the sales person win the deal. Perhaps, based on the information dump, the manager might respond with a few, “You need to do this, make sure you do that, don’t let this happen……” I suppose they think that adds a lot of value to winning the deal.
But think about that conversation a little. How accurate will the responses be if the sales person is misreading the situation? How accurate will they be if the sales person has the wrong strategy? How often do sales people tell their managers what they want to hear, just to get them off their backs?
Think further, the majority of the answers to these questions can be found in the CRM system–that is if the people are using it (which is an entirely different issue).
The primary purpose of deal reviews is to help the sales person develop and execute sales strategies to win the deal! Yes, there is a business management component to deal reviews. We do need the information to make sure our teams are doing the things they need to do to achieve their numbers. But what we really care about is winning the deal—the deal review I typically see does nothing to help the sales person think about their strategy, think about what the customer is trying to achieve, think about what we should be doing to help the customer in their buying process.
Recently, I read some terribly bad advice on deal reviews from yet another sales guru. He had 5 terrible tips for deal reviews, three stood out: Stop asking reps to Self-Analyze, Move on to the next question as soon as the rep says, “I don’t know,” Don’t use the deal review to coach. Could anything be more misguided than Go to the full article.