How to Identify Dead Deals in Your Pipeline

You’ve set big goals for your team. You’ve even upped the quota. Everyone is onboard but can you really make it happen? Where to start? Step one: stop wasting time on dead and dying deals. 

According to our research, on average, it takes sales reps more than three weeks to recognize — and admit — a deal is dead. That’s hours and hours of valuable time, spent sending emails, defending the deal to managers, identifying new contacts and more. It’s time that could have been spent on other opportunities. Time that is flushed down the drain. 

When you commit to ending this costly source of frustration — you commit to improving outcomes for your business this year.

This is the year to enable your sales execs, managers, and reps with the resources they need to effectively analyze the health of their pipeline in real-time. Enable yourself to know for certain which dying deals require immediate, strategic mitigation, and which should be moved out of your pipeline and forecast for good. The answers are within your grasp when you channel the power of accurate, automated data.

Seek “One Source of Truth” on Deal Health 

Every single B2B business eventually has to confront the challenge of measuring deal health.

Successful organizations seek out the holy grail — a trusted, “single source of truth” for all sales data and cross-functional activity. This collective source should not only aggregate contact details but also key activity and engagement data from every person involved in the deal cycle. It should understand what steps were taken, what steps were missed and how the data informs decisions.

In order to get there, you’ll want to remove reps from the day-to-day manual data entry process. Rep-driven reporting has been attempted for decades and is a recipe for failure. In fact, it produces just 10 percent of the available data. 

That data is gold. You don’t want to leave it behind. 

Instead, activate automated activity capture to collect data from Google, Office365, email, calendars, as well as all engagement and content tools used by sellers that are currently siloed (and therefore powerless).

Integrate Activity and Conversation Intelligence

When it comes to data, you want it all. Don’t allow data to be siloed. Instead enrich basic engagement data with authentic conversations by integrating Conversation Intelligence. This means all the call recordings, transcriptions, and keywords to ensure every customer conversation, from lead to opportunity, customer to upsell is included. 

Beware of tools that wall off data for different uses and purposes, rather than writing it back to your CRM. Walled-off data results in silos: disconnected data that cannot be processed or analyzed together. You’ll also have to deal with data conflicts that are difficult and time-consuming to resolve.

InsightSquared ensures all data is properly integrated — regardless of the tool it originated from — and factored into machine learning analysis, for accurate deal scoring and validation of rep inputs. Data is auto-written back to Salesforce or HubSpot to ensure your CRM continues to be the system of record.  

“79% of organizations [miss] their forecasts by more than 10%” Forrester Sirius Decisions, The Fundamentals of Sales Forecasting

Analyze Data and Replicate Your Winning Recipe 

Capturing the data is only step one. More important is putting it to work to spot dead and dying deals in your pipeline. 

The integrated InsightSquared Revenue Intelligence Platform, featuring machine learning, allows you to instantly see which deals are on the right trajectory, which deals need a course correction, which should be sent back to marketing for nurture — and which should be kicked to the curb. You’ll finally know what separates good deals from bad in your organization.

We take all that data you’ve collected and apply machine learning mapping engagement activity to historical wins and losses to ultimately define the profiles of winning deals for your organization (ie, your organization’s recipe for winning deals).

Once you have that recipe, you can work to replicate it  — as well as pinpoint the deals that are unlike anything you’ve ever won before. Sure they may be an outlier. Your rep can defend that. But in most cases, it means it’s time to stop wasting time and redirect that energy where it can deliver better results.

Once you have your machine learning analysis, you can review the output to understand how wins and losses behave differently within your unique sales process. Use dashboards and reporting to look for triggers such as long response times for inbound emails, lack of decision-maker engagement, quantity of deal pushes, limited number of contacts, and more. Then your team can adapt winning strategies across the customer journey, and before it’s too late. 

Putting Time Into the Deals that You Can Win

One perennial challenge is helping everyone on your sales team understand how they can make the best use of their time. 

This challenge becomes even more significant as your span of control grows. How do you make 1:1s more effective? The answer lies in Guided Selling — and the ability to give your reps their own personal feed of Actions. 

Action prompts automatically alert reps when deals venture outside the optimum track and allows them to make an adjustments before it’s too late, or close out the opportunity and focus their energy elsewhere. 

Managers can receive Actions too, alerting them to deals at risk and opportunities to coach reps when it matters most — improving deal outcomes well before it’s too late. Managers are empowered to use trusted data in their 1:1s and pipeline reviews to ground the conversation in fact — removing hunches from the equation. This allows them to coach to risk, while identifying upside. Knowing the dataset is high quality ahead of the meeting means time is no longer wasted updating the CRM or debating dead vs viable deals with the reps. Think of what you can accomplish with all that time now back in your team’s hands.

Gain Deal Insight and Beat Your Forecast Goals

Better data means a more accurate forecast — and a higher win rate. With fewer and fewer error-filled spreadsheets to contend with, and with less reliance on siloed, spotty data from your CRM, there’s more time to focus on what’s really important.

Fine-tune your deal insight. Finally, see an unfiltered, unbiased view of your pipeline. Automate and streamline forecast submission across your team. Then balance human inputs with machine learning to validate your forecast and investments. Know how to minimize risk and capture upside. Continue to run strategic plays on stalled deals, in collaboration with manager input. Watch carefully for impact and refine the forecast—continuing to monitor the machine learning confidence to close models. 

Don’t let bad deals spoil your new year. Give yourself rich, real-time visibility into the health of individual deals as well as the overall funnel. Replicate wins, remove dead deals and revive stalled ones. Meet — or better yet, exceed — your forecast goals.

Kickstart your forecasting strategy with the Forrester SiriusDecisions’ brief, The Fundamentals of Sales Forecasting.

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