SalesHood - Sales Enablement Platform

Drive Urgency in Deals with Success Plans

  • by Elay Cohen
  • September 30, 2013

I’m all about helping salespeople and sales managers close more deals. Ask any salesperson at Salesforce.com.  My passion and focus is to help sales teams improve deal velocity while adding huge value to their customers.

There are so many tools and tips to help you and your sales teams close “win-win” business faster. From customer presentations to negotiating tactics to business cases and much more, sales people are always looking for ways to make their deals stickier.  In this blog post, I’m going to dive into how winning sales teams can energize customers to realize a shared urgency to get deals done.

What I’ve seen work very well is to co-create a “success” plan with your customers.

Before I define what a success plan is, know that every sales organization has its own name for it.  I’m sure you’ll recognize some of them.  Here are a few:

  1. Close plan
  2. Joint action plan
  3. Mutual action plan
  4. Customer project plan
  5. Activities to close

Your sales culture and your personal selling style will make it clear to you what phrase you want to use.  Some sales teams feel the phrase “close plan” is a bit presumptuous while others like its directness.

Regardless of what words you choose the key is to partner with your customer and create one together.  I was talking with a sales team today that was able to ensure one of their largest deals happened by reminding their champion of their mutual success plan they co-created weeks before.  The executive champion felt compelled to make it happen because she had ownership of the activities and the desired outcomes.

The problem I witness is sales teams assume they’re on the same page as their customer or prospect in terms priorities, timing and desired outcomes. There is no reason to assume.  Why not be open about what it will take your customers to successfully solve their stated mission critical business problems? In addition to the what, you also want to inject some reality on what resources and executive support is needed.   Make getting deals done a win-win.  Make it collaborative.  Create a shared vision of how they can realize their goals.  Your customers are looking to you for advice and help to help them achieve their business goals.

The best thing you can do is share with your customers a set of winning activities that will bring them closer to achieving their goals.   Note the word winning is included to denote the importance of win-win.  If you’re selling a technology solution, then some typical winning activities may include but are not limited to:

  1. Check References
  2. Validate project plan with business users
  3. Document baseline project metrics
  4. Confirm all IT requirements are met and/or
  5. Gain sign off from CEO

You know what it takes to deliver customer/project success and ultimately what it takes to close business.  These activities should represent a combination of your customer’s decision marking process, evaluation criteria and your sales process.  This is your customer’s buying process.

The beautiful outcome of co-creating a customer success plan is you’ll drive urgency and transparency across every sales campaign.   This tool and sales practice will become the ultimate qualifier for you.

Ask yourself what it tells you about your deal if your champion or buyer isn’t willing to invest the time to co-create a success plan?

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Here are some final tips for you to remember in your deals:

  • Share with your champion early in the sales cycle to get their buy in and participation
  • Gain agreement on the process
  • Coach your champion to share it with key decision makers and influencers
  • Identify the approval process
  • Identify the customer procurement process along with resources required

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About the Author
Elay Cohen

Elay Cohen

Elay Cohen is the author of SalesHood: How Winning Sales Managers Inspire Sales Teams to Succeed and the co-founder of SalesHood, a SaaS sales enablement platform and community for sales professionals. Elay is the former Senior Vice President of Sales Productivity at Salesforce. Recognized as the company's "2011 Top Executive", and credited for creating and executing all of Salesforce's sales productivity programs that accelerated its growth from $300M to $3B+ in revenue. The sales training and sales support innovations delivered over these years by Elay and his team to thousands of sales reps resulted in unprecedented hypergrowth. He also created the Partner Relationship Management (PRM) category.

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