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The Role of the Sales Leader Is Changing: Are You Ready?
Seth Marrs, principal analyst at Forrester Research joins Outreach's Mary Shea to discuss how sales leaders can solve their biggest revenue challenges.
As a sales leader, you know how challenging your job can be when there’s constant changes in the sales pipeline. With too many deals to manage and a lack of visibility into deal health, it’s no surprise that many managers struggle with forecast accuracy.
Not knowing what’s working and what’s not makes it difficult to coach the team on the right deals or disqualify bad deals— let alone optimize and scale your sales process.
That’s why we want to make it easier for you to coach your teams to increase close rates and contribute to your customers’ success with a buying experience that actually works for both the seller and buyer. To do so, we created Success Plans — a mutual action plan with a new set of signals that bring better visibility into the selling process and help you more accurately assess the health of your sales pipeline.
All existing Outreach customers have access to Success Plans. Don't have Outreach? Request a demo.
55% of sales leaders are not confident in their team’s deal health, according to Gartner. Each sales rep uses their own way of capturing deal information — whether it’s emails, spreadsheets, or slides — making it hard for the manager to see everything in one place and assess the team’s deal health.
When sales leaders don’t have a clear view of how each deal is progressing and what deals are at-risk, they are forced to rely on their reps’ gut instincts to determine deal health, leading to missed opportunities based on incomplete information.
“Tracking opportunities in Success Plans gives sales managers more confidence when assessing the health of their sales pipeline.”
Tyler Fujishin, Sales Enablement Manager, Gravity Payments
Success Plans help you confidently assess your team’s deal health with a single view of all deals, their status, next steps, and easy access to individual plans. Success Plans also provide signals that help you and your team identify at-risk deals based on how engaged or unengaged the customer is and what assets and information they are looking at.
For example, if a VP of Sales on the customer side reviews the POC in the resources section, it’s a good signal to the manager and seller that the deal is getting the right attention and is more likely to close.
On the other hand, you can catch a deal from going sideways by reviewing at-risk deals in the team's Plans Dashboard to determine what’s moving and what’s not, and where their efforts would be best spent each day. This saves managers and reps hours of wrangling information each week.
For instance, before using Success Plans, reps at Gravity Payments would spend up to 10 minutes searching through email to try to figure out where their deal stands. Ten minutes multiplied by hundreds of deals resulted in more than 80 hours lost to “nothing work.”
We often hear, “I don’t know how to help my rep close the deal because I can’t see what's going on,” or, “As a leader, I don’t know why there is a delay in the deal closing and what I can do to help.”
Sales managers find it difficult to keep track of every deal across their entire team, and they spend a lot of time looking for details.
In addition, sales managers lack visibility into what comes next in the deal cycle and who’s responsible, slowing down deal velocity as they try to figure this out.
“As we continue to grow and scale, this is going to be one of the most powerful weapons that we have. There are a lot of things going on with Outreach that are making us better, and Success Plans is a big piece of it.”
Sam Beall, Partner Success Team Lead, Patriot Software
Success Plans ensure every deal follows the proven customer and seller process. Managers can use quick-start blueprints for common Plan formats. This lets you quickly create Success Plans that follow your desired process without wasting time starting from scratch— helping you drive consistent, repeatable processes with your team.
Reps can also identify mutual action plans that have been proven successful and put them into use, making adjustments for their specific deal when needed.
Because every step of the sales cycle is documented, the team can then look at the data to identify opportunities to eliminate what didn’t work and iterate on what went well.
These standardized, consistent sales motions lead to faster deal velocity and higher win rates.
Success Plans also give you clear visibility into all aspects of the deal so you can coach your reps to identify risks based on deal delays due to lack of clear milestones , disengagement from the buyer, or not having the right customer stakeholders involved to move the deal along.
One of the key challenges for sales managers and sellers is making sure the right customer decision-makers are engaged at every step of the deal process.
An average of 11 individual stakeholders are involved in a B2B purchase, with that number occasionally going up to nearly 20, according to a Gartner Buyer Survey.
When these decision makers aren’t engaged, they are less likely to sign off on the deal.
For example, a seller might find that the buyer has strict vendor requirements. Because of this, new stakeholders with differing priorities and conflicting agendas keep getting looped into the deal. Each meeting causes the timeline to slip as they have to get new stakeholders up to speed.
Then, after months of validation, the customer CRO is looped in with almost zero context on the work that’s been done and is hesitant to buy a new tool.
With 77% of B2B buyers feeling that deals are overly difficult and complex, customers don’t know what to do next or where to find necessary resources. If they don’t understand the path to closing a deal, it’s difficult for them to get buy-in from their important stakeholders.
“I can’t tell you the number of times you get to a CFO conversation and they don’t trust the deal because they don’t know the amount of work that got us to that point of the conversation. Now you can say, ‘Look, here are the 6,700 things that we tested with your team, and we can prove it, and your team signed off on it.’ It opens people’s eyes.”
Jon Barrett, Sales Manager, Sisense
With a Success Plan, the buyer and seller are encouraged to understand and discuss the buyer’s success criteria and what it’s going to take to get there sooner. This collaboration and alignment allows them to get ahead of the upcoming hurdles and provides all stakeholders clear visibility into:
To close more deals, it is important for sales managers to ensure their reps set and accomplish concrete sales objectives that serve both the seller and the buyer.
Success Plans provide a hub for both parties to align on all details, identify roadblocks, and ensure every deal meets mutual expectations.
Ready to create your first Success Plan in Outreach? All current customers with Opportunities enabled have access.