The latest and greatest evolution in the world of sales tools just might be the mutual action plan (MAP).This is a strategic collaborative planning tool that sees sellers and buyers come together to work towards closing the deal. This document simplifies and accelerates B2B sales by aligning the steps, stages, and milestones in your sales cycle with those in the customer’s buying journey.

Customer Success

How to create effective Mutual Action Plans

The latest and greatest evolution in the world of sales tools just might be the mutual action plan (MAP).

This is a strategic collaborative planning tool that sees sellers and buyers come together to work towards closing the deal.

There’s been plenty of hand-wringing and thought-piece writing over the past few years. But we’re finally at the point where buyers are very open to trying new solutions. HBR notes that traditional commercial sales can now be considered obsolete.

Organisations are actively trying new ways to meet the challenges of a complex, multi-stakeholder, B2B sale. One of their primary focuses is unifying the buying process.

That’s where a mutual action plan comes in.

You may have heard of these under the name mutual success plan, go-live plan, joint engagement plan, or joint execution plan.

This document simplifies and accelerates B2B sales by aligning the steps, stages, and milestones in your sales cycle with those in the customer’s buying journey.

9 tips for creating and using mutual action plans

1.      Keep it mutual

A mutual action plan is far more than a shared schedule. And you aren’t creating an agenda of tasks or milestones you want the buyer to tick off.

The buyer’s side has to get involved from the very beginning. Try to bring them on board with it as soon as you’re ready to create the document.

You can’t turn over a pre-written schedule and expect them to have a sense of commitment to it.

2.      Focus on the results

Write the mutual action plan in terms of the results and outcomes the customer will experience. It should be positive and rewards-oriented.

There’s a lot for both sides to get done in any deal – tasks and objectives to complete, milestones to reach, approvals and reviews to get through, etc.

That can get overwhelming. One of your MAP’s core goals is to reduce feelings of overwhelm and fatigue and help to maintain momentum. 

This is why you should frame the document around the core benefits they’ll experience as a result of making it through the sale. It transforms the plan from a collaborated project agenda into an actionable customer success document.

3.      Plan from the launch date

It’s all about the launch. This date is what your mutual action plan should be developed around. Schedule out the MAP activities based on how long it will take to get to the launch and include that information in the document.

The action plan should detail the time estimations and deadlines for every task, objective, milestone, or other requirements.

This will keep the plan goal-oriented, action-driven, and focused on the end result. The customer should get the sense that it’s pulling them towards the desired outcome.

4.      Tie the mutual action plan to the buyer’s schedule

Mutual action plans should be based on and linked to things or events that are critical to your buyer – ones that they already prioritize and consider to be important.

The onboarding, launch, and value experience (we’ll get to this) are the most critical dates for you to tie to the buyer’s other initiatives and events. Find out what else they have going on. What are their drives, initiatives, and KPIs? What does the leadership care about and what are they working towards?

5.      A mutual action plan is a living document

We already recommended scheduling everything out with estimated timelines and deadlines included. However, that doesn’t mean it’s set in stone. This action plan has to stay fluid so it can adjust to your sales journey.

Your MAP has to be kept current and up to date at all times. It’s going to be filled out throughout the mutual sales journey.

This means it has to be shared with and accessible to all involved stakeholders. It should be easy for them to make edits, updates, and corrections whenever they need to.

6.      Focus on roles before individuals

Mutual action plans are used in deals that involve multiple stakeholders, decision-makers, and influencers. Some buying decisions involve individuals who only have a tangential connection.

You probably won’t know who those people are at the beginning of the sales cycle. That doesn’t mean you should delay creating the plan or leave them off the document.

The best way to get around this is to focus on the roles that will be involved – rather than any specific individuals. This strategy will help you fill in the initial draft and get things rolling.

You will end up with a clear picture of the customer’s organisational hierarchy and better sales insight. 

7.      Distribute the plan and track your progress

Mutual action plans are meant to be shared with as many people as necessary. Anyone involved in sales or buying should have access to it – whether they’re a major stakeholder or not.

This keeps everyone on board and working together smoothly.

8.      Show them what it costs to fail

There are always consequences for failing to meet deadlines or not moving forwards in time. It can mean continued delays, rescheduling stakeholder tasks, missing a launch, pushing back onboarding, etc.

Your action plan is the perfect place to show everyone how far off track things are getting, who is responsible, and what the consequences are.

It should at least show the objectives that were missed, the stakeholders responsible, and the expected delay in terms of days.

This helps stakeholders keep track of how well things are going and incentivises them to meet their obligations.

9. End with a value experience

Your mutual action plan should close things out with an experience of the value they get – or their customer success outcome.

That’s what you’re ultimately leading the buyer towards. Use your MAP to continually remind them of this.

Pick an estimated date for when the buyer should experience a return on their investment. When will your product first give them an actual pay out? What defines customer success and when will they have their first real taste of this?

This date comes after the deal is done and the onboarding process is complete. Your sales team may not have much to do with it, but it’s still important to direct the final focus onto the customer’s success.

Create, send, and manage your mutual action plans with trumpet

Think selling is stressful these days? Try being a B2B buyer who has to work through masses of information, coordinate with several buying council members, find out what meets their requirements, and get things done within a limited timeframe.

It’s bad out there for them. Your buyers are stressed out and ready to welcome your help in getting through the sales process.

The easier you can make things for them, the better your chances of successfully winning the deal and achieving customer success.

You can create, send, and manage mutual action plans with trumpet. trumpet’s a new sales software for sending smart, personalised, and trackable microsite Pods.

It’s a high-level tool for handling multiple stakeholder sales deals with efficiency, clarity, and ease.

Sign up for trumpet today and experience it for yourself.

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