what a year to be in tech

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2023 – what a year to be in tech / building a startup! 

All the $$$ almost disappeared at SVB, layoffs continued to roll, more interest rate hikes… at least deals were easier to get done, right? 😉

Can’t believe it’s already “let’s circle back in the new year” aka late December, and writing our final newsletter of ‘23. I think we all deserve a much-needed break and recharge with family and friends before kicking off what we all hope to be a less volatile ride in 2024.

Personally, even if things stay bearish in the coming year, I believe the most challenging times are behind us. If things continue, at least we’re used to it being a tougher environment to win, onboard, expand, and retain customers. 

We’re an incredibly adaptive species, and if this is the new norm, I have no doubt we’ll find a way to create success. The hardest part of the past 12+ months has been just how fast we went from the tippy-tippy-top where it was growth > common sense, to cash-is-king and productivity / financial efficiency > everything. 

Speaking of efficiency, in case you missed it, we’re closing out the year with a follow up on our CFO-Stakeholder Masterclass… hosting a highly requested CFO-Proof Business Case session on December 15.

Join Long Dinh (CFO at Ada), Brandon Binder (Enterprise Sales Leader at Webflow), Evans Killeen (Corporate VP at Own Company) and I, as we dig into how to create 10/10 Business Cases financial leaders will approve. 

Sign up here! If you can’t make it, I will be sure to share the recording 

- Ross

In this newsletter:

  • 10/10 GTM - Latest Episodes 
  • 2023 Masterclass Round-up 
  • How to create 10/10 Account Plans  

10/10 GTM’s Latest Episodes 

Have received some amazing feedback from our recent episodes. Which is no surprise given the background and experience of our guests from Endgame, 6Sense, and Hubspot.

Episodes 6-9 are equally as impressive and the insights and recommendations from Nate Vogel, John Barrows, Tom Rowe, Jamie Cosgrove, Kate Jensen and Christina Smears are straight 10/10! 

Check out the latest episodes on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you consume your podcasts! 

Episode 6 - Driving Adoption Through Data and Leadership with Nate Vogel

Nate talks about how data drives insight into adoption and why it’s crucial to train leaders first. 

Episode 7 - How to Leverage Account Planning to Consistently Win Up-Market

Episode 7 is a special masterclass edition, where Ross chats with Jamie Cosgrove, Kate Jensen, and Christina Smears about how to create 10/10 Account Plans 

Episode 8  - Mastering the Science of Sales, with John Barrows

John talks about how to master the science of sales by mapping out the buying and selling process, confirming and controlling the conversation, and leveraging a shared agenda.

Episode 9 - Driving Repeatability in the Sales Process with Tom Rowe, SVP of Sales at Chili Piper

Tom talks about how to drive repeatability in the sales process by setting a firm agenda, always demoing on the first call, and never discounting.

Our 2024 line-up of guests are top-notch. Make sure you subscribe to get alerts when a new episode drops!

2023 Masterclass Recap! 

If you are in full planning mode for 2024, or just want to hear some perspectives and recommendations from top revenue leaders, there are some fire takeaways and insights from our masterclasses this year that you will want to check out.

From Top CFO’s from Sprout Social, Vena Solutions and Figma, to Revenue Leaders from Databricks, Box, Salesforce, Challenger and Walnut - Check out my “must listen” recommendations below. 

#1 The CFO Stakeholder - How to speak their language

Finance is becoming more involved in deals as organizations shift away from growth at all costs, and focus on efficient growth. In this Masterclass session we cover: 

  • The shift in finance involvement in B2B Saas 
  • How to engage with finance during evaluation of a new product or service 
  • When to engage finance in deal cycles 
  • Conviction during the sale 

#2 Why revenue leaders are doubling down on sales methodologies 

What’s separating the winners from the losers when it comes to hitting targets in 2023? 

Getting back to sales fundamentals. Rigorous deal execution & inspection.

Leaders are investing in MEDDPICC, Challenger, and other proven sales methodologies – because nothing rivals a consistent winning framework on every opportunity. But too often, adoption is low and the investment goes to waste.In this masterclass session we cover: 

  • What a sales methodology is
  • Why sales methodologies are important
  • What effective sales methodologies have in common 
  • How to implement a sales methodology effectively 

#3 Mastering the art of getting on-site with key decision makers 

Getting on-site with key decision makers can mean the difference between closing a deal or losing it. Face-to-face interactions enable sales reps to develop human connections, uncover hidden insights, remove uncertainty in deals, and overcome hurdles. But building these relationships and earning the right to get on-site has its challenges. In this masterclass session we cover: 

  • Why getting on-site is so important
  • Tips to differentiate yourself as a seller and get on-site
  • How to prepare for your on-site
  • What makes reps great at relationship building 

#4 How to leverage Account Planning to consistently win up-market 

It’s not enough to just show up on calls, go through the motions, and expect to win deals in 2023. You need rigorous planning and deal strategy on every major account to tilt the odds in your favor… no matter how great your product or pitch might be. In this masterclass session we cover: 

  • What account planning is, and why it’s important 
  • How to create 10/10 account plans 
  • Up-leveling your account plans 

#5 Account planning & stakeholder mapping: Helping AEs and CSMs run airtight deals 

This year (2023), there are an average of 8+ stakeholders on every deal (many more if you’re in enterprise). How’s your team hitting targets with this new reality? In this masterclass we cover 5 key takeaways for running airtight deals. 

  • Getting back to sales basics 
  • Looking higher up and laterally to find authority 
  • Prioritizing stakeholders and honing in on what they care about
  • How negatives drive more deals than positives 
  • Coaching the “why” not the “what 

How to Create 10/10 Account Plans 

As we look ahead to 2024, Account Planning is top of mind for most MME revenue orgs. Account plans will look different for every team – as usual, it depends on your product, industry, sales process, customer, etc. But here are the main sections you will likely want to include:

  • Account overview – important, high-level company details
  • Executive summary – business-level objectives, goals, metrics, etc.
  • Key stakeholders – your stakeholder map with decision makers and other important stakeholders, their roles, and their individual goals and challenges
  • Solutions – how your product connects to your buyers’ goals (specific use cases)
  • Mutual action plan & timeline – shared next steps and milestones
  • Risks – potential blockers or risks to getting the deal done (and actions to avoid them)

A few more tips for creating effective account plans:

Use a dedicated workspace: Have a separate, living document or workspace for account planning that is distinct from your CRM. You’ll have more flexibility to include the information you need (and be able to share it externally with your buyers as needed).

Keep it simple: Focus on relevant information – understanding your buyers’ priorities and challenges is the number one goal. Avoid overloading your account plans with irrelevant details, as these become too hard to maintain (and you’re more likely to give up on them).

Be buyer-centric: Focus your plan around why the client should care about your product or service (how it can help solve their challenges or achieve their executive-level targets) rather than surface-level company details.

Take action: The account plan should be a strategy doc for your team. Provide concrete actions and for the team to take in order to make progress with (and ultimately win) the account.

Looking to up-level your account plans? 

Accord helps revenue teams operationalize their Sales and CS process through mutual action plans, standardized business cases, stakeholder maps, and account plans. 

When account planning in an Accord workspace you can be confident that your team is consistently following the same playbook and that the output is a plan you will continue to build on throughout the quarter/year.