Identifying Single-Threaded Deals
At the end of every quarter in any B2B sales organization, there are deals that are forecast to close, but somehow slip beyond the end of the quarter and don’t close. Very often, as the post-mortem is done, it becomes clear that these deals were single-threaded: there was a strong relationship with one person, but that person did not have the ability to get the deal done.
This dynamic is so common, that identifying single-threaded deals is a major way to eliminate (or at least identify) risk in the sales pipeline. Buying, in almost all organizations, has become a group effort, either explicitly, or implicitly. When a buyer fails to bring in other team members, he or she is either not serious about the purchase, or fails to understand his or her own organization.
What is Single-Threaded?
The definition of single-threaded seems intuitive, but on closer inspection, it warrants a bit of discussion. Finding all deals in a pipeline that only have one contact would be an over-simplified, and incorrect approach. Rather, we need to look for deals that are about to close, where there is a single relationship that is strong, but no other relationships above a certain strength.
Core to this is an understanding of relationship strength. It’s not enough to look at contacts at an account as it’s not enough to have a buyer’s contact information, a sales person needs to have built a relationship with them through interactions throughout the sales process.
Similarly, understanding the sales funnel is important as most deals start with only one relationship. In the early stages, this is expected and not worrisome. It’s only when deals move into the later stages of negotiation and contracts, and they are expected to close, that having only one relationship is problematic.
Likewise, it’s only in deal cycles that require multiple buyers where this is problematic. Smaller, transactional deals will often successfully close when single-threaded.
CRM and the Data Challenge
With CRM as the source of truth for which deals are at which stage, the challenge of identifying which deals in a sales pipeline are single threaded quickly becomes a CRM data challenge. With 74% of contacts that your sales team interacting with not being created in CRM, the chance of flagging a deal as single threaded when it is not, is quite high.
The first step in identifying single-threaded deals then is to use an intelligent contact capture platform like Nudge to ensure that 100% of the contacts your team are interacting with are correctly created in Salesforce or whatever CRM you are using.
The second step is then the measurement of relationship strength. Having contacts at an account is helpful, but it’s a strong relationship that matters. Relationship intelligence platforms like Nudge calculate a relationship strength for each relationship that reflects the full history of communication and grows and decays over time. This value needs to be updated in CRM in real time so that each deal has an accurate picture of how many relationships, and at what strength, exist.
With all contacts tracked in CRM through automatic contact capture, and all relationships measured and updated in CRM in real time through relationship intelligence, you can finally identify which deals are single-threaded. Applying a quick formula to any late stage deals to look for single relationships will immediately flag any late stage deals at risk.
Sales Leadership and Single-Threaded Deals
With single-threaded deals identified, sales leadership is able to do two things. First, sales forecasts can be adjusted to account for the increased risk implied by any deal being single-threaded.
More importantly though, sales leadership can work with the sales reps to strategize on how to make the account multi-threaded. Either through executive connections, introductions, or strategizing on outreach approaches, high-risk single-threaded accounts can be saved once they are identified.