How MAPs Help Sales Reps Make More Money
Using a MAP can increase close rates, accelerate the sales cycle, and improve forecasting.
What if you could accurately predict the close date of a deal well in advance?
Or help your sales reps disqualify bad deals so they can focus on high-quality leads?
Or even accelerate the sales cycle by getting every stakeholder on the buyer’s side to take the necessary actions at the right time?
Well, these are all possible when you create a mutual action plan (MAP).
What’s a Mutual Action Plan (MAP)?
You need to start with a good template. The idea here is you’ve done this before, so take the steps that you’ve seen in your typical sales cycle, and present them as a starting point — with the key proviso that each deal is unique and this template is a starting point only.
Also known as mutual success plan, mutually agreed action plan, go-live plan, joint execution plan, or close plan, a MAP 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 and when the actions need to be taken to make the deal happen.
A MAP encourages a collaborative effort between the sales team and prospects by combining input from both parties. It literally maps out all the milestones so both parties can stay on track to successfully implement the product or service within the buyers’ organization.
How a MAP Increases Sales
A well-orchestrated MAP 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. It’s 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, Global Sales Enablement Manager, RingCentral.
Here’s why you should use a MAP:
Higher Close Rates
A MAP helps identify the prospect’s internal process and stakeholders early on so you 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 better focus their resources.
By putting control of the sales process into the hands of the seller, you can minimize the chances that the deal will stumble into an unforeseen hurdle at the 11th hour and then fall through or get into the hands of a competitor.
The process of creating a MAP helps you cultivate trust, build credibility, and reinforce your value proposition, making buyers more likely to go all-in rather than hedging their bets with a lower-cost pilot. As such, a MAP can help increase your all-commodity volume (ACV).
Faster Sales Cycle
A MAP minimizes delays by reducing the chances of the sales process stalling, due to poor communication or mismatched expectations.
It 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. You 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.”
– Adam Heher, Director of Sales, Cloudability.
In addition, a MAP gives you more insights to accurately project close dates. This enables your sales team to focus on deals that can close within the quarter and 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 will blindside the entire organization and impact the bottom line.
A MAP allows you to gauge the status of all mutually agreed milestones leading up to a sale, making it much easier to accurately forecast whether (and when) a deal will be closed.
Meanwhile, a MAP provides the 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 MAP
With an average of 7 stakeholders involved in a typical B2B purchasing decision, a MAP provides much-needed transparency and common ground so sales reps can cultivate trust with the buyers — thus reducing chances of the deal being dropped after your team has invested time and resources into the sale process.
A MAP also helps decision-makers navigate the purchasing process and reduce friction along the sales cycle to increase sales velocity while delivering a better customer experience that will boost conversion rates.
“No buyer will argue with clear expectations”
– Tana McDermott, Vice President, Inside Sales at Workiva.
Last but not least, a well-orchestrated MAP establishes a repeatable sales process so your sales team doesn’t have to reinvent the wheel every time. It clearly shows who needs to do what at each stage, reducing the amount of guesswork and actual work involved in closing a sale.