|     12 min read

How Effective Deal Management Can Improve Sales

Jenna Molby

Aug 16, 2022

Deal management system

Picture this: you’re away on vacation when a client you’ve been strategizing to close for a year, reaches out. It’s an opportunity that can’t be missed. But, they’re pressed for time and would like a few details to “get the ball rolling.”

You frantically email your reps for the details and realized you’re in different time zones, and most of them are away on vacation themselves.

Yikes. What now?

Enter deal management systems. They’ll give you an overview of your entire pipeline and all of the data you need to make decisions and close deals on the go. 

But what exactly is deal management?

What is Deal Management?

Deal management is the process of organizing and analyzing deals in your sales pipeline. A thorough deal management system tracks, maintains, prioritizes, and analyzes deals to give you an overview of the pipeline. Essentially, everything you need to get deals moving. 

Effective deal management systems are proactive. They process all aspects of a potential deal—from a customer’s interest in a product to their buying behavior—to create sales scenarios that help your reps close more deals. 

A big part of a successful sale is data-based storytelling, and deal management platforms dig up the data for stories. It is then stored in one, universally accessible dashboard. You can use it to automate workflows, access customer history, and improve forecasting and analytics. 

But what are the exact benefits of a deal management system?

The Benefits of Deal Management 

While the success of any venture depends heavily on preparation and procedures, this statement is especially true for sales. Deal management software automates pre-deal efforts and gives reps information they need to close. 

Here are 7 things deal management systems do for you:

1. Manage deals on the go

You no longer need to sit down with individual sales reports and figure out patterns. Deal management tools do this for you. You can have a dashboard of your entire team’s pipelines on your mobile phone—to monitor deals on the go. 

This is especially useful for fully remote teams since it saves hours in communication time. Your reps don’t need to send you emails about updates to each deal. You can just review the dashboard and flag deal stages and reps that need your attention.

2. Win more with probability reports

Deal management systems analyze deals for the probability of a win. A deal in the beginning stage might have a win probability of 5%, whereas a deal in the contract negotiation phase may have a win probability of 90%. 

Probability reports give you a breakdown of which deals are likely to close this month, quarter, or year. With a reliable overview of the resources needed to close existing deals, your reps can focus on further cold outreach or inbound leads. 

The uncertainty around the sales pipeline is reduced with probability reports. 

3. Switch between multiple pipelines effortlessly

Whether you have multiple reps to manage or multiple products to sell, deal management software gives you visibility into each pipeline. You don’t have to manually create different folders for different deals or reps, you can switch between pipeline tabs on your deal management software.

4. Automate your follow-ups

Deal management systems trigger follow-ups since they have an overview of your deal funnel. If a certain number of days have passed since you’ve last heard from your prospect, the software sends a follow-up message or email. 

You can set controls for the stages of the deal you need follow-ups for and the duration between follow-ups. This increases the efficiency of your team and frees them from manually notifying people.

It is also helpful in regulating where deals are in the pipeline and which ones may need your attention. 

5. Define deal parameters

Not all deals are created equal. Some might have a lower deal amount but also a lower probability of churn, while others might be a high dollar amount one-time deals. Deal management software allows you to define deal parameters and analyze your deal flow accordingly. 

For example, say an important aspect of a successful sale for you is a short sales cycle. You can factor this into your deal management software, and it will automatically adjust your probability reports to reflect your preferences. 

6. Stay connected

Since you have an overview of your entire team, you can easily identify which reps need support and where they can improve. The system also makes it easy for your reps to update you on their deals by sharing notes directly within the deal management platform. 

7. In-depth deal analysis

You can use information from your deal management system to identify where deals are slowing down or falling through the cracks. From price parameters to shifting priorities, you can pinpoint exactly where the deal lifecycle needs addressing. This analytical tool will also help you coach sales reps to close more deals. 

The Seven Stages of a Deal

In an ideal world, deals would be a one-step process. Your reps would talk to a prospect and send across a contract that would come back signed. Viola! Deal closed. 

In reality, there are roughly 7 stages in the sales cycle. 

