Here are the top 5 reasons you need a new territory plan or strategic account plan for the New Year. Without it, you will: 1. Miss important opportunities 2. Lose sales you could have won 3. Take longer to win business opportunities 4. Be forced to sell at a lower selling price and reduced profit margin 5. Waste time and resources Why create a new plan? Things change! You need to take into account: • Changes in the economy and regulatory environment • Changes in your industry/geography/vertical market • New products/new technology • How to improve your approach • Incorporating new skills and tools Good planning enables you to maximize the results from your territory/strategic account. By adopting and implementing good planning and selling methods, one of my clients: • Increased Bookings by 43% • Boosted Margins by 10% • Improved Market Share by 53% • Increased Productivity per Salesperson by 50% • Grew Win/Loss Ratio by 131%
Here are the top 5 reasons you need a good territory/strategic account plan. Without it, you will: 1. Miss important opportunities 2. Lose sales you could have won 3. Take longer to win business opportunities 4. Unnecessarily lower your selling price and reduce your profit margins 5. Waste time and resources Good planning enables you to optimize the results from your territory/strategic account. By adopting and implementing good planning and selling methods, one of my clients: • increased Bookings by 43% • boosted Margins by 10% • improved Market Share by 53% • increased Productivity per Salesperson by 50% • grew Win/Loss Ratio by 131% Having a plan enables you to manage a great deal of complexity. This includes understanding the market, focusing on the customer problems you can solve, selecting your best solution, and managing the internal and partner resources necessary to meet your objectives. It enables you to make the best use of your time and resources by connecting strategy to key tasks. Using the plan, you make sure the tasks get implemented the time frame required to win. Through it, you give appropriate attention to the critical path – the steps that have the most impact on producing the result on time. Without a plan, it is easy to omit a key element and dramatically compromise your results. Success Story: Account Management I managed a $20M opportunity for HP, selling to another Fortune 100 company. The sale took 18 months and involved a wide range of internal resources and customer representatives. My detailed strategic account plan enabled me to: 1. Identify our competitive advantages. 2. Articulate our value proposition and clearly describe how it met their needs. 3. Make sure our sales, division people, and executive sponsor were on the same page. 4. Manage meetings between a wide range of people from the customer’s and our organization. 5. Respond effectively to competitive threats. 6. Keep the sale on track. I could never have managed the effort, kept everyone engaged and won the business without a clear plan that I updated on a regular basis. The bottom line is that you need a good plan backed with persistent effort to win a complex, competitive business opportunity. Self-Assessment
- Consider companies you regard as successful, well-managed, high-performing organizations. Can you imagine how they would have performed without a solid business plan?
- Reflect on times when you did not have a plan and/or did not work your plan. What did you miss? What were the consequences?
- Are you a skilled planner? If not, how could you improve your planning abilities?
- Think of the best planner you know. Ask them how they do territory and account planning.
“Thanks for what you did last year… now, what have you done for me lately?” Does that sound familiar? The beginning of the year means a new number to make. This is the time to reflect on the changes in your industry, geography, technology, product offering and competition. It is time for a new plan. Regardless of how good and knowledgeable you are, a good plan will enable you to make better use of your time and resources and produce better results… as long as you implement it! A successful approach to account planning includes: An insightful plan • Understand the trends • Develop your strategy • Determine high leverage:
- Customers to grow
- Target prospects that fit “best customer profile”
- Target prospects in high potential segments
- Partners to work with
There are many aspects to creating a full blown territory sales plan. However, if you have never written one, where and how to start many be confusing. While a full blown plan description is longer than a blog post, I will try and hit the highlights. Whether you use slides, spreadsheet, or a document is up to you, but the key is the data that you need to turn into information. So where do you start?
Creating a sales plan, or territory strategy, or sales strategy (you choose the name) comes quite naturally for some.For others it is a chore that is put off until it has to be done and then it gets little grudging attention. We know that having a clear plan and territory strategy makes even good sales people better. In fact, most sales people know this. So, why is it so hard for some to do this simple but critical exercise? As a Manager, we need to understand who on our team is more inclined to have this kind of focus. The reality is that few Sales People have developed this ability. Mainly this is the case because a) their profile and personality doesn't help them with things like paperwork and minutiae (that's why we are in sales) and b) it isn't taught any longer. If you want to understand how to communicate and really work and coach with your sales team, I highly recommend using a profile assessment. DISC is my personal favorite, mainly because I used it for years and it is very easy for a sales person to learn and use. Not only can you learn about yourself, but now you can use the information to learn about your prospects and customers. Finding the best way to communicate with a hard to reach prospect, may be the edge that you need in this environment. An assessment is the first step, in my opinion.