The global pandemic and resulting remote work culture has changed the way that organizations think about sales. The benefits that come with virtual selling—including cost savings and increased efficiency—are actually quite significant.
But in order to capture those benefits, you need the right sales processes. Every good salesperson knows it’s important to provide value and be empathetic to potential customers. I’m the head of sales for Monday.com, a collaboration platform that helps organizations manage tasks, projects, and teamwork. If you're asking for my time and commitment, it’s best to create a collaborative process that becomes a two-way street.
Our teams have found that establishing a mutual action plan with potential customers is an effective way to more quickly close deals in this new virtual world. You might think clients would resist mutual action plans, but most prospects are pretty excited to see one. Just like salespeople, prospects look for transparency. They want to understand expectations and what's needed from them at any given stage, as well as the timelines. Mutual action plans help drive this transparency and collaboration, as I speak about in this episode of The Forecast:
Remote selling demands an infrastructure that allows the sales cycle to run smoothly without handshakes and in-person meetings. You want to set the groundwork for a collaborative and transparent process with your prospects.
It’s this collaboration that helps drive sales. In fact, at monday, we increased our large deal commits by 40% and shortened our sales cycles by more than 15% using these tactics.
Creating a Remote Collaborative Process
A mutual action plan is an agreed-upon sequence of actions that both sides need to execute in order to finalize the deal and start a partnership. It’s a sequence of steps that is run jointly by you and the prospect. Each task has an owner and a timeline, until you get the deal closed.
Your mutual action plan should detail all the stages of the sales process. For instance, it could include:
- A technical evaluation
- Success criteria for the prospect
- Items they have requested you demonstrate in your product
- Security review
- Legal review
- All the commercial aspects
As you move through the plan, you want to engage your client’s teams as well as your internal teams. For instance, you could invite legal from both sides to share their drafts, and the internal team to ask their questions.
All of the information for this process should reside on a single platform that everyone can access. At Monday.com, we leverage our platform to power our mutual action plans, which means sharing docs and questions directly over the platform, but this could mean a simple email from either side. A byproduct of using Monday.com for this purpose is that we also demonstrate our product value.
Mutual Action Benefits Discovery and Enterprise Sales
In addition to positioning your salespeople and prospects as joint collaborators, mutual action plans have another benefit for sales: They do part of the discovery work and help drive the process faster.
Especially in deals that involve many people, it's sometimes hard to understand who your main point of contact or internal champion is for a certain area. Mutual action plans allow the prospect to allocate the different people responsible for different tasks so your sales teams don’t have to spend time asking.
This gives you visibility into the account, allowing you to build relationships on multiple levels.
Mutual action plans are especially beneficial for the complex sales processes that come with enterprise sales and their longer sales cycles and multiple stakeholders. Having a mutual action plan coordinates all the moving parts and keeps you on track so that you can get to the finish line on time.
The Future of Remote Sales
With everyone online these days, sales can go worldwide and still have that nextdoor feel. You can start your day in the morning with a prospect in Australia, at noon speak with prospects in the UK and France, and switch to a U.S. contact in the evening.
Running sales remotely is efficient and scalable, making it a really powerful way to grow your company. And buyers these days are open to a remote process. The benefits of online selling are so significant, I think the trend will continue. What’s key for maximizing the opportunity is to build an infrastructure—like the mutual action plan—that keeps complex processes on track.
Interested in more insight from revenue leaders? Check out the rest of The Forecast episodes here!