How can you Write a Sales Plan to Penetrate and Grow a Strategic Account?In order to gain the insights you need to create a winning strategic account plan, you must ask the right questions. Use this checklist as a guide. Use your plan in your strategic account reviews and to manage your account team. 1. Analyze your Target Account's Business Start with what is going on in your account’s business.
- What are the key trends in their industry?
- Who are their top prospects and customers?
- What are the top issues facing their customers?
- What are the critical trends in the geography?
- What is reflected in their financial reports and news about them?
As published in Selling Power Blog, August 18, 2011 What are the critical steps in writing a successful Sales Territory Plan? You may be wondering, "Where do I start?" The key is asking the right questions to gather the insights you need to generate a winning plan. Use this checklist as a guide. 1. Analyze your Territory/Business Start with what is going on in your territory/vertical market.
- What are the key trends in your geography/ market?
- Who are your top prospects and customers?
- What are customers buying?
- Based on your conversion rates, how much business do you need in your funnel?
- What is the gap between what you need in your funnel and what you have now?
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.
So, your hard work in prospecting has paid off and you’ve landed an appointment with a big, publicly traded company. To prepare, you’ve scanned through the latest press releases and the annual report, but you want to go one level deeper to make sure you stand well ahead any competitors. Your extra effort will be well worth it. If you close this account, it could mean becoming the next sales superstar at your company! That’s why we wrote this article. By following these three non-conventional steps, you’re going to show your prospect that you’ve done your homework and you merit their business. Step 1: Study the Latest Investor Presentations Public companies are required to present to shareholders and analysts at least every quarter. Many do it more than once a quarter. These presentations are usually available to the general public for free. To access them, simply go to the company’s website and click on the Investors tab (or equivalent). Presentations to investors can be found on the “Presentations” tab (or similar). Read one or two of their latest presentations (usually in PDF format). While these presentations highlight financial information, they will also be great resources for information on strategies and goals. See an example of McKesson Corporation’s recent investor presentation. Step 2: Read the Company’s Latest Earnings Call Transcript Second, read the company’s latest one (or two) earnings call transcripts. These written transcripts can be a BIG eye-opener. That’s because during the call, CEO’s typically share their latest strategies as well as their biggest challenges and pains. This information can be like digging up gold for a savvy salesperson, so make sure you do this step. It can pay off in a huge way. Earnings call transcripts can be found for free at Seeking Alpha. Simply type the company name in the search box on the top right. As an example, here is the last earnings call transcript for McKesson's Q4 2011 Results. Step 3: Read The wikinvest Profile Lastly, you can read the company profile on wikivest. This is a gem of a website that provides you with a good snapshot of a company’s basic information, strategies and challenges – for free! Simply type the company name in the search box on the upper left. As an example, take a look at the wikinvest profile for McKesson Corp. Conclusion: These steps may take a little bit more work on your part, but it can pay off exponentially. Think about it: just one intelligent question on your part can make the difference between getting blown off and taking the opportunity to the next level. The extra digging will also put you head and shoulders above any competitor going after the same deal (who did zero or minimal research). Thanks for reading and we wish you happy hunting! This article on guerilla sales was written by Silvia Quintanilla; this month’s guest author. About Silvia Quintanilla Silvia Quintanilla is President and Chief Sales Detective of Industry Gems, a custom sales intelligence company dedicated to helping salespeople win large deals with Fortune 1000 and Global 500 companies. Learn more about us at www.industrygems.com. If you sell solutions to the Fortune 1000, Silvia invites you to sign up for our Sales Gems Triggered Events newsletter at www.industrygems.com (subscription box on top left hand corner). In each report, we highlight the best "door opening" news that can help you get your foot in the door at a big account. Copyright © 2011, Silvia Quintanilla & Industry Gems Please include this copyright notice when reprinting this article. Please link back to this site when reprinting or quoting.