How B2B Sales Meetings predict Sales Pipeline and Revenue
Updated: Sep 13, 2020
In B2B Sales, meetings with potential buyers or influencers are the most important part of opening up a new sales pipeline, creating sales opportunities and at the end closing the open deals. If you and your company are struggling with setting up sales meetings and converting meetings into an effective and predictable sales pipeline, you should read this blog post. This blog post is for sales leaders who oversee meeting and pipeline generation as well as for individual contributors who want to convert meetings easier, faster and more predictable into new sales opportunities, or qualify them out as fast as possible to spend time on the right activities.
In this blog post, we’ll explain for CROs, Sales VPs, Sales Directors and Sales Managers why it is important to
monitor and measure meeting generation, pipeline generation and the relationship between sales meetings and sales pipeline
not only trust on your pipeline weighted forecast and rather take the quantity and quality of sales meetings also into your consideration
analyse and define good and bad sales meetings
ow you can determine sales pipeline creation and revenue creation based on meetings which already happened and meetings which are scheduled in the future
What are sales meetings, why are they important and why you need the right quantity and quality of them?
Every meeting with a potential buyer or a potential influencer during the sales process is a sales meeting. In B2B solutions purchases, you have to meet at least 7 people during the buying process to make a sale. This has climbed from 5.4 people to over 7 people in the last three years. These 7 different stakeholders come usually from different departments, different levels within the organization, different geographies and most of them have different functions within the buying and evaluation process. Because of divergent buying groups, it is getting more difficult to agree on decision criteria to get a product or solution purchased.
In the modern B2B sales world, buyers have a broad set of different options from different vendors. So it is really important, to talk with each individual person involved in the buying process to understand how our goals can benefit their personal goals as well as the company goals. More and more people are involved in buying decisions as collaboration in the modern workplace is more important than it has ever before. Companies struggle to buy and vendors struggle to sell because not every stakeholder is involved in the right way into the buying process. And the most effective way to involve stakeholders into the selling process is with meetings. In the B2B world, this is still the most effective way to do it. Without meetings, there are no opportunities and no closed deals.
In the average B2B buying process sellers need at least 8 touches to get a sale and close the deal. Top salespeople need around 5 conversations to generate a sale and close the deal. In the average B2B sales process there are 7 people involved in the buying decision. This would mean top sellers need at least 35 touching points with various people to succeed. In complex sales and buying processes, this can be even higher. The majority of those 35 touching points will be in meetings, especially when we talk about B2B enterprise sales with total contract values or annual recurring revenues in the five- and seven-digit range.
And in every touching point or meeting, you can move deals forward faster and get more confidence if you can close the deal and how likely your potential customer is to buy from you. This helps the overall business in closing opportunities faster and making the sales funnel and the whole pipeline more predictable.
The relation between Leads, Meetings, Pipeline and Revenue
Especially in B2B SaaS sales, there is a strong correlation between the number and quality of meetings and the stage in the sales pipeline. The more meetings sellers will have with the right people, the more likely it is to move the deal through the funnel and close the deal faster and more accurately.
The following graphic shows one example of different sales pipeline stages (pre-qualification, needs analysis, technical evaluation, competitive proposal, selected, closed) and best practices in terms of # of meetings (can be real meetings, virtual meetings, calls, …), the # of new people met within the organization and the time between different meetings and the SLAs when an opportunity can move towards the next stage or has to be closed out. The following values depend heavily on the individual sales process and industries as well as deal sizes and sales cycles. Nevertheless, the following table can be used as best practice to start with.
- B2B Enterprise SaaS tech business with Tier-1, Tier-2 and Tier-3 customers
- Average deal sizes greater than $100k in Annual Recurring Revenue
- Average deal cycle around 6 months
- At least 7 people in the buying centre to make a decision
But, the number of meetings and the people your sellers meet are even relevant before an opportunity gets generated. This can be significant for all Sales Development teams. If you met someone for example already over 5 times, but you haven’t generated an opportunity from this account then there can be certain issues like the wrong person we talk to, the wrong company we talk to, not enough coverage in this account etc. So having insights into all the meetings the sales team is doing is even relevant for pipeline generation,
As important as a sales pipeline for account executives and sellers, a meeting pipeline is for sales development representatives and teams working in demand generation. If SDR teams work on leads, key metrics like the ration between leads and meetings set up are critical to check. Building up a predictable meeting pipeline is even the first step before building up a predictable sales pipeline. So if your sales pipeline is weak or gets moved out too often, go one level deeper and check what’s happening with the meetings which are set up by your sales team. Check not only quantity but also quality and meetings which lead to pipeline.
Insights into the quantity but even more important the quality of sales meetings are important for the seller as well as the sales manager. If this part is managed well, it helps the seller to oversee every meeting, keep track of meeting notes, see follow up action items and get intelligent insights when to meet people again, and also which people you should meet to move certain deals into the next stage. In addition, if sellers agree on the concept of meetings, it gives sales leaders great and deeper insights into the current situation of an opportunity than anything else.
We at Kickscale think that meetings are the core metric to connect all departments involved in the go-to-market approach, especially sales, marketing and solution teams. For sellers, meetings, including virtual meetings, should be handled as best and efficient as possible, and sales leaders should have as many insights as possible, not only into the number of meetings but also the quality of meetings.
Good management of meetings can help the seller to have an overview which people we should meet again, if we should meet new people within an organization because we want to gain more insights or simply to see how much people we have to meet in average to close deals. This can significantly help to build new sales opportunities and move existing ones forward faster. On the other side, adding the quantity and quality as a core metric into the whole marketing and sales funnel can help to figure out where deals really are and who’s still needed to meet to get a deal closed.
Happy meeting and Happy selling!
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