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Deal Success: Your Revenue Team’s Backbone

December 2, 2019
Sheena Badani

Sheena Badani

Revenue Intelligence

At Gong’s #celebrate conference, sales leaders discussed three outcomes tied to revenue intelligence: people success, deal success, and strategy success. I’ve been revealing key takeaways from their talks. Now up: ‘deal success,’ based on a panel hosted by Chris Orlob, Director of Sales at Gong and a talk by poker world champion Daniel Negreanu.

The panelists represented functions that are the ‘backbone’ of sales, including sales enablement and product marketing: Robin Norris, SVP Sales Effectiveness at Experian; Nikki Curtis, Head of Enablement at Slack; and Yuri Solomon, Head of Product Marketing at G2. The crowd also heard from World Champion Poker Player, Daniel Negreanu, on “In the Money: Strategies for Winning Deals”.

Deal success is your organization’s backbone. 

It’s based on the systems, processes, and institutional knowledge that result in five positive outcomes:

  1. Understanding deals in flight
  2. Getting a handle on at-risk deals
  3. Increasing deal size
  4. Hitting your forecast targets
  5. Collaborating company-wide to sell more effectively
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From Left to Right: 

  • Chris Orlob, Director of Sales, Gong
  • Robin Norris, SVP Sales Effectiveness, Experian
  • Nikki Curtis, Head of Enablement, Slack
  • Yoni Solomon, Head of Product Marketing at G2

Our panelists are masters at deal success, so we asked them to tell us about the systems and processes that keep their deals on track to close. Here’s the scoop from the best!

See Reality, Quickly

As Robin says, “Someone should be able to look at your opportunity and know what’s happening as opposed to giving you a call.” Revenue Intelligence (RI) software from analyzes data from sales calls and other interactions to give you insights into what’s happening during your reps’ customer conversations. With Revenue Intelligence, you can see what’s happening at any time and at scale. It gives you an accurate picture of reality, on the double. Focus your conversations on what’s next, rather than what has already happened. Here are a few more ways in which RI can help set you up for deal success.

Create Two Types of Plans

Our panelists agreed that sales enablement gets caught in a tug of war between service to the sales team (quick wins) and a broad vision of revenue generation (long-term company objectives).

The solution is developing targeted and broad enablement plans. RI helps define what works and what doesn’t by segment, geographical area, etc., so problems are solvable and the sales team can focus on its quarterly objectives.

During new messaging rollouts, for example, revenue leaders want to know ASAP whether their new messaging works and RI gives them that insight. Without it, they’d wait weeks (or months) to see if it worked – by exceeding, missing, or hitting their revenue targets. With RI on their side, they can quickly coach and adjust in flight. RI means the team hits its numbers (quick win) AND learns important lessons for future messaging rollouts (long-term planning).

Partner Up to Succeed

If you’re willing to be transparent, you can get help from your peers so you can focus more on selling. Put succinctly, partner with your peers! Bring sales enablement and product marketing into your sales forecast and pipeline meetings so they know what you’re up against. Get them to listen to recordings of relevant customer conversations, and get their feedback.  

Ban Bandaids

Enough with superficial solutions. As Nikki asked, “Is a one-pager really gonna fix it? Or is it a skill deficit, or a behavior deficit, or a knowledge deficit?” In the long run, it’s more important to understand a sales problem’s root cause than to fix it quickly. 

It’s worth uncovering, for example, that your reps handle objections by talking up product features. That’s not a winning response, so giving them another one-pager about new product features isn’t going to help them win deals. Retraining them on objection handling is the right solution. Only RI can give you that insight.

Have an internal discovery session and use RI whenever your sales team hits a wall, to diagnose trends that may be happening across teams, geographies, segments, etc.

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Daniel Negreanu, World Champion Poker Player

Get Out Your Poker Face

Deals are complex creatures. Given that, it is critical to have an accurate, fact-based view of what is actually going on across your deals. No one knows that better than Daniel Negreanu, World Champion Poker Player.  

He uses game theory optimal play (mathematical models of strategic interaction among rational decision-makers) to build relationships with opponents, avoiding extremes (pushover/jerk) that harm their connection. Just like in poker, if you know where your buyer stands, you can predict their behavior more accurately.

Figure out what to do next by reviewing past interactions using RI so you have a strategic advantage. Here’s what Daniel would ask: “Has this person ever accepted a first offer in their life? Are their first offers even reasonable? Has this person ever walked away from a deal?” If you don’t know, engage in small talk with a purpose. Learn the person’s style when they’re comfortable so you can recognize differences in behavior later on. 


Like what you’ve read? Hear directly from revenue leaders on our recently launched podcast, “Reveal: The Revenue Intelligence Podcast”. It’s available on Apple and Spotify, or wherever you listen to podcasts!

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