Ever had that one deal that you’ve been chasing for months, and keeps slipping from quarter to quarter in your pipeline, but never closing? We call it a ‘zombie’ deal, the sales deal that never dies– and unfortunately, the one that doesn’t let you focus on the things that matter. Cleaning up the sales pipeline can increase sales by 10%, as one company recently found out.
The company had a global sales team offering data protection and information management systems. Their forecasting process was difficult, and the pipeline always seemed artificially inflated. Deals were added to the pipeline, but were consistently being pushed to the next quarter ‘while ironing out details.’
Sales leaders knew something had to change, but were not sure quite where to start.
They worked with XANT on an initial sales effectiveness assessment (SEQ), to see how sales reps were performing, and where they could improve.
Identifying The Good and Bad Sales Reps
The Sales Effectiveness Quadrant from XANT produced a segmentation of their reps based on performance. This helped them identify gaps in deal closing and pipeline building skills. Sales reps were placed in four categories, based on their skills:
- Deal makers – Sales reps who are natural closers. They love interacting with the customer in the final stages of a deal, but are lacking some pipeline drive
- Pipeline builders – The agents who are very good at finding leads and qualifying them for purchases
- Top performers – Sales reps who have both good pipeline building skills and a natural talent in closing
- Under performers – Sales representatives lagging behind in both pipeline creation and closing.
The assessment not only showed sales managers who needed help and where. It also highlighted what are the behaviors that pave the way to success. Having this information, managers were ready to setup a coaching plan. They were able to help their low-performing sales reps reach the same results as the sales superstars.
Weeding Out Bad Deals From the Pipeline
XANT allowed the company to gain visibility into the pipeline. They now could understand what were the behaviors of sales reps leading to an inflated pipeline. In this case, selling data protection services led to complex deals and long sales cycles. There were many technical specifications that needed working out. Deals were lingering in certain sales stages, and not closing.
The next step was to interpret this data in business context. With the insights provided by XANT’s Predictive Pipeline software, management was able to answer questions like:
- How are we tracking against quota?
- What has changed in the pipeline?
- Which deals are at risk and which will move forward?
- Which sales reps need coaching, and how?
The AI analyzed data from the CRM, as well as billions of other transactions from XANT’s database. It then found patterns in how their sales deals were closing. This allowed them to understand characteristics of good sales deals and weed out ones that would never close.
Focusing on the Right People and the Right Deals
With these insights, reps now knew what deals they need to focus on to win. Forecasting accuracy increased, as reps were allowing less zombie deals to move to the next quarter as pending.
The company experienced a 10% increase in closed amount, as well as a reduction of the time deals were spending in the sales cycle.
Read the full story to find out more!
Photo credit: AlphaStockImages.