At the start of each month, the InsightSquared sales team sits down to talk about last month’s lost or pushed deals. This Film Review session is a vital part of the sales coaching process and offers a chance for each rep to share their sales experiences – and what may have failed. I went behind the scenes to report on what actually goes on during these sessions – a fly on the wall listening while the entire team dug into why they lost deals this month.

For our team, it’s all about identifying BANTC – Budget, Authority, Need, Timing and Competition.  In this session, many of the deals lost revolved around a failure of timing. After talking and figuring out what went wrong, the sales manager offered a number of insightful ideas to inspire the reps and help them close more deals next month.

Here’s an exclusive look into an InsightSquared sales team film review session, including valuable sales advice for any rep out there.

The sales manager asked: 
 What happened to that deal? 

The first rep said there was a red flag on his deal from the start. The opportunity was in the pipeline for a third time, and the last two times the rep had spoken directly with the CEO. This time around, he was handed off to a project coordinator with approval from the CEO – and that’s where things went wrong. The contact kept saying they were ready to sign if they could get a discount, so the rep worked hard to get a discount.

After getting the discount approved by the Sales VP, all the account needed to do was sign the deal before the offer expired on a Sunday. The rep waited to hear from the company all day long Saturday, but they went dark. The discount expired, and the deal wasn’t signed. The rep said he realizes now that he should have just looped in the CEO to make sure everyone was on the same page. He didn’t know if the CEO even knew that the deal expired or understood the details. Unfortunately, now the rep is back to square one and wasted his weekend.

The lesson: 
Don’t feel bad about contacting the decision-maker directly.

Another rep had an opportunity that seemed straightforward and easy at first, but then it wasn’t. The customer tried a demo of the product, loved it and found it also made financial sense for the company. They were ready to make a deal and so the rep sent the contract over to the CFO a week before the end of the month. Unfortunately, he hadn’t spoken to the CFO at all during the process. His contact said it should take about two days to get the signature back, but more than a week later, the deal still hadn’t been signed.

It turns out, the CFO is usually incredibly busy at the end of the month, sending out contracts that took precedence over the deal. Even though the rep emailed him a few times, the deal just wasn’t a priority. The rep said he realizes now that he should have asked to set up a call with the CFO, to make sure he was on board with the deal and understood it fully. He didn’t ask what he had to do to get him to sign sooner.

The lesson: 
Don’t just wait for a signature – be proactive.

Another rep closed the deal, but missed the deadline for the end of the month. The contract should have been wrapped up the week before, but no one at the company responded to emails or phone calls. The rep found out later the CFO had taken a trip out of the country, and was not available to sign any documents at all – leading to the standstill.

The rep admitted he had happy ears on the deal because he had overcome legal problems and a few other hurdles. He assumed the deal was done, but he forgot to learn the entire buying process for the prospect. The rep wasn’t aware of who needed to sign the contract until just days before the first of the month. Unfortunately, the CFO just wasn’t available when the time came to close the deal. The rep worked with his sales manager to craft an email to push the CFO to sign the document – and it worked. Unfortunately, he signed a day too late to make the rep’s quota.

The lesson: 
Know the buying process backwards and forwards. 


The sales manager emphasized that the key to closing a deal is identifying the buying process of each prospective customer, knowing the blockers that can stop the deal and identifying the decision-maker who has veto power to kill the deal at the last minute. The film review is a success if the sales reps take these lessons and apply it to their upcoming sales calls. The reps will be more aware of all of these pitfalls and turn next month’s sales losses into wins.

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