Leveraging Sales Process Playbooks for Better, Faster Opportunity and Pipeline Reviews

This video will provide some examples of how managers are leveraging SPI’s Sales Process Playbooks to inspect the pipeline and specific opportunities. Let’s get started.

When you first log into Sales Process Playbooks, one of the various data visuals you may want to leverage is the deal trends. This will allow you to very quickly and at a glance, not only get an understanding of pipeline results, but also of trends that are taking place within a pipeline. For example, based on the filter selected (all users using all sales processes, closing in the current year), we’re viewing how many opportunities we’ve won, how many we’ve lost, our number of open opportunities, as well as the total revenue that they’re comprised of and the average age of the opportunities within the pipeline.

In this instance, I may want to go a little bit deeper to see what’s comprising the various open opportunities that we have. I can leverage my filters to narrow down the data but then, I might want to actually see how these opportunities are distributed by sales stage. To do that, I’ll leverage what we call our funnel view. The funnel view will provide me a data visual that shows me the amount of revenue and number of opportunities within each of my sales stages. You’ll also notice that right above the funnel view, smart alerts appear.

Smart alerts are basically taking the data, analyzing it, and highlighting issues within the pipeline. As a manager, these are things that I may be concerned about that are alerting me of what could be wrong or what’s going on within my pipeline. In this case, we have two smart alerts, and they’re based on:

Basically, the analytics are telling us that we need to create more new opportunities in order to hit our future targets.

I’m getting some general areas, based on the smart alerts, of where I may need to coach my sellers. We may need to spend some more time prospecting, if we’re to hit our numbers. I have options to view current month, next month, etc., and can narrow down my view. I could certainly drill down in this data and take a little bit of a deeper dive, but this is showing me all of my opportunities for the current year, based on this specific sales playbook.

Now, I could drill into any of these stages and view the opportunities that comprise these stages and jump directly to those opportunities. But, I’m going to go another level deeper into the pipeline in order to actually identify which opportunities are causing trouble or are at risk.

To do that, I will want to leverage another data visual, which will be our pipeline data visual. The pipeline data visual will now break down my opportunities by stage, but we’ll see an individual card for each of the opportunities in my pipeline. You can also see an additional smart alert appearing.

This is what we consider an interactive smart alert, where we can actually click on it and see the risky opportunities in this example that are or could potentially prevent us, from hitting our targets. These risky opportunities – or if there’s a stalled opportunity, which will be similarly highlighted – are opportunities that may require further inspection.

Let’s click on “risky opportunities.” You’ll see one highlighted in orange within our develop stage. If we open this opportunity, we can first see some pretty obvious gaps. It was expected to close two months ago – that’s a pretty obvious gap. Something is going on here, and this may be an opportunity that is going to require some inspection and maybe some readjustment in the pipeline.

Let’s go ahead and open this specific opportunity and go one level deeper into this opportunity to see if we can identify what some of the risky areas are. As we go to this specific opportunity, we see smart alerts at the opportunity level, so we’ve navigated to that opportunity that was at risk. We see two smart alerts for this specific opportunity. These are reasons for why this opportunity was flagged and these are based on quality. We see that some critical activities in the playbook have been missed and the opportunity has gone past its close date. If we want to learn a little bit more about the activity that has taken place within the opportunity, we’re going to have to spend some time within the sales playbook.

If we drill into the sales playbook, we can expand the view here so that we can see all the details of the sales playbook. Now, we can start to identify where some of the gaps are with this specific opportunity. We can see that the seller hasn’t identified potential contacts and roles, they haven’t really prepared for a sales conversation, and they haven’t been able to confirm the business issues or existing vision with the sponsor.

I have some pretty clear ideas on how to coach this seller, but let’s take this a couple steps further. Let’s align some of our smart apps or job aides with some of the verifiable outcomes that have been completed. We see that a verifiable outcome for this opportunity has been completed – the sponsor communication email has been agreed upon. But, remember – the total is telling us that there hasn’t been any activity on this opportunity in quite some time, and we know that one of the components of a sponsor email is the negotiation to get access to power. Maybe that hasn’t happened, and maybe that’s why this opportunity is so stalled and hasn’t really moved forward.

We can inspect some of the job aides that are associated here. Now remember, qualifying stage ends with the agreement on the sponsor letter. So, let’s actually take a look at the smart app for our letter templates and look at the sponsor letter that was sent by the seller. We see two letters here that were sent, and we can easily go into either letter of these letters and inspect them. In doing so, we see the initial business development letter where some interest must have been stimulated.

But, let’s inspect this discussion summary which, based on the template type, is our sponsor email. Let’s open this copy of the email and read through the details of the email that was sent to the contact. If we go down a little bit and start reading through the details, we see some major gaps here. First of all, whether the email was agreed to or not, there’s no negotiation for access to power. So, the opportunity appears to be stalled, and it may have us question if we even had a sponsor in the first place.

If somebody isn’t willing to help us get to power, perhaps they’re not even a sponsor. We’re starting to build some areas where we may want to coach the seller and see if we either help them to move this opportunity forward, or if we might need to do some recalibration and determine if we even have a sponsor in this case.

Next, as a manager, if I don’t have all the answers yet, I may want to take another step into this opportunity and actually do a Strength of Sale check, which will allow me to review this opportunity based on the dimensions of paying power, vision, value, collaboration, and compelling reason to act (PPVVCC). Then, I can have a succinct dialogue with the seller to determine where they are in each of these different continua. For example, if the seller’s identified the potential pain, that would be a one.

If that sponsor has admitted this potential pain or missed opportunity, that would jump us up to a two. This would allow us to ask the seller some very succinct questions. In this case, they may not have identified power. Let’s assume they haven’t, which means that we remain at a zero and a potential power sponsor’s not going to be identified.

For example, let’s take a look at vision. For a one in vision, the buyer needs to share that initial solution requirement. If that’s not the case, then it would go back to a zero, and so forth and so on. This would allow a manager to get a really clear path on how to coach the seller with the specific opportunity. We can complete as many Strengths to Sale checks against an opportunity as are needed. So, let’s say that in an ideal scenario, this opportunity becomes unstuck and is able to progress forward. We may want to revisit this opportunity in another week, or couple of weeks, and complete another Strength of Sale check to see if things have moved forward, if we’ve improved in some of the areas of PPVVCC, and maybe even identify that compelling reason to act.

But, this will give us a clear path to follow and a very easy way to ensure that we’re not missing any of the big components or some of those critical levers to move this opportunity forward.

I hope this video was helpful. In summary, we were looking at our data visuals at the beginning of the demonstration. We were looking at our deal trends, looking at some high level analytics, and drilled into our pipeline view to identify the shape of our pipeline and where some of the gaps are, based on our smart alerts. Then, we let the analytics do their job and provide us with some detailed insight on the specific opportunities that were a risk via our interactive smart alerts. Then, we dug into an opportunity, inspecting it through a couple different lenses, including through the playbook, verifiable outcome completion, smart app usage, and job aides. Lastly, we did a Strength to Sale check on the opportunity to identify some of the risks.

I hope this video was helpful as an example of how managers are leveraging the power of SPI-Sales Process Playbooks.

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