Good news: with effective deal management, you can bring your sales process very close to the 1-step process.

First, let’s look at what these stages are.

1. Process Planning Stage

Sales processes need to align with your company goals. They need to strategically account for available resources but also be flexible and iterative.

To make sure your sales team is prepared for the actual sale, you need answers to these questions:

  • What kind of deals are you targeting?
  • Who is responsible for which category of deals?
  • For complex deals, who is responsible for which stage of the deal?
  • Which existing customers do you want to upsell or cross-sell to?
  • What resources—sales software, enablement content, coaching—do your reps currently have?
  • Which parts of the deal cycle are your reps finding hard to navigate?
  • When in time have you achieved the highest win rates?

Once you have answers to these questions, you can move on to the implementation stage.

Important note: The answers to these questions are as important as the implementation itself. An unstructured sales process is like filming with an unfocused lens—your vision will be blurry, and you won’t know where to aim and who to target. 

So, get together with your sales team and identify what you want your sales process to look like. 

2. Process Implementation Stage

The sales strategy you developed in stage 1 is your roadmap to success. But it can’t live in Google Sheets and Docs. It needs to be consolidated, organized and analyzed against your resources and data. 

To do this effectively and at scale, use a deal management software like Dooly. 

To start, you need all of your customer data in one place so that reps can access it while working on deals. You can do this in your CRM tool. To further enhance your CRM’s capabilities, get a deal management plug-in. 

Second, coach your reps on how to use the platform and the protocol you intend to follow. 

For example, if your probability reports are auto-set to be delivered monthly, remind your reps to update the fields in time.

3. Pre-deal Stage

Now that you have the strategy and procedures in place, it’s time to start selling.

But wait. There are some things your reps need to know first. 

Quick questions to ask your reps at the pre-deal stage:

  • Do they have updated data on prospects? (Purchasing history, discounts offered, market segment, profits, revenue)
  • Do they have internal information on product features, product updates, and discounts available?
  • Do they have tools for prospecting, taking notes, creating reports—and ultimately, closing more deals?

If any of this information is missing, your reps will have a hard time selling. It’s essential to bring together all of these pieces for different kinds of deals and create an overview of how they’ll progress. 

4. Handover Stage

Once the sales packages with all relevant information are in place, it’s time to hand them over to the sales reps.

At this stage, it is important to identify which reps are responsible for which parts of the deal. You may have reps who are great at addressing objections. Assign them to the trickier phases of the deal, where things usually slow down or stop. You may have other reps who are great at identifying prospects and building the top of your funnel. 

If you structure sales not by stages but by kinds of deals, you can create individual pipelines for each kind of deal and monitor the input needed.

Important note: Remember to trigger tasks from one person to the next. 

For example, If a sales rep has booked a demo, it should send a notification to the sales rep responsible for conducting demos. Ideally, this notification should be accompanied by the first rep’s meeting notes on the prospect. You can use a sales management platform like Dooly to automate this entire process

If your organization is structured such that deal-negotiators and managers are different people, the handover stage is even more important. Your prospects won’t appreciate bringing a new person up to date with the details of the deal. That’s your job. Make the transition seamless by ensuring your reps know everything that needs to be done to close the deal. 

5. Deal Stage

This is when the actual sale takes place. You need all your systems aligned to give your prospect accurate data to make decisions. 

Your sales team needs to do these 3 things to close a sale convincingly:

  • Understand the customer’s problem: this may often be different from how they frame their problem. Reps need to understand the origins of the problem and the actual pain points. 
  • Look out for buying questions: this is when prospects start asking specific questions about features, pricing, integration, etc. These questions indicate that a prospect is in deep consideration mode, and the right answers will get her to buy.
  • Evaluate a prospect’s entire journey through the sales cycle and create a customized close scenario: For example, say your company sells email marketing software and a prospect repeatedly mentions a problem with customization. This comes through in their buying questions about how your software handles personalized emails. It also comes through in their initial problem statement. A customized close would emphasize how your software enhances customization in emails with A, B, and C features. 

