Oct 25, 2023

How Revenue Leaders are Optimizing Deal Reviews with Mutual Action Plans Webinar

Mark Fershteyn
CEO & Co-founder

Deal Reviews and Forecasting in Today's Environment: A Deep Dive Into Best Practices

Whether you’re forecasting revenue to your manager, the CEO, or the board, the proper expectations must be set. Teams spend hours a week diving into opportunities, trying to strategically game-plan their next steps. But in most cases, deal reviews are inefficient and don’t show the full picture. Too much time is wasted “just catching up” instead of actually moving the needle. Deal reviews shouldn't cause friction or additional work.

Recapped's CEO, Mark Fershteyn, talks to hundreds of revenue leaders every month - and they all share the same pain: Weekly Deal Reviews have taken up hours of their time, yet don't give them confidence in their forecasts.

Your key takeaways:

✅  Tactical best practices that you can use in your next deal review
✅  Learn how to conduct more efficient deal reviews
✅  Enabling your reps to follow the ideal process
✅  How to forecast with confidence

Our passionate speakers:

  1. Anis Bennaceur: CEO and Cofounder of Attention
  2. David Weiss: CRO of The Sales Collective; And David Weiss' Deal Coaching
  3. Mark Fershteyn: CEO and Cofounder of Recapped

The sales environment today looks very different than it did just 12 months ago. With limited budgets, extended sales cycles, and heightened deal complexity, sellers can no longer rely on simply throwing leads into the top of their sales funnel and hoping enough fall through to the bottom. Now more than ever, deal reviews, solid forecasting practices, and a rigorous management process is critical.

We had the pleasure of chatting with sales leaders Anis Bennaceur, David Weiss, and Mark Fershtyen on a webinar about this topic, and they offered some fantastic insights.

Leverage Methodologies for Objectivity

It's easy for reps to get myopic about their own deals. They often believe they have a solid process and think they're doing all the right things. The reality is we all have blind spots, especially when it comes to our own deals. This is where sales methodologies like MEDDIC and MEDDPICC come in handy.

By establishing standard criteria for each deal and “color coding” each component (red, yellow, green), you introduce objectivity into the process. This allows others outside the deal to pressure test assumptions and spot potential gaps the rep may have missed.

Some examples of metrics you can color code:

  • Decision process - is there alignment on the decision making team and what the process entails?
  • Economic buyer - have you identified the real budget holder who can say yes?
  • Compelling event - is there a clear trigger or impetus driving change?
  • Champion - are they truly putting their neck on the line to advocate for you?

Each of these can be coded red (unknown), yellow (partial data), or green (confidence in answers). This quickly focuses your deal reviews on where reps need the most help.

Focus on One Deal Per Call

A common mistake leaders make is trying to cram too many deals into each forecast or review call. This leads to a lack of focus and meaningful progress. Instead, have reps thoroughly prepare one priority deal. Send prep materials in advance so you’re both aligned. Then spend 30-60 focused minutes diving deep into that deal’s strategy.

This approach allows you to truly diagnose risks, brainstorm creative approaches, and establish shared ownership of next steps. You’ll walk away with clarity instead of overwhelm. Avoid the temptation to rapid-fire through superficial updates on multiple deals. Less is more when it comes to drive impactful deal reviews.

Look For Changes in Buyer Behavior

Your champion is your lifeline. If their enthusiasm or responsiveness starts to wane, it’s a massive red flag. Dig into the reasons why. Oftentimes a competitor has entered the scene, budget has evaporated, or priorities have shifted within their organization.

Some examples of changes worth investigating:

  • Taking longer than usual to respond to outreach
  • Canceling meetings
  • Becoming more guarded in sharing information
  • Pushing back on follow-up conversations

As soon as you notice unusual changes in buyer behavior, have a candid conversation to uncover what’s going on. Proactively surface and discuss the shifts rather than ignoring them.

Arm Your Champion

Make sure your primary contact has what they need to “sell” your solution within their company when you’re not there. This means having a solid business case, compelling ROI analysis, and any evidence needed to align to strategic priorities and justify the investment.

Some keys to empower your champion:

  • Quantify the potential loss if they don't make a change (dollars, time, customers etc)
  • Outline how your solution maps to their growth goals
  • Provide third-party validation and proof points
  • Share enthusiastic testimonials from other customers
  • Give analog deals from similar companies you've worked with

The better equipped your champion, the better they can stand up against skeptics and critics behind the scenes.

Get to the Economic Buyer

In today’s environment, the only real “budget” is with the economic buyer, typically the CFO. They view investments through the lens of long-term growth, not fixed departmental budgets. Your champion needs to be tested to ensure they can truly walk the halls of power and influence this core decision maker. Otherwise, they are simply a coach.

Traits of a true economic buyer:

  • Willingness to find budget for strategic initiatives
  • Focused on corporate goals beyond departmental constraints
  • Comfortable going off-cycle or making exceptions if warranted
  • Authority to redirect budgets as priorities shift

If you can’t get to the real economic buyer and align to their goals, you’ll struggle to close deals. Your champion must be able to mobilize this person when needed.

