The Dog that Didn’t Bark: Forecasting with DealPoint

How do you measure something that didn’t happen?

Most revenue leaders rely on a couple of different forecast models to come up with a committed number, typically blending the analytical (weighted based on stage) with gut feelings (each individual rep’s gut feeling, discounted by leader’s gut feeling of that rep’s position on the happy ears – sandbagging spectrum).

The problem is many analytical models focus on what has already happened — how many emails, how many calls, how many buyers, proposal shared — rather than what hasn’t happened. Even when the model includes data from CRM fields, it’s really hard to measure an absence.

But, like the dog that didn’t bark in the night, what’s absent can be more important than what’s in front of your face.

 

Did the buyer follow through on a promise to share schematics? Does an unchecked Buyer Verbal Approval field mean “Approval denied” or “We forgot to ask”?  Did anyone confirm Legal’s timeline?

CRM fields or a sales process PDF can capture what should be done, but because a Mutual Action Plan is explicit about what needs to be done and is updated as the deal progresses,  it’s easier to see what’s missing.

A MAP is also delivers on the buyer’s actions (or lack thereof), which are much more likely to affect a deal’s close date than anything the seller is doing.  It’s difficult to customize CRM fields to track a specific Buyer’s unique requirements, so the CRM-field approach will often miss these, where a customized MAP will track them perfectly.

Easy with DealPoint
Even better than a checklist-style plan, DealPoint’s proactive notifications and visual timeline let managers see at-risk milestones in perspective — is it very late? Is there time to get back on track? Big picture: What’s missing?

Fig 1. Plenty of time to get Milestone 2 back on track

 

 1. Deal Inspection

By looking at specific actions on specific milestones, your rep is less likely to fall back on a gut feeling. 

Open all the MAPs your rep is working on and drill into the milestones that are late or blocked. Talk with your Rep about what they’re doing to get back on track and/or hear their justification for not disqualifying the deal or pushing out the close date. Either option is better than head-in-the-sand hoping for a miracle, and your forecast will be stronger for it.

Take special note of the milestones buyers are responsible for. Buyer actions speak a lot louder than words here, especially in later stages of the deal when there’s less time to recover from delays.

Dates are a critical component
Dates and duration make the difference between a time-insensitive checklist and an actionable plan pushing data to your forecast model  Without dates, you can’t differentiate between what’s overdue and what just has happened yet.

Expected duration is important because without it, your rep can’t answer this critical question

→ For any milestone that is late, is there enough time to get back on track?

Duration also helps you assess status earlier in the deal by asking this question

→ If this milestone hasn’t started yet, are we in trouble?

 

Easy with DealPoint
If you’re using DealPoint, inspection is a lot easier.

Launch the MAP Dashboard and filter the MAPs for the Rep you’re working with. If you’re crunched for time, filter out the deals that are on track and concentrate on the At Risk or Late deals.

At Risk or Late Milestones are yellow and red respectively. Click any Milestone to jump to the detail view to have those tough conversations with the rep and add resources (aka people) to the milestone or adjust the timeline as necessary.

Fig 2. Knowing what outcomes are holding up a milestone makes decision making easy.

The DealPoint “CRM sidecar” also makes it easy to see deal status at a glance from the opportunity view.

 

Fig 3. The DealPoint CRM integration puts deal detail on the Opportunity view.

 

II CRM Reports

Once individual deals have been inspected, those results need to be rolled up into a higher level view.

Some teams capture key Go/No milestones of the MAP in their CRM. You can then run reports to highlight any deals that are in Opportunity Stage B where Milestone X is incomplete to see what’s missing at scale. This requires Reps to do double entry (in the MAP and again in the CRM) but it’s the surest way to get an accurate rollup of deals.

 

Easy with DealPoint
If you’re using DealPoint, this is all a lot easier. DealPoint’s dashboard shows a visual summary of all deals or you can filter by status.At the same time, DealPoint’s SFDC integration can push any MAP data point to any CRM field automatically, so Reps aren’t doing double entry.

 

III Buyer Engagement Ratio

A multi-threaded deal is much more likely to close as forecast compared to a deal with a single point of contact. Use your Mutual Action Plan to make sure you’ve (a) invited the right roles on the buyer and seller side and (b) they’ve accepted the invite and they’re engaging.

Easy with DealPoint
DealPoint lets you calculate a Buyer Engagement Ratio for each deal. At any point, you can see how many people have been invited vs. how many you’d expect to be invited and how many of those invitees have actually engaged with the MAP.

 

IV Don’t forget Legal

Every seller we talk with gets frustrated with legal.

One of the reasons for these delays is Legal is rarely connected to the CRM.

A Mutual Action Plan allows you to bring in Legal as an equal team player. Get them involved in the plan, get them committed to timelines, and hold them accountable, same as all the other players.

 

Easy with DealPoint
Inviting Legal to a DealPoint MAP is just two clicks away — one click for your Legal, one for the buyers. Both sides will see their role in the deal and see the turnaround expectations they’re committing to.

DealPoint’s “Me Mode” is helpful for the Seller’s Legal team, as they can see all the deals they’re needed on, and quickly triage to get the most important deals taken care of first.

 

SUMMARY: Forecasts are more accurate with MAPs

If you know the buyer’s level of commitment, and have a clear track history of meeting commitments throughout a deal’s life cycle, plus a clear expecation from reps all all they need to do (and evidence that it’s been done) you can be confident in your forecast.

A Mutual Action Plan builds these commitments into the bones of a deal. DealPoint makes it even easier to scale out across the team, and up and down your deal sizes.

Teams that use DealPoint close more deals, have a super accurate forecast and enjoy all the benefits of mutual trust & transparency between buying team and selling team.

So what do you want your next quarter to look like? Let’s talk.