Account Planning

Sales Strategy – Three Elements Of Planning

Posted On
May 1, 2024
Resource Type
Account Planning
Relationship Map

The Pain of Static Account Planning

Andy Keehn, Seth Killian, and Camela Thompson dove deep into the three core facets of planning. From territories to opportunities and accounts, everyone that is part of driving revenue in a business touches these plans.

Account Planning across the customer lifcycle

Traditional account planning systems that rely on manual, siloed spreadsheets and documents make it extremely difficult for sales teams to pivot their plans quickly. Without real-time collaboration and data integrations, sales reps using these legacy systems face numerous challenges.

First, since plans reside in scattered Excel files or SharePoint folders, there is no central source of truth. This fragmentation results in sales reps wasting time tracking down the latest versions and reconciling conflicting data. Valuable time is lost just trying to get the right information.

Second, since edits happen in isolation, teams lack visibility into who is changing what. Without a real-time feed of updates, reps end up acting on outdated plans or duplicating work. Misalignment breeds frustration across sales, marketing, and other groups.

Finally, manual systems cannot instantly process signals to guide data-driven pivots. With data siloed across systems, generating insights requires extensive data manipulation. By the time teams can analyze and agree on pivots, the moment has passed. This inability to respond quickly to new opportunities causes missed revenue.

Account Planning & The Relationship To Territory Planning

Relationship between a territory plan and account plan

Auditing Your Opportunity Plans

Audit for an opportunity plan

This diagram breaks down how you can think about different elements of a good opportunity plan. All of this information being gathered and documented will ensure a smooth hand-off to the account management and support team if they become a customer. This gets your team on the right footing to deliver wins quickly. 

The absolute must-haves in these plans:

  1. Stakeholders (who), their engagement, support, and influence. Who needs to be engaged?
  2. Challenges/needs and the ways you can differentiate. Along with quick wins
  3. Use-Cases: There are several team members who benefit from strong plans, from a more customized demo of your solution to marketing being able to impact and accelerate open deals or current customers and more. 

The Need for Real-Time Collaboration

Account plan structure

Legacy account planning systems (PowerPoints/Spreadsheets/Word Docs) silo information and limit collaboration. Sales teams often rely on static documents in folders or manual processes that make it difficult to pivot plans in real time. The information is used for a QBR… and then it isn’t touched for months, or ever again.

This results in a loss of knowledge as accounts change hands, reps leave a business, or the key stakeholders you’ve been working with move on to a new role. 

Modern account planning software solves these problems by enabling real-time collaboration from a plan inside of your CRM or Slack. Updates can be made to a plan from inside or outside the CRM as engagements exist. 

If you’ve done planning for your A & B accounts, modern tools give you the ability to see the accounts that have upside and are most likely to purchase again. Which accounts have limited stakeholder engagement and support? It makes the team proactive instead of reactive”, according to Seth.

How To Measure Success

The short and unimpressive answer to measuring the ROI of account planning? It depends. What is the main metric your business is using as a north star? Retention rates? Expansion revenue? Win rates? These are all different KPIs that matter with regard to planning.

Camela Thompson thought about it a bit differently though.

“I’m having trouble picking one because if it’s hear me out. 

So NRR is great. I think I would probably focus on LTV and CAC and then also cost of goods sold. But if I’m in sales, the sales cycle length is gonna be super critical. 

And if I can promote with the rest of the team that the average deal sizes are coming up and the sales cycle shortening by x amount, that’s gonna be really exciting to them. So it just depends on the audience I’m talking to, and I think it’s really important to remember audience audience audience.”

Account Planning Structure & Benefits

Account Planning Outline

As Seth Killian eloquently put it:

“A new sales leader coming in or a new VP coming in for 1 of your EMEA team or something like that, and they have a new methodology that they wanna bring. You’ve got a hodgepodge of people from all over the place. 

And they may not come from your industry’s background. So they may not understand what that acronym means. 

So having an account planning structure in place drives broad visibility and vertical visibility. 

So something like this takes insights that exist in people’s noggins and programmatically systematically pulls it out puts it in place and allows the expertise that resides in your go-to-market team to shine in the best light possible. Having the ability to, you know, do a do a do a quick export or sending something out to, you know, your your software president, your CRO, and your operating principal, and your CFO like that. 

It’s game-changing. And when it’s not, hey, guys. This power point’s about eight months old, so bear with me. 

We need it. No. You don’t even skip that. That is the latest version of it. 

There’s one plan for the company. The plan is the plan. 

It’s not the sales rep’s plan. It’s not just a plan to sell that one product. 

The plan is the plan for the entire company, and this is a great way to align all of those new acquisitions that may or may not have come in to get them on one page as well. Think broadly about the full breadth of solutions that your company offers”. 

Conclusion

Agile account planning enables teams to quickly pivot strategies based on changing market conditions and new opportunities. By leveraging real-time collaboration, data integrations, and flexible templates, organizations can rapidly adapt their plans while improving win rates.

The key to success is implementing software that removes friction and silos, empowering teams to constantly refine their approach. This allows sales, marketing, and customer success to stay ahead of customers’ needs and outmaneuver the competition.

To learn more about how agile account planning can transform your business, request a demo today. Unlock the power of customizable workflows, actionable insights, and frictionless teamwork to drive revenue growth.

Posted On
May 1, 2024
Resource Type
Account Planning