Dig Behind the Why’s

It’s not enough to simply gather information from your prospect. You need to dig deeper into the “why behind the why.” Why are they looking to make a change? Why now? Why does it need to be you? And why should they invest versus maintaining status quo? Getting data around these whys will strengthen your business case and deal strategy significantly.

Some ways to uncover the deeper why's:

  • Ask "what's changed?" to understand their catalyst for action
  • Explore what happens if they do nothing - how will it impact revenue, customers, productivity?
  • Get them to quantify the potential upside of addressing their needs
  • Discuss their desired end state and how your solution fits

Don't stop at surface level answers. Probe deeper through the underlying motives and metrics.

10:04 - Mark Fershteyn:
“12-24 months ago, deals were alive on default. We were excited, we were optimistic, we were going to close deals. That’s not the case anymore. The case today, in my opinion, everything thing that goes through the pipeline is dead until proven otherwise. The reason for that is because there’s so many roadblocks. The number of stakeholders has increased. What used to be an enterprise deal complexity and sales cycle, now we’re seeing in mid-market and even SMB in some cases. CFOs are having to sign off on 10k purchases. That’s wild. I don’t think you can have an accurate deal review unless you know what’s going on behind these Why’s and behind the MEDDICC."

11:10 - Anis Bennaceur:
“Addition to MEDDICC, the 'Why us? Why now? Why do anything?'. When you get into MEDDICC and the 3 Whys, you get closer to the SPICED Framework which has the compelling event.  'Why now' will help you understand that trigger that you can start using for outbound that would have that compelling event. 'Why us' will also help you craft your message market fit. And 'why do anything' will help you assess the cost of status quo.”

11:49 - David Weiss:
“First, 'Why change? Why now? Why us?'. For folks selling, most people start with ‘Why us’. Until someone has made a decision to make a change, ‘why you’ doesn’t matter. ‘Why change’ is first, what is happening in macroeconomics in the world that is driving future state unsustainability in your business. Then ‘Why now?’. ‘Why change’ is outside of the company, and ‘why now’ is inside of your business. What is happening inside of your business that will break down because of the macroeconomics that is happening? Then it’s ‘Why Us’ for that, if at all? And if you haven’t done it in that order, no one really cares because they don’t care why you until they decide to make a change.”

Don't Neglect the Human Element

At the end of the day, deals are still done between human beings. That means building rapport, trust, and a real connection with your champion. Deal reviews and forecasting should enhance this relationship, not strain it. Maintain humility, curiosity and avoid probing or skepticism during your one-on-ones. Make it a growth experience for the rep, not an inquisition.

Some tips for the human touch:

  • Schedule deal reviews separately from 1-on-1s
  • Express appreciation for the partnership
  • Focus on coaching and problem-solving vs. critiquing
  • Develop camaraderie through personal check-ins
  • Communicate belief in their abilities even when challenging

This will increase engagement, transparency, and collaboration from your team.

Track Buyer Engagement

Today's tools allow you to closely monitor prospect engagement across multiple channels - email opens, website visits, content downloads, and more. You can even build a simple point system to “score” engagement. This provides objective markers (or red flags) as to how hot or cold a deal really is versus trusting rep intuition alone.

Some examples of tracking buyer engagement:

  • Score profile visits and content downloads
  • Monitor email open and click through rates
  • See who is attending demos and how long they stay
  • Note frequency of scheduled follow-ups
  • Log stakeholder additions and meeting confirmations

True buyer engagement is proven through actions, not just sentiment. Tracking these tangible signals gives you an accurate predictive indicator for forecasting.

Enable Your Buyer

Providing your champion sales assets like presentations, case studies, ROI analyses, and analog deals allow them to build consensus without you. A digital “sales room” with these resources, coupled with an updated mutual action plan, ensures alignment across their organization and gives them what they need to advance the deal on their own.

Elements of an impactful “buyer enablement” toolbox:

  • Tailored ROI pitch deck
  • Custom implementation plan
  • Recorded product demos
  • Case studies from similar customers
  • Up-to-date pricing proposals
  • Executed mutual action plan
  • Access to subject matter experts

This tool kit empowers your champion to sell for you internally when you aren’t there.

To Recap

Hopefully this deeper dive on deal reviews and forecasting best practices provides helpful insights you can immediately apply. The key is having the right blend of process, methodology, and technology to drive productivity paired with the human touch, authentic collaboration, and buyer empathy. Master these strategies, and you’ll find yourself far less stressed about your sales funnel and much more in control of your forecast.

Stay tuned for an exciting collab with Recapped and David Weiss! 💙

Need assistance in creating an effective mutual action plan?

Our team at Recapped is here to help! Make an impact with your buyers and customers by seamlessly incorporating mutual action plans with your sales processes. Schedule your personal consultation today!

Or Try Recapped out for yourself:

  1. Mutual Action Plan Template
  2. Mutual Action Plan with MEDDPICC Template