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October 4, 2022 5 Min Read

Win Bigger Sales With Account Planning

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Sales Meeting

New or existing. Large or small. All great sales pros know that every account is different. Each with unique priorities and needs, every account is a relationship that deserves understanding and nurturing. Gone are the days of one-size-fits-all approach. Successful sales account strategy comes down to individualization. 

To deliver the most value to each account, we need to align our solution’s benefits to each organization’s individual priorities. Want to win bigger deals faster? Recognizing differences makes all the difference. 

Here’s a three-step approach to individualized account planning: 

Step 1: Identify organizational priorities

Have your eye on a potential buyer? Before making your pitch, identify their priorities and position your solution accordingly. 

This means building a holistic view of your prospect’s organizational priorities. For large, public companies, you’ll find insight in their annual report (10-K), such as:  

  • Recent performance in terms of revenue, profitability and cash flow — and whether they’re meeting, exceeding or underperforming their goals
  • Key business initiatives, and how each will impact performance

For instance, you may find out that a firm is focused on top-line revenue growth and is expanding into emerging markets to do so — even if they expect it to decrease their profit margins.

Step 2: Map each stakeholder

The sales process can bring up many opinions. But how can you decide which matters most? 

To help navigate the decision journey, create a stakeholder map of all individuals who will be involved in the sale. Then you can score them each by influence and affinity. Here’s how scores range from high to low: 

  • Influence: signer, decisionmaker and influencer
  • Affinity: champion, fan, neutral and blocker

Each stakeholder will have their own unique priorities — which can often be at odds with those of others. For instance, given their functional priorities, marketing and IT may be conflicted over sharing data with another vendor. 

TaskHuman Coach Filip Marinica-Grando says empathy goes a long way in sales, so finding connection through an understanding of priorities will build trust with each stakeholder. 

Step 3: Align solutions to priorities, and prove value

Armed with the knowledge of both organizational and individual stakeholder priorities, you can now align the value of your solutions to each. 

Aligning the same solution to different priority sets focuses each party on your strategic value — rather than just the features and cost of your product. Considering all stakeholders, you’ll be able to prove how each can achieve their own priorities through your solution.

Take a look at the sample account plan as a template to think through your own target account base.

The result of this three-step approach? An account plan that considers all organizational and individual priorities of your prospective customer. With this depth of understanding, you’ll be able to directly demonstrate how your offering will accelerate their business — meaning you’ll sell larger deals, faster.

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