Last night’s Modern Sales Professionals Toronto Salon, hosted by Lucidchart, took on the topic of account-planning. One major point of discussion was how sales leaders struggle to execute account planning in a sophisticated and effective way. But less discussed was the idea that being more data-centric in our account planning could be the solution.
Here are our top four reasons why account-planning should be data-centric.
1. Your Other Sales Strategies Are Data-Centric
You don’t want to let inbound or ABM distract you from a carefully crafted account plan. But you do need to align this activity with your account planning if you want to be effective. You can create continuity between inbound, outbound, account-based sales, and account planning with mechanisms like lead to account matching, account prioritization, a solid ownership model, and more.
2. You Need to Measure Coverage
Once you establish your account plans, you need to figure out how you will measure traction and coverage on key accounts. But once reps are off to the races with their plans, it can be hard to get a read on which of the accounts are actually being worked.
We’ve worked with several clients who, despite having highly strategic and detailed account plans in place, discover that reps are working only about 10 out of their 50 accounts. Tracking coverage allows you to monitor the accounts you’ve spent resources planning for.
3. You Need to Know What’s Actually Happening
A ton of careful thought and strategy goes into account planning—which sometimes results in plans that are more conceptual than practical. But with a mechanism for tracking activity data, it is possible to create accountability for action.
We recently worked with one client whose analysis showed that account plan activity was heavy at the beginning of an opportunity, and again at the end. In the middle, where an account plan is often most needed, there was nothing but dead air. The ability to analyze this data allowed our client to make informed changes in their account planning processes later on.
4. Tools Can Do a Lot of the Work, If You Let Them
Tools like DiscoverOrg and LinkedIn Sales Navigator make it a lot easier to do the heavy lifting that account planning requires. Where we once needed to hire new people to dig for names, contact information, scoops, and more, we now have extremely sophisticated tools to do this work for us. But the efficacy of these tools is dependent on how well you integrate their data into your sales processes.
So next time you embark on account planning, don’t leave data out of the equation. It could be the difference between success and wasted resources.