Mutual Action Plans or MAPs have been used for a long time in sales for Enterprise level organizations. With more competition, savvy buyers, and competing projects, Mutual Action Plans can be a great tool to help close more deals and more quickly. A Mutual Action Plan is a step by step process that is laid out between a sales rep and the prospect of everything that needs to be done to get a signed contract. Here is how to get started.
The first thing you should do is develop a Sales Playbook. These are the steps that a sales rep will take in a typical sales opportunity that lead to the deal being closed as a win. Not every deal will be the same, but most have the same common needed steps to gather enough information, educate the prospect, build value, and establish contractual needs. This will be the framework of your Mutual Action Plan.
It goes without saying, but you need your customer to agree with your playbook. This is where a Mutual Action Plan builds most of its value. The best way to introduce a Mutual Action Plan is to ask questions to the prospect or customer about what their company does when they make buying decisions. This will be things like who needs to be involved in the decision, when budgeting happens, and when the best timing is.
Once you have laid out your Sales Playbook, and have asked all the necessary questions of your prospect, you can introduce your Mutual Action Plan. This means that you remove unnessary steps from your Playbook and add neccessary steps from the buying process. You then introduce this to the prospect, and start planning the dates of each step. The best way to do this is to start with the date that they would like to start using your product. Once you have established this, you can start working backwards on dates.
A Mutual Action Plan allows you to understand all of the steps in the buying process earlier in a non-threatening way. It establishes that you are a true consultant to the prospect by being considerate of their needs and providing guidance for them to reach their goals. It also creates accountability for both parties to complete their tasks when they said that they would, which keeps opportunities on track.
You can use a simple spreadsheet through Google Docs, Excel, or Oppify. All will work to create a Mutual Action Plan. If you use Oppify, which is built as a sales tool to create and share your plan with prospects, your company can create templates, and also have access to dashboards to organize your opportunities, provide management insight, and improve sales forecasting.