Any company focused on growth must be able to effectively close sales deals. As such, deal management is an essential strategy to ensure the growth and sustainability of any revenue-generating organization.
Effective deal management will not only secure additional client relationships, but it will also maximize company goals by interpreting data for margins, profits, and revenue. Proper deal management can even track market share, providing valuable information on how much of the market is controlled by a given company or organization.
Learn more about deal management—and how you can improve your own deal management strategy to shorten the sales cycle.
What is deal management?
Deal management is the strategy of executing deal workflows and establishing deal parameters. These parameters can include customer history, operational constraints, team member roles, product status, and more.
Deal management is the total outline of every step in the deal-making process and can cover everything from cold call to formal pitch to close.
4 powerful tips for better deal management
By following these tips, you will gain valuable tools to improve your organization’s sales processes and add value to every client or customer experience, ultimately resulting in closing deals more quickly and easily.
1. Gather data
Quality engagement backed by measurable data leads to the best client servicing and, ultimately, the most closed deals. You should treat data collection and research like mapping the land before you set out on a journey: It will help you see where you’re going, where not to go, and where others have gone wrong before.
Data gathering is an essential first step in deal management and includes finding out what type of customer your client is targeting, what their long-term goals and threats to those goals are, and what their specific pain points are.
This process doesn’t have to be done in a formal manner—speaking directly to a client about their pain points provides an opportunity to build an important connection and gives you an opportunity to tie their challenges back to your product or service offering.
Having detailed and accurate data also provides an opportunity for innovation. For example, if you see that your potential client is underperforming in an area and you notice that they could implement a new process, tool, or perspective that they hadn’t anticipated, you suddenly become not just a powerful advocate for your company—but also a trusted strategist. That trust can translate to a closed deal, or even an expanded deal, a learning opportunity, and potentially an industry innovation.
In any situation, knowledge truly is power, and it starts with data collection.
Learn how to gather the information you need and guarantee a great buyer experience through the discovery call.
2. Create a multithreaded relationship
While it’s important to create a connection with your prospect, it’s not wise to put all your eggs in one basket. Buying decisions typically involve more than one person, and sometimes your connection either isn’t a decision-maker or doesn’t have the power to make buying decisions. Create a multithreaded relationship by connecting with more than one person at the company —this step will ensure the deal isn’t reliant on a single relationship.
So who have you aligned with within your prospect’s organization in order to secure the buy-in?
This question is extremely important, as it affects how your product or service offering will be implemented long after the lifecycle of the deal. For example, establishing solid relationships with executives will ensure strategic alignment with key stakeholders who will be invested in the success of the deal. Similarly, aligning with technical teams will arm those stakeholders with power over implementation and product solutions.
3. Establish a go-live date and a timeline
If you’ve done your due diligence by gathering data and building relationships with multiple people at the prospective company, establish a go-live date with your client to further shorten your deal’s lifecycle.
Proper deal management will set you up to a point where, hopefully, your client is eager to implement your product or service, and offering a go-live date and a timeline will ensure that pen goes to paper and the deal is closed. With all sales, it’s ideal to keep the deal lifecycle as short as possible, leaving more time to work on new deals and grow more quickly.
4. Own the pricing and procurement process
You can flawlessly manage every step of the deal cycle and still lose the deal in the final steps if you can’t own the pricing and procurement process. As discussed in our recent webinar with Sales Hacker, it’s important to be patient and strategic as you manage the last few steps of the deal.
Once you present pricing details to your prospect, hit the pause button. Give your potential customer an opportunity to think about the information you just presented and time to respond. Practice getting comfortable with the inevitable pauses that result in this stage of the conversation and resist the temptation to throw out a discount in order to close the deal.
Be confident in your management of the deal to this point and the value you presented. Even if you need to eventually walk away from the deal, this also builds confidence with your prospective customer.
Another good way to ensure you’re delivering the right solution to your customer is to establish a real connection. When you handle pricing and procurement negotiations over the phone, you’re better able to understand exactly how the prospective customer feels about the product and pricing, understand the nuances of the interaction, and establish a better position to directly address their concerns.
Finally, don’t let emotions rule the final stages of the deal. It can be tough to maintain a strategic approach when you’re pulling different levers to get a complex deal across the finish line, but it’s important to follow clear processes to land on an agreement.
If you’re able to clearly document how the details of the deal meet the business objectives of your prospective customer, you also convince them of the ROI of the deal—and get them one step closer to signing on the dotted line.
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What are the benefits of deal management?
Your organization’s team members and sales reps will drastically improve their performance by employing effective deal management. Here are some added benefits.
While the ultimate goal of any sales team is to close deals, engaging in a clearly defined and refined deal management process will eliminate any inefficiencies caused by human error or personal preference. When deal parameters are established, team members are empowered to proactively engage in accordance to a set standard, pertinent behaviors are strengthened by having a repeated process, and client experience is improved by having consistent messaging.
Faster sales cycle
With all deals, depending on your management, time can be a friend or an enemy. However, with all deals, the longer it takes, the more things that could go wrong, and the fewer deals that can be closed. Deal management allows you to speed up speed up the sales process while still maintaining a quality relationship with a client and providing a solution-based engagement.
A prepared team is an agile team. To manage deals effectively, you need to arm all team members with the proper information and tools, giving them the ability to make informed, versatile decisions.
Let’s use an example: Say your VP of Sales is unavailable for a conference call because of an issue as simple as a flight delay. Informed sales reps with a refined deal management system will be able to speak on his behalf, make the best decision possible given the information in front of them, and keep a deal moving forward. Deal management gives sales teams the ability to pivot and respond to circumstances, creating a more resilient and sustainable organization that recovers quickly from setbacks.
Deal management is a key way to refine your organization’s sales process. Train sales reps to deeply understand their clients’ needs, practice multithreading, establish a go-live date, and take ownership over pricing and procurement if you want your org to close bigger and sooner.
For more information about these tips, and for additional skills that your enterprise reps should develop, tune into our on-demand webinar with Lucidchart's VP of Sales Peter Chun.