June 30, 2020

Sales Execution

How to Use Pipeline Insights to Drive Strategic Deal Acceleration

Kyle Coleman

Kyle Coleman

Kyle Coleman
Kyle Coleman

VP of Growth and Enablement

Blog 820X410

Now that we’ve discussed analyzing pipeline creation and pipeline quality for current and future quarters, it’s time to focus on leveraging those insights into revenue-generating actions.

The best revenue operations teams are tightly connected, share success metrics, and use the same lens for analysis and decision making. Our team is aligned around pipeline and revenue, and uses shared dashboards to inspect and prioritize deals that are ripe for acceleration.

Continue below for a deep dive into each of these use cases.

Which current quarter deals need some love?

This is one of my favorite views in Clari, and a deceptively simple one. There’s a ton of disparate information packed into a 2x2 grid. Combining it makes decisions around deal prioritization much easier.

One axis is the CRM score, Clari’s AI and machine learning algorithm that tells us how much a deal is behaving like a won or lost opportunity from the past. The other axis is the activity score, aggregating signals from email, calendars, and marketing automation, as well as our revenue tech stack partners to show how engaged key players are within the account. The size of the dot correlates to the size of the deal, and the color of the dot indicates the forecast category.

So, what am I looking for in this widget? I’m focused on deals meet all of the following criteria:

  • Large dots, which mean they have more revenue potential
  • Green dots, which indicate they are in late forecast categories
  • Medium to high on the CRM score axis
  • Low on the activity score axis.

These are deals that both our sellers and Clari are expecting us to close, but for whatever reason account engagement has fallen off—putting the deal at risk.

I can filter this view based on rep, sales manager, or sales VP, which is a useful way to run 1:1s with sales leadership. Once we spot the at-risk deals in this view, we’re able to drill in for real-time inspection of individual deals.

How engaged are our opportunities?

In this view, can see each opportunity in the current quarter and the corresponding amount of sales activity on the account, which include emails, meetings, marketing automation activity, and more.

The deal highlights (X100 Platform) is a six figure deal current in Commit, but whose CRM score and activity score are not encouraging. The view on the right is the activity grid, a single view highlighting all the data signals that Clari automatically harvests from us and from them.

The close date is only 31 days out, but activity (emails, meetings, etc...) has fallen off the map both on our end and on theirs. Not a great sign.

  • Why has the rep only sent a single email in the last eight weeks?
  • What transpired in the most recent meeting?
  • Why is the rep still feeling good about this deal closing in a month?

We take the directional data insights from Clari, fold in the qualitative assessment from the field, and determine the best course of action to get the deal back on track. In this case, it may be as simple as enabling the seller around deal execution best practices, and ensuring that they’re armed with the right tools and tactics they need to manage their deal cycles.

Or the problem may be more complex, where the seller has key information about why they’re blocked and have temporarily pumped the brakes. In this case, we can run a play around executive introductions to ensure the prospect company understands how committed we are to the partnership.

My suggestion for these scenarios:

  1. Build a menu of options for the cross-functional plays you can run for various scenarios.
  2. Ensure buy-in from all stakeholders around the level of complexity to complete the deliverable and run the play.
  3. Create a system for measuring whether or not your strategy is performing as expected.

A true revenue team works together to create a playbook that delivers results. Once you’ve taken care of in-quarter deals, you can repeat the exercise for out-quarter deals.

Which next quarter deals need some love?

Starting the machinery as soon as possible is always a good idea. This is especially true if the plays you run require time and resources from other teams.

I recommend starting this out-quarter cadence at or around week four of your current quarter. This gives you enough time to run QBRs, get feedback from sellers, and ensure you understand how the current quarter is trending. After that, you’ll have two paths to follow:

If the current quarter is light, you may want to run an acceleration play that may help pull a next quarter deal forward.

If you’re feeling good about CQ, you can bolster NQ proactively.

--------------------

Analyzing pipeline creation, inspecting pipeline quality, evaluating next quarter pipeline, and having a cadence for deal acceleration—this is a top-of-funnel revenue process. Revenue teams who build this muscle are more connected, efficient, and predictable, and consistently hit their number quarter after quarter.

Read more in this series:

E-book

The Revenue Leader's Handbook to Predictable Revenue

How do you drive predictable revenue year after year like VMware, Dropbox and Workday? Yamini Rangan and Carl Eschenbach share their insights in this (free) ebook.

By submitting this form, you agree to the Clari Privacy Policies and Clari GDPR Agreement.

Stay up to date with all our latest resources, blog posts, and news.