A deal management system brings all of this together for you. The data on customer problems and questions—tallied against every step of the prospect’s journey. Your reps can use this information to close deals more deals quicker. 

But what when a deal is about to expire or needs to be renegotiated after finalization?

6. Pre-renegotiation Stage

 Deals may need to be renegotiated for a variety of factors:

  • They’re close to expiration
  • Your customer’s internal priorities changed
  • Your customer’s department took a budget cut
  • The scope of work or the number of deliverables increased

In these cases, your team needs to scope out the changes and either terminate the deal or add additional clauses to the contract. 

A deal management system ensures you are notified of renewal dates. The software’s analytical tools give you the data needed to either renew or terminate a deal. Data-driven renegotiation is always easier since it’s objective and verifiable. 

7. Post-deal Stage

If a deal doesn’t come through or a customer churns prematurely, there are still things to be done. Lessons to be learned and gaps to be identified. Some of the action items include:

  • Addressing termination clauses
  • Sending final invoices
  • Collecting feedback 

After your reps have done the procedural musts, you can archive the deal to review later. While reviewing, ask:

  • What was the first hint of friction in this deal?
  • Did the customer have to state her problems repeatedly?
  • Which gaps were your sales reps unable to bridge?
  • Did the deal not earn as much as the forecast?
  • How does this affect the quarterly or annual quotas?

Evaluating deals in the post-deal stage helps create a sales playbook optimized for your particular pain points. 

5 Ways an Effective Deal Management Can Improve Sales

Effective deal management automates a huge chunk of the sales process. But it doesn’t just send follow-ups and flag at-risk deals, it also tells you a story about what is happening in deal rooms. Let’s look at some specific benefits: 

1. Consistency

Each rep sells differently—making it difficult to ensure a consistent win rate across your team. 

Deal management ensures consistency across the board by regulating deal parameters. 

Parameters—such as discounts, decision-makers involved, and deal value—ensure reps only deal with verified leads. When leads are qualified at multiple levels, it increases win rates for every rep. 

Consistency eliminates risks and sets benchmarks for your reps and also sends a cohesive message to all your prospects and clients. 

2. Increased visibility

The higher the uncertainty in your sales process, the lower your win rate. Uncertainty takes many forms. From price objections to shifting priorities—anything can make a prospect reconsider.

In such a situation, visibility into the sales process is critical. You ideally need a solution that gives you a bird’s eye view of the deal pipeline. A deal management tool identifies which deals are likely to close soon, which ones need your attention and which ones have gone cold. 

This information can help your reps act quickly on vulnerable deals. The right sales enablement tools and content can even bring back deals from the dead. 

3. Constantly connected

Sales never sleep. The difference between a hit or miss on a sale can be a missed customer detail, the wrong case study, or even a different time zone. This is why it’s important that your sales reps have the right sales enablement content and are up to date on each deal. 

Deal management systems allow you to be connected 24/7. Your reps don’t have to physically be online to share info—all of it already resides in the system. Reps at subsequent stages of the deal can access timelines, questions, and notes before they jump into the next steps of the process. 

For example, say a prospect on the discovery call says they’re annoyed with hard-to-configure integrations. The sales rep handling the call makes a note of it. The next sales rep, who’s assigned to demos, can emphasize on seamless integration features of the tool. 

4. Zero in on what you want

Your reps may be selling well but if their process is not optimized, you won’t be able to scale. Strategizing to scale your team is as important as selling itself. It ensures that people are productive, goals are aligned and sales can be doubled. 

But it’s not easy. 

In fact, it’s extremely tricky because each prospect is picky and has different needs. And each seller operates differently. For one an optimum deal might be a single high-value product, for another, it might be multiple medium-value products.

A deal management software identifies the maximum probability of a win for any sale, and the path your reps need to reach it. You can add deal parameters—such as discounts, bulk orders, and product constraints—to increase the chances of repeated, successful deals. 

5. Always in the know

Picture this: a rep is about to close a tricky sale and needs information on how to proceed with the final steps. Luckily, last month, another rep closed a very similar deal and outlined the entire process. But in his notebook. 

