How many times have you sat in a territory or account review and heard great sales strategy after great sales strategy being proposed only to find out a month or two later that none of those strategies are actually implemented? We all know brilliant strategists who, because they do not implement their strategies, do not produce results. How do you ensure that strategy will turn into appropriate action to produce the desired results?
You need tools, including apps, that enable the user to do their job easier, faster, better. Let's take the case of sales planning apps, for example those that enable a salesperson to do good territory or strategic account planning. The app itself must be easy to use. It must provide specific functionality that gives the user unique insight into their territory, accounts and enable the user to: - Create strategic plans - Gain insight into their target market - Identify sales opportunities - Prioritize their accounts and opportunities - Identify and develop important relationships - Establish competitive differentiation - Take meaningful action to implement their plan Further, it is important to have the app reside within the CRM/Sales Force Automation tool of choice, making it easier to: - Actively work the plan - Enable team participation - Coach the sales team - Share best practices - Respond to change quickly and effectively - Report on and track progress If your sales people had a tool like this, wouldn’t they do a better job and improve their results?
The best salespeople I know have a sales plan, check it regularly and update it often. In our dynamic world, this has become imperative- to respond to the changes in our industries, territories, accounts and competition. 1. Check/Update It Often Have it with you or have it easily accessible (i.e. via mobile access). Keep it up-to-date so that it reflects the changes in your selling environment. Reviewing the plan helps you see what you are missing; key players, articulating important aspects of your offering, responding to important opportunities and threats. 2. Have It in Your Sales Force Automation System This enables you to easily refer to, review and update the plan. It also makes it visible to other members of the team so they can help you achieve your objectives. 3. Review It with Management Getting management input helps you catch something you missed and keeps the plan fresh. Further, this enables you to get management support to get access to the resources needed as identified in your plan. 4. Use It in Your Quarterly Business Review Rather than either starting from scratch to prepare your quarterly business review, or starting with an out of date plan from last quarter, using your current plan saves time. Many of our clients present their quarterly business reviews out of our territory and account planning apps, saving additional time.
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%
Results are not where you need them to be. You know your approach can be improved. You decide you've got to do something about this. You search the web and discover potential solutions to your problem. You ask colleagues and post a question on your social media groups. However, there are so many sales software tools out there; it is hard to know which one will be best for you. Don't despair, there is help! This help comes from five types of sources;
- Industry analysts
- Industry and technology sites and newsletters
- Platform and tool vendor sites
- Third party reviews
- User reviews, forums and social platforms
- Connect with buyers- respond quickly, engage them via video (live, on-line, in email).
- Ensure sales and marketing align to identify, target and touch empowered buyers.
- Engage users. Make it easy for the to get full value from the tool/method.
- Identify and implement the critical few strategies and metrics that drive results.
- Integrate in one place your tools and methods that drive results (i.e. your CRM).
- Communicate across boundaries (internal functions, organizations).
- Use video more (prerecorded and live) because it brings back the person-to-person connection that is getting lost in today’s selling environment.
- Build support connections that are easy to generate (i.e. through networking, acquaintances) and expand my reach and impact- by being more active in LinkedIn, twitter… and facebook.
- Participate in and help develop the value of online communities by delivering valuable content, asking questions that illuminate and sharing my experience.
- Manage the conflicting priorities in a world that is moving at the “speed of thought.”
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?