Imagine knowing the closing date months in advance. Imagine your prospect telling you what their key members are and what details about their organization – and then requiring it to be vetted before you even make any offer. Take note of all the hours you can save in trying to find good offers... you might be able to avoid losing quarters... and trust you develop with your prospective customers. You could easily have predicted western envy.
Are dreams possible? Take a look.
What is a Mutual Action Plan?
A mutual action plan (MAP), also called mutual success plan or joint execution plan, is more than just a static file—it's the backbone of a successful purchase process. It has to be a living document that gives real-time visibility over the buying process and enables both parties to track progress and be on the same page. For sales leaders, a well-structured MAP is the strategic tool that ensures alignment between key stakeholders, drives accountability towards decision makers, and enables closing deals faster.
It usually includes:
- What is planned next: set a list of actions, for both the sales team and the buying team, to move the deal forward.
- When is it planned: add due dates for each action that holds responsible the related stakeholders.
- Who is responsible: make sure to assign owners for each action listed.
A mutual action plan is a shared document that sets expectations and a clear timeline for buyers and sellers. It helps buyers in the purchase decision by having clear guidance, and it enables seller teams to commit multiple stakeholders on key dates and at the end of the day accelerate their sales cycle and make deals happen.
Why should the sales team use a mutual action plan?
Every sales leader has been there: a deal that looked promising but got derailed somewhere along the way. More often than not, the derailment isn't due to the product or pricing—it's a result of misalignment. Without an effective mutual action plan, both the sales team and the client can veer off course, leading to missed opportunities and lost revenue.
Before diving deeper into the process of building a mutual action plan, let's understand why it matters and the benefits it generates for sales teams.
Provide a better experience for the buyer
The customer experience begins well before you buy anything. Typically the assessment period starts when a company decides to assess your solution and continues throughout the contract and through to the final off-boarding period.
When sales agents run an effective informational sales process, it provides a glimpse into working with the company long-term. This data shows that MAPs can be used to demonstrate value by taking care of potential buyers.
Creating a mutually agreed action plan for achieving desired outcomes is a way to eliminate clutter.
Speed up the sales cycle
Still wondering why some opportunities are pending or taking more time than expected? Your prospective customer certainly has competing priorities, without neglecting the fact that the market is probably saturated.
By setting up next steps together with prospects, sales reps are moving the buyer-seller relationship to a strategic-partner one enabling both parties to look in the same direction. It gives transparency and trust in the process, and empower sales teams to have a bigger knowledge of internal challenges and key stakeholders to involve.
MAPs avoid wasting time with disinterested prospects, speed up the sales cycle so fewer deals are slipping into the next quarter.
Help close complex deals faster
According to Gartner, the typical buying group for a complex B2B solution involves six to 10 decision makers. This multiplies quickly the time-to-decision and involves more legal compliance in the due diligence.
By aligning on the big steps to achieve prospects, expected outcomes and potential blockers throughout a joint execution plan, the sales team and the buying team are able to involve and commit the key stakeholders.
A clear action plan prevents from missing a key part of the buying process, as well as potential new stakeholders.
Improve win rates and drive revenue
Creating a mutual action plan that makes sense for the buyers enables the selling team to save time and close more deals, by engaging with the decision makers and focusing on the right actions.
A few numbers:
- 70% of revenue leaders experience an increased win rate when they use mutual action plans.
- Win rates increase on average by 13% thanks to mutual action plans.
Ensure more predictable pipeline forecasting
A successful mutual action plan provides visibility and clarity over the buying process. It helps in setting expectations with the buying committee, and rapidly identify its level of intent and engagement. MAPs is a perfect method to keep sales reps laser focus on the most important deals.
By bringing more transparency over the action plan and its key dates, this naturally enables one to have more accurate expectations towards the close date.
How to create successful mutual action plans
Operating without a MAP is akin to navigating without a compass. The risks? Misaligned objectives, wasted resources, extended sales cycles, and jeopardized deals.
Tip 1: Define Clear Objectives
Start with the end in mind. What's the mutual goal? Whether it's a software integration, a product launch, or a market expansion, both parties need to be laser-focused on a shared outcome.
Tip 2: Set Milestones
Break the sales process into tangible milestones. This isn't just about tracking progress—it's about celebrating small wins, maintaining momentum, and ensuring both parties stay aligned and engaged.
Tip 3: Assign Responsibilities
- For every milestone, pinpoint responsibility. This eliminates ambiguity, drives accountability, and ensures that every task has an owner.
Tip 4: Establish Timelines
- For each milestone, set a concrete deadline. This not only keeps the deal moving but also ensures that both parties remain committed to timely execution.
Tip 5: Monitor and Adjust
- Sales is dynamic, and even with a MAP, there will be unforeseen challenges. Regularly review and adjust the MAP in collaboration with the client. This proactive approach ensures that you're always one step ahead, ready to tackle challenges head-on.
A Mutual Action Plan is the strategic tool that separates average sales teams from top-performing ones. It's the roadmap that ensures alignment, fosters collaboration, and accelerates deal closure. As Sales and RevOps leaders, leveraging the power of a MAP is not just a best practice—it's a necessity.