- Anticipate needs as they evolve in the account- based on new technology and product capability, needs and their marketplace. This makes you a true business advisor vs. a vendor.
- Touch base regularly with the key people in the account. This way you can “feel their pain,” and help them produce the key business results they are responsible for.
- Understand top management’s strategic initiatives and create aligned goals. Get input and agreement from key people in the account and jointly pursue those objectives.
- Always look for opportunities to expand your presence in the account, for example upsell or cross sell products, penetrate into new business units and influence new key people as a way to improve sales results.
- Create a strategic account plan based on trends in the customer’s industry and your product/ service technology. Include your goals, strategies, target opportunities and action plan.
- Do a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) analysis. Leverage your competitive advantages. Respond to threats from competitors, new regulations, technology…
- Have a clear value proposition that describes how your solution meets their needs. You must understand their needs and the criteria upon which they will judge what meets those needs.
- Have a relationship strategy for how you will leverage each of the key people in the account. Focus on helping them achieve their business results and personal agenda.
- Identify the key members of your account team (internal and partner resources) and what they will do to help you win each target opportunity.
- Share information across your team quickly so you can identify issues and opportunities and course-correct promptly.
- Use your network to generate introductions from credible sources; enabling you to connect with people who would otherwise be unreachable.
- Track the activities of key opinion leaders, industry journals, etc. Sharing the ideas of people with real insights is the easiest way to sound smart and add value.
- Help them justify the investment via ROI analysis, testimonials, references and case studies. Although they may want to go with your product/service, they need to justify it to themselves and then to their management. Your job is to help them do this.
- Make your strategies broad enough to have a significant effect over time, yet focused enough to produce measurable results in the account.
- Make your tactical plan specific; who, what, when, how. The tactics must be clear to anyone who is implementing them.
- You must have clear metrics so you can measure how you are progressing toward your goals… and if you need to course-correct.
- Use your plan to engage the critical people needed to implement the plan, for example your management, other internal functions, partners and customer sponsors.
- When managing meetings between the customer’s and your organization, use your plan to identify your meeting goals, an agenda to meet those goals, who needs to attend and what each person will contribute… including from customer and partner organizations.
- Track progress against your goals, strategies and action plan. Fine-tune as needed. Focus on the high impact tasks and avoid getting overwhelmed by the many low impact tasks.
- Perform strategic account reviews, including win/loss analysis, identifying common errors across the team, sharing best practices and enabling learning to improve sales effectiveness.
- Have your plan readily available in your system of record, i.e. your CRM. This makes it much easier to access it, implement and fine tune.
- Conduct quarterly customer business review meetings. Review the value/results you have delivered in that quarter, half year and year. Review progress toward joint goals. Get agreement on a joint tactical plan. This results-orientation attracts attendance of higher-level management.
- Actively create and utilize success stories, case studies and testimonials to demonstrate your impact on results. Use videos - so people can sense the enthusiasm and sincerity.
- Measure your team’s use of their account plans by including it as a measure in their performance reviews.
- Encourage the use of account plans and account management by sharing success stories and best practices across the team.
Here are 25 ways having sales plans will help you predictably achieve your results.
- Increase your team's sales effectiveness and efficiency.
- Having a plan improves your probability of success.
- Maintain better visibility into your pipeline and changes in opportunity status.
- Focus on both short-term and medium-term objectives.
- Have early warning signals to course correct quickly.
- Avert unnecessary stalls in the sales process.
- Leverage the new insights and plans across the entire year.
- Address new challenges in your territories, vertical markets and industry.
- Take advantage of new opportunities.
- Take a fresh look and implement new strategies.
- Proactively create new opportunities/ change the game.
- Make sure each strategy is turned into action.
- Identify new key players in your territories and strategic accounts.
- Leverage new partners; or current partners in a new way.
- Effectively respond to new events and opportunities in strategic accounts.
- Keep your finger on the pulse of important decisions in your accounts.
- Implement new ways of adding substantial value to your customers.
- Build new skills and develop your people in important new ways.
- Recognize and fill gaps in product knowledge.
- Generate strategies to beat specific competitors.
- Use a wider range of resources to accomplish your goals.
- Create/learn new tools and methods.
- Manage time and territories more effectively.
- Create new processes that help the team be more effective and efficient.
- Coach people even more effectively using their plans.
By Marty Levy / www.martylevy.net There comes a time in many cycles when a sales opportunity stalls and doesn’t proceed to the next step in the sales funnel. Calling an opportunity “stalled” implies that after a necessary pause it will again start moving through the sales cycle to closure. When a sales opportunity “stalls” at a stage in the sales cycle someone needs to decide if this opportunity requires some action and if it is one that is still winnable. We all know it is possible “the stall” in the opportunity is not temporary. It might be an indicator of a deal that could be lost or is already dead. Important decisions need to be made by the sales team as to whether or how to pursue the stalled opportunity. Is it temporarily stalled or is it lost or dead? Who decides what the real status of this opportunity is?
As published in the Selling Power Blog (October 1, 2012) As you prepare for success in the new year, here are six common planning mistakes to avoid to ensure you achieve your goals. Those sales managers engaged in complex, value-based selling should be especially vigilant to avoid these fatal mistakes. You need a plan to win!
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.