Rep 1 emails Rep 2 but receives an Out of Office message saying he’ll return in a week. Rep 1’s prospect is impatient and at this stage, the rep might as well bid farewell to the sale. 

If your reps operate on a deal management system, this doesn’t have to be the case. The software creates and manages pipeline overviews to transfer information automatically. What is integral to a sale will be transferred from one rep to another and also be available to sales managers. So both you and your teams are always in the know. 

 Now that the benefits of deal management, let’s see how we can implement it. 

How to Implement Deal Management

While deal management is an exercise in efficiency, the sale itself is part art, part science. 

To improve win rates, you need to increase the measurable scientific aspect and reduce the elusive art side. 

But how exactly?

By using reliable data that personifies each deal. 

Enter Deal Vitals: a dashboard for monitoring the health of deals and flagging ones that need attention. 

There are 3 key data-driven tools here to implement deal management:

Opportunity Products

A clean pipeline is a rapidly converting pipeline. You need a clean pipeline to know what your reps are doing and present forecasts to leaders—ensuring fruitful deal management. But cleaning it up manually means updating opportunities with prospect pain points and buying behavior.

With Opportunity Products, you just need to add the right products and amount to the deals and your pipeline overview will become more streamlined.

Now you can analyze exactly what each deal needs and its probability of conversion.

deal vitals dooly

Opportunity Contacts

Managing deals without identifying stakeholders is like playing chess without chessmen—it’s no man’s land and there are no good moves. It’s important to have the right contacts in your opportunity so you can keep all stakeholders in the loop.

With Deal Vitals, reps can add as many contacts as needed to an opportunity, and each contact will receive real-time updates on the opportunity’s progress. Reps can also add internal notes to an opportunity contact, so you can keep track of any important conversations you’ve had.

deal vitals history tracking

Record Overview

You need to stay on top of all records to ensure your deal cycle flows without friction. But anyone who’s worked with Salesforce to manage deals knows it’s more an exercise in switching tabs than automating work. 
Dooly’s Record Overview allows you to find the most relevant information about each deal. Key Salesforce data, deal vitals, upcoming meetings, opportunity contacts, and meeting notes—all appear with a simple hover over the record.

deal highlights dooly

Key Takeaways and Next Steps

When done manually or in Salesforce, deal management can be exhausting. There are too many metrics to track and not enough hours in the day. Hand-written notes don’t measure up. Even project management tools are not savvy enough to fuel the ever-evolving sales cycle. 

This is why there is deal management software. 

Here are 4 deal-critical things you can do with it today to save yourself hours of admin work, and let automated deal management up your win rate:

  • Create custom pipeline views by sorting deals by dollar amounts

Value: Save hours of manual search through your CRM for high-value opportunities 

  • Eliminate deals that are unlikely to close

You can filter by low dollar amounts to flag deals that are low value and have unclear next steps. 

Value: Save time you’d waste on opportunities that were unlikely to close.

  • Identify missing decision-makers

When pressed for time, it’s best to exclude deals that don’t have decision-makers identified. Those are unlikely to close.

Filter your pipeline by ‘Economic buyer: blank’ to overview deals that lack a decision-maker.

  • Cross the Tees and Dots at the contracting stage

The last thing you’d want for your reps is a sale to fall through in the contracting stage. 

Filter your pipeline by ‘Stage: contracting’ and make sure your reps have done their due diligence 

Filter out the trash from your sales pipeline with Dooly.

Curious? See Dooly in action.

Join the thousands of top-performing AEs who use Dooly every day to stay more organized, instantly update their pipeline, and spend more time selling instead of mindless admin work. Try Dooly free, no credit card required. Or, Request a demo to speak with a Dooly product expert right now.

Jenna Molby

Jenna is a marketing and sales professional with 10 years of B2B and B2C experience working on both the agency and client side. Jenna currently works at Dooly as a Head of Revenue Operations. She is the administrator for core tools and processes for sales and marketing including Marketo, Salesforce, LeanData, Outreach, and Zoom.

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