Healthy sales pipelines and accurate forecasts are grounded in structured territory, account and opportunity planning processes. Think about your most critical accounts. Do you have an effective plan set up around your top accounts? How are you going to improve and/or expand your organization’s position within those organizations?
Evaluate Your Critical Accounts:
Your position in an account is made up of the knowledge you have surrounding your customers and the relationships you’ve built with them. These relationships are also affected by the critical landscapes (Economic, Political, and Competitive) surrounding your positioning. Can you answer the following questions about your most critical account?
- What are the key business issues facing this customer?
- Who, inside the customer’s organization, cares about these issues?
- How are these individuals aligned organizationally and politically?
- How is the competition positioned within this account?
Being able to answer these questions will help you (1) validate your success in QBRs and (2) open up further opportunities to expand that account. Ensure you’re able to answer these questions by staying aligned with your customers. Stay connected to your champion and what’s going on in their business and their day-to-day.
Know the Status of Your Closed Deals:
Did solution implementation run smoothly? Are your solutions achieving the outcomes you promised during the sales process? If you’ve focused on executing a value-based sales process, you’ve likely avoided these issues, and are in a good spot to validate your success in a QBR. If not, work with your account and post-sale teams to get ahead of the problem. Staying invested and connected to closed accounts plays a major role in your ability to ensure long-term account success and retention.
Look for Opportunities in Your High-performing Accounts:
Consider the landscape regarding your critical accounts. Look at the gaps you aren’t effectively covering. What’s changed in that account? Are there new stakeholders in that organization and gaps in your relationships as a result? Are you staying connected to your Champion on a regular basis to get insights on the internal landscape of their business, beyond what your solution touches?
When you think you’ve drained your territory or are looking for ways to hit critical sales benchmarks next quarter, these gaps are your key to opening up new opportunities. Take apart your territory. Look at potential gaps in your closed accounts. How can you expand your reach in those accounts? Who do you need access to? Once you find an opportunity you can define your plan to make your plan.
Create Your Plan to Make Your Plan:
Think about your business as if it were YOUR business. Instead of focusing solely on cracking into new opportunities, use a franchise mindset to uncover high-value sales potential within existing accounts in your territory.
At the territory level, a seller's main goal should be to maximize the value from their franchise by uncovering the whitespace in their territory, or the gaps between the solutions purchased by customers in that area and the full suite of solutions available. The most successful salespeople operate this way consistently. Here are the steps you can take to plan to make your plan:
- Link your plan to your professional, financial and personal goals.
- Commit yourself to actionable time-based pipeline activities.
- Share your plan with all of your colleagues whom you will call on to help you execute. Remember, if you don’t make your plan, they don’t make theirs. Be sure to have a clear plan that covers accountabilities.
- Be honest with yourself on the plan. Don’t just keep accounts because you have them. If you can’t cover it, give it to someone who can.
- Own it. Don’t fill out some form just to get a task done. When you write it down, that means you are committing to it.
Do Your Job: The Power of the Sales Plan
You’ve got a number to hit. Whether you’re at the top of your game or need to significantly increase your ability to achieve your quota, Force Management President John Kaplan shares ways you can go out and execute. He covers some concepts to keep in mind as you outline your sales plan to hit your number.