It’s been said time and time again, hiring and coaching are the two biggest jobs of a sales leader. According to the Sales Executive Council, salespeople that received quality coaching saw a 19% improvement in long-term performance.
However, one-on-one sales meetings usually last 30 minutes and managers spend the first 25 minutes interrogating sales reps, leaving only 5 minutes for coaching. It should be the other way around, but it isn’t. Why is that?
Most traditional one-on-one sales meetings go like this:
- How is this deal tracking?
- When is the next meeting?
- Who are you engaging with?
- Why is it in commit?
- Has the contract been sent yet?
- Has the dollar amount changed?
- Is it in the right stage?
These questions happen because you can’t easily find the answers in the CRM. It requires lots of sifting, digging and, well, wasted time. So it’s no wonder reps are not looking forward to their one-on-one sales meetings — because there’s no value in it for them other than subjecting themselves to a barrage of questions.
Instead of coaching, sales managers are forced to spend their time interrogating each of their reps to get the information they need to properly inspect the pipeline, so there are no surprises at the end of the month. Spending your time on a fact-finding mission doesn’t help close deals—and it’s often so time consuming you can’t even get through all of your deals because you run out of time. Not to mention not being able to see the forest from the trees and more holistically evaluate the state of the quarter.
Why Increasing Sales Effectiveness is Critical for Sales Teams Large and Small
Sales execution is a challenge across all sales departments, large and small. Sales headcount is the most expensive labor pool in the company but often the most inefficient. So the question is how do you get the most productivity yield out of them? How can you focus their attention on the deals that need their attention, rather than wasting time sharing updates on deals that are already in a good place?
When you have the ability to hone in on those deals that matter most, your one-on-one sales meetings become more efficient and effective, and when that happens, leaders can actually manage more reps per manager because they’re looking at the right deals in a more intelligent way.
Here’s the bottom line: Keeping your team efficient is often the difference between hitting or missing your number.
How to Boost Sales Effectiveness in Every One-on-One Sales Meeting
The #1 thing that is absolutely critical for productivity—and without it nothing else can work—is complete and accurate business and sales activity data. But it's not enough to just track the data. It needs to be embedded into key workflows like one-on-one sales meetings and surfaced as a single source of truth so reps can track their deals and managers can easily understand the health of the pipeline and where they have risk.
Being able to see a holistic and accurate view of all deals in play is what separates the good one-on-ones from the, well, not so good ones.
Clari automatically tracks critical sales activity data from a variety of systems, including email, calendar, sales enablement tools, and more, so reps don’t have to manually add it to the CRM. This data is then visualized in a single pane for reps and managers alike, giving them the power to inspect the health of their deal in 4 easy steps.
Make One-on-One Sales Meetings More Strategic: The 4-Point Deal Inspection
If you knew these 4 data points on every deal your team is working, you’ll know to avoid the tire kickers and focus on the right deals. You’ll know what’s likely to slip and what other delays you can pull forward. You’ll also know when a deal is not getting enough attention or actually too much attention. You’ll have a clear line of sight not only into this quarter but next quarter, too.
Here’s how it works:
#1 What changed in this deal?
Deals are dynamically changing every day, sometimes every hour—deal size goes up and down, close dates get pushed in or out, forecast categories are updated. Some changes are good and indicate a deal is on track, but others can be worrisome and might require more attention.
Clari automatically alerts changes to specific fields in CRM, like deal size, rep forecast and close date by color coding them so you know exactly what is happening. If the field is highlighted in green, that’s a positive movement. If it’s in red, that’s negative. Blue is a nondirectional update.
As a sales manager, you no longer have to ask what’s happening to your rep's deals, you can just glance at them and instantly see if there are positive or negative changes. Clari draws your focus to the areas of the deals that matter so you don’t have to spend time with time consuming interrogation.
#2 How likely is this deal to close?
Don’t you wish you had a third-party unbiased opinion about the health of the deal to avoid the dreaded happy ears or sandbagging? That’s exactly where sales-ready AI comes into play.
Clari provides an AI-powered opportunity score based on historical data looking at factors involved in past closed won and closed loss deals. Some of those data points might include:
- If the rep recently moved the deal from Best Case to Commit
- Whether the close date or deal size changed
- How long a deal has stayed in a given stage
The higher the opportunity score, the more likely the deal will close.
Oftentimes during a rep/manager one-on-one sales meeting, the conversation can be contentious where the sales rep is justifying to the manager why he or she is committing the deal. The opportunity score makes it hard to argue because the data doesn’t lie. You’re able to have a data-driven conversation instead of a gut-based discussion.
#3 How much activity do we have on this deal?
How many times have you been in a one-on-one sales meeting with a rep who was confident a deal was going to close, only for it to slip to the next quarter?
The opportunity score only paints part of the picture, so in order to properly inspect the health of a deal, managers need to take into account other signals surrounding the opportunity.
Imagine a large deal for the quarter that has hardly any emails or meetings associated with it or a tiny deal that the rep is spending a ton of time on. Neither scenario seems ideal, but it’s impossible to easily access this data in the CRM—assuming it’s there in the first place.
Clari’s Activity Insights panel automatically pulls in data happening outside the CRM, like emails, calls, meetings and more. It not only shows how many emails you’re sending out, but how prospects are reciprocating. In addition, each signal is color-coded so you can easily see whether the prospect is engaging in emails, calls, meetings, Marketo campaigns, and more.
Managers no longer have to ask their reps “Did you send the email?” “Did you make the phone call?” “Has the contract been sent?” It’s all right here.
It also helps managers understand whether the deal is progressing in the right direction. If this deal is about to close, you would expect to see contracts and an order agreement showing up here.
#4 Is this deal following our sales process?
The Details Panel can include specific fields your team uses to ensure a deal is in the right place to close, such as sales methodologies like MEDDIC, BANT, SPIN, Challenger, Sandler, etc... This allows a manager to easily inspect whether the rep is doing their due diligence and capturing the data needed.
People do not respect what you do not inspect. We’re making it easy for managers to look at all of these details in one place so they can identify what deals are actually going to close instead of making educated guesses.
Increasing the Effectiveness of Every One-on-One Sales Meeting
Clari provides sales managers with a single source of truth allowing them to quickly and easily inspect every opportunity at a glance, identifying which deals to spend their time on.
Rather than spending your time interrogating your reps and getting updates on which deals are moving and which are not, you can take that time to strategize and identify sales plays to move them in the right direction.
Now let’s take it one step further: Now that you know which deals are healthy and which need work, you can call your forecast far more accurately. Imagine the effects that can have across every rep, front-line manager and sales leader in your organization.
Schedule a demo to learn more here.
About the Author: Benjamin Chen is a Senior Sale Engineer, Commercial Team Lead at Clari.