3 Tips for Account Planning in Salesforce
The Myth of Account Planning
Most people relate account planning to something like a quarterly business review (QBR), where sellers and leaders will give an in-depth presentation on the state of their top accounts. It’s typically very comprehensive and requires heavy lifting on the end of the account owner (whether that be an Account Executive or Customer Success Manager). This is because account owners have a quarter’s worth of account data to consolidate and streamline, which can take days if not weeks to prepare considering how large many accounts are that people handle.
After presenting your QBR, it’s typical for many sellers to stash their QBR on their laptop and never touch it again until the next quarter rolls around. The problem is that reps present QBRs to leadership as the source of truth for each of those specific accounts, yet new information/insight isn’t being recorded daily in these massive documents. This creates data silos and ultimately forces the rep to locate and compile this data yet again at the end of the quarter.
We believe account planning (or updating valuable account information, tied to a selling strategy) should not be a quarterly activity, but a weekly or daily one. When information is better documented in the same collaborative system (in this case, your Salesforce instance), it helps everyone on the team understand what they need to do and who they need to contact. After all, sales is all about building relationships.
Account planning is a crucial part of any sales team’s success, yet it’s often overlooked or not given the attention it deserves.
Here are three tips on how you can utilize your CRM to work for you, instead of against you, when your team is targeting top accounts:
1. Keep Your Data in One Place
The first step is to ensure all of your account information is being stored in one place and that everyone on your team has access to it. We recommend using Salesforce because it’s designed to help sales teams manage their customer relationships. All stakeholders must have visibility into an account so that no one is working in silos and everyone knows what’s going on. Holding team members accountable to the tasks and responsibilities each person has been given in mutual action plans is easier (and less passive aggressive) to do in your CRM. The last thing you want is a gap in communication between the people working on an account, which can lead to lost data or opportunities. Time looking for data that should be readily available to you is time lost.
2. Develop a Standardized Process
Once you have all of your data in one place, the next step is to develop a standardized process for updating and managing it. Look back at your previous account plans; what actions were taken to successfully close this deal? What actions consumed time but ultimately didn’t help you get closer to the finish line? Each selling team is different, so it’s important to reflect on your past process and adapt for the future. This will help ensure that everyone on your team is on the same page and knows exactly what needs to be done. Having a process will also help you keep track of measured success over time, something that will legitimize to the people who keep the lights on that how you’re going to market is working.
3. Track Your Results
The final step is to track your results so that you can see what’s working and what isn’t. This data will be invaluable when it comes time to assessing your account planning success because you’ll already have a good idea of where each account stands. Salesforce provides a great way to do this with its built-in reporting features. You can also create custom reports to track which key accounts you’re growing or retaining that have account plans versus those accounts that don’t have a plan. Using the opportunity object, you can measure win rates, sales cycles, average deal sizes and more with those opportunities that have opportunity plans. Because Salesforce has such depth when it comes to reporting, measuring the ROI of your account plans and stakeholder mapping efforts will become much more feasible. Sales leaders can dive into which people are involved in deals that are won versus lost. How many “supporters” or “champions” do you need in a buying committee to win? How many touches or engagement are required to move people forward? This information becomes accessible when account planning is done inside of Salesforce.
By following these three tips, you can make sure that your account planning process is working for you instead of against you.
If you’re interested in learning how Prolifiq can expand your Salesforce account planning abilities, contact a professional here.