What if you could accurately predict the close date of a deal weeks in advance?
What if you could help your sales reps disqualify bad deals, so they can focus on high-quality leads?
What if you could accelerate the sales cycle by getting every stakeholder on the client’s side to take the necessary actions at the right time?
All of these revenue-driving motions are possible when you create a mutual action plan as part of your revenue operations process.
What’s a Mutual Action Plan (MAP)?
A mutual action plan, also known as a mutual success plan, mutually agreed action plan, go-live plan, a joint execution plan, or mutual close plan, is a document that helps sales teams work with prospects to find a mutually beneficial solution that will increase the chances of closing a sale.
A MAP answers two key questions:
- Who needs to do what
- When do actions need to be taken to make the deal happen?
A mutual action plan or MAP encourages a collaborative effort between the sales team and prospects by combining input from both parties. As its acronym suggests, a mutual action plan literally maps out all the milestones in a deal so both parties can stay on track to successfully implement the product or service within the buyers’ organization.
How a mutual action plan increases sales
A well-developed mutual action plan is key to making more sales, and generating more commissions for sales reps. It protects both the buyer and the seller from guesswork and wasted time. In short, a mutual action plan is an essential document for guiding a successful sales process.
It’s more about ‘How detailed do you get?,’ rather than not doing one at all.
Sarah Fricke, Senior Director, Global Sales Enablement Manager, at RingCentral
Here’s why you should use a mutual action plan:
Higher close rates
A mutual action plan helps identify the prospect’s internal process and stakeholders early on, so reps can work through roadblocks before they throw off the deal. The process also allows you to disqualify bad opportunities sooner rather than later, so that sales teams can focus their resources more effectively.
You can minimize chances that the deal will stumble into an unforeseen hurdle at the eleventh hour, either falling through or going to a competitor, by centering control of the sales process with the seller.
Creating a mutual action plan cultivates trust, builds credibility, and reinforces your value proposition, making prospective clients more likely to go all-in rather than hedging their bets with a lower-cost pilot. As such, a mutual action plan can help increase your annual contract volume.
Faster sales cycle
A mutual action plan minimizes delays by reducing the chances of the sales process stalling, due to poor communication or mismatched expectations.
A mutual action plan allows the buying team to become aware of the tasks and timeline so they’ll be more likely to take action and accelerate the deal. A rep can also show how potential slippage puts their own initiatives at risk so you can get the sales process back on track.
“Reviewing the timeline line by line with their VP immediately kicked the sales cycle into a different gear, as he realized how much there was to get done to hit his dates,” says Adam Heher, Global VP of Cloud at Apptio Cloudability.
In addition, a MAP gives you more insights to accurately project close dates, enabling your sales team to focus on deals that can close within the quarter and therefore boost your sales productivity.
More accurate forecasting and deal coaching
Nothing impacts a sales leader’s career more than poor forecasting. Announcing that you aren’t hitting your numbers at the last minute before a quarter closes impacts the entire organization.
A MAP allows you to gauge the status of all mutually agreed upon milestones leading up to a sale, making it much easier to accurately forecast whether (and when) a deal will close.
A MAP also provides key milestones for measuring buyer progress. Sales managers can spend less time on fact-gathering during deal reviews and more on coaching sales reps through potential roadblocks uncovered during the process of creating the MAP.
Deliver a better buying experience with a mutual action plan
With an average of seven stakeholders involved in a typical B2B purchasing decision, a mutual action plan provides much-needed transparency and common ground so sales reps can cultivate trust with buyers. Trust, in turn, reduces the chances of a deal dropping after your team has invested time and resources into the sale process.
A mutual action plan also helps decision-makers navigate the purchasing process and reduce friction along the sales cycle. This increases sales velocity and delivers a better customer experience that will boost conversion rates.
“No buyer will argue with clear expectations,” says Tana McDermott, Vice President of Revenue Operations at Workiva.
A well-developed mutual action plan establishes a repeatable sales process so your sales team has a basic template to work from for each new prospective client. A mutual action plan clearly shows who needs to do what at each stage, reducing the amount of guesswork and labor involved in closing a sale.