How to Inspect the Big Deals to Make Q1


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HowToInspectTheBigDealsYour quarter and year are made or missed based on those few big deals. You can close everything, but miss a few big deals and miss the number. How are you inspecting big deals in order to make the Q1 number? If you lump them together with every other deal, you’re making a mistake.

Some sales leaders are guilty of “happy ears.”  Even you have been guilty in the past of hearing what you want to hear.  Let’s discuss how you can reduce your risk and get realistic. Missing the number based on a poor deal inspection process is avoidable.

Big deals are the ultimate in team selling. Every business unit in the company must understand the big deals. A Big Deal Review Team should be established and a meeting cadence implemented. Let’s start with the required inspection tools.

Deal Inspection Tools:

  1. Custom Sales Process mapped to the client’s buying process with client-driven exit criteria.
  2. Buyer personas for both the decision makers and solution users.
  3. Buyer process maps (BPM) that include both the micro and macro questions your buyers are asking themselves throughout the complete buying process.

Key questions to be answered:

  • Where are we in the buying process?
  • Show me that the client-driven exit criteria were met.
  • Prove to me each member of the buying decision team has exited each phase.
    • Often during the sales process, one or two of the buying decision team (BDT) falls back in the buying process and the rep doesn’t go back and get them.
  • What is the compelling event that requires them to make a decision?
  • What is the need that our solution fulfills?
  • What type of pain exists if they do nothing?
  • What other projects are we competing with for the available dollars?
  • Do the members of the BDT have authority to spend the amount in the proposal?
  • Does the BDT need board approval? If yes, how often do they meet?

Deal Inspection Review:

Failure to address all or most of the inspection criteria below is putting your big deal at risk. Review each of the big deal criteria below. If the team has not addressed each item, create the action plan to resolve the gap.

  • Based on your average sales cycle length, should this deal be closing in Q1?  This means it’s not the same big deal that gets forecasted and pushed every quarter. We’ve all been burned by that one.
  • Your team has been introduced into the account, and has established a relationship with them.  You personally have been engaged throughout the sales process. You and your team regularly speak to the client.
  • The client has confirmed the budget for the project with you.
  • The client has discussed with you the priority of this project vs. other company projects being considered.
  • You have confirmed your team is speaking with the decision maker and his/her buying decision team.  
  • You understand your customer’s decision making style – authoritarian, consensus, consultative, etc.
  • Your team is aligned top to bottom in the organization (diamond alignment vs. bow tie approach).
    • Professional services or the implementation team have been introduced to the account and they are comfortable with your delivery experience & plan.
  • There is a clear need for the solution you provide, not a nice to have.
  • The timeline to implement the solution supports a Q1 closure. A compelling event exists to support the closure date.
  • You have completed a competitive threat analysis and understand the strengths and weaknesses of your solution vs. your competitors.
  • You have completed a social proximity analysis and understand the strengths, gaps and gulfs of your relationship and your competitors.
  • You have aligned the sales enablement content from the start of the sales process to the current stage.  You are continuing to nurture the entire client team.
  • Based on the BPM and each of the personas on the buying decision team, you have answered the macro & micro questions within each phase.
  • You understand the time to sign.  You’ve backed up from there to determine if it’s realistic to sign in Q1.


If you and your entire executive team are not involved in the big deals, you should be. These are the deals that make or break the number for the quarter and year. What could be more important?

Review the deal inspection tools and confirm they’re in place and being leveraged. Ask the key questions to determine the gaps/gulfs within each big deal. Review the critical deal inspection criteria to determine the current risk level.

If you’re interested in reviewing a Big Deal 1:1 or if you have any questions, connect with me via a LinkedIn Inmail.    

Republished with author's permission from original post.

John Staples
John is an industry thought leader with more than 25 years of business experience, including B-to-B field sales, sales management, and sales operations. John has delivered results for companies such as: ConocoPhillips, Ryder, Tekelec, Telcordia Technologies, United Site Services, Sparta Systems and others.


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