3 Reasons Every Seller Should Use Mutual Action Plans (+ 3 Mistakes to Avoid)
The buying journey doesn’t stop when the deal is signed. When adopting a land & expand sales motion, ensuring your customers will be successful in your product early is critical.
Sales needs to set the stage for getting customers to value quickly after the deal closes – which means collaborating and building strong relationships across the entire buying journey is key.
The takeaway? Every seller should be using mutual action plans for their deals!
A mutual action plan (MAP) is a shared document between the seller and the buyer, outlining how they will solve a problem together. MAPs help sales and CS teams align with buyers on business objectives, keep timelines on track, and build trust.
We dove into how MAPs help you win and expand more deals in a masterclass recently, featuring top sales and CS leaders:
- Ryan Sydor, VP of Manufacturing, Automotive and Energy Sales at Salesforce
- Jocelyn Brown, Head of CS & Sales at Hypercontext
- Daniel Cacic, Enterprise Solutions Director at Kurios
Watch the full masterclass & get the key takeaways below!
(You can also listen audio-only on our podcast!)
3 Reasons Every Seller Should Use Mutual Action Plans
1. You get to be a partner instead of a “sneaky salesperson” 😇
Buyers today don’t want to be sold to.
Once a buyer reaches a conversation with sales, they’ve typically already completed about 70% of their evaluation. There’s a wealth of information your buyer can easily research on their own, and with the rise of PLG, they might have even tried your product already.
Where they need help is understanding how your solution fits into their world long-term, how it can solve their problems, and how to reach that success.
Mutual action plans enable you to help your buyers buy and be successful in your product.
“Mutual plans help us build trust and discover buyers’ business pain points, so we can prescribe a real solution for them,” Daniel said.
MAPs help you guide your buyer through the buying process, set clear expectations, remove any discomfort, and build trust – so that “you’re now seen as a partner instead of the sneaky salesperson” as Ryan said.
2. Provide a clear path to “yes” or “no” 👍
A lot of new reps are afraid of getting a “no” or hearing bad news from prospects – and in turn, buyers sometimes feel bad about saying no. But the goal is to get to a definitive “yes” or “no” in all of your deals.
As Ryan said: “‘Yes’ is good, ‘no’ is good, ‘maybe’ kills me.”
By using a MAP to outline all of the expectations and steps involved in the evaluation process, you make it much easier for buyers to say “yes” or “no” (and avoid the dreaded “maybe”).
Even if the answer is “no,” you can learn from it to improve your process or product.
3. Set customers up for long-term success 🏆
Landing a new customer is great... but how do you ensure you keep them?
Use MAPs that don't end when the contract is signed – instead, they help your customer get to value in your product. You’re more likely to win customers who will renew and expand later (and hopefully rave about you to others!)
“The investment you make in MAPs and relationships upfront is an investment into a long future with your customers as advocates,” Jocelyn said.
Using mutual plans for both sales and CS helps loop more stakeholders into the conversation earlier. When the last step in the MAP isn’t to sign the deal, your buyers will think about people on their team who will be impacted downstream during onboarding, which means less friction and stronger relationships from the start.
“Mutual plans bring everyone together and de-risk the deal,” Jocelyn said.
MAPs also show that you’re still there as a partner and guide for your buyers after the deal closes, helping them reach the success KPIs you set together.
There’s also a psychological aspect: MAPs that go beyond the close date help buyers look past the finish line and imagine what it looks like when they sign, not if they sign.
3 Mistakes to Avoid When Using Mutual Action Plans
1. Making it all about you (the seller) 😈
There’s a difference between a close plan and a mutual action plan.
The close plan is all about you, the seller, and when you can mark the deal closed-won.
But a MAP is focused on solving your buyer’s problems and ensuring they’ll be successful in your product a year from now.
Focusing only on your timeline and targets, instead of your buyer’s, misses the point of the mutual action plan.
2. Not being flexible 🧘
No surprise here, but mutual action plans are meant to be… mutual!
When presenting a MAP to your buyer, show them your suggested steps in the buying process, then invite them to adjust based on their requirements.
“Let it be truly mutual,” Jocelyn said. “You’re giving them a starting point, but be open to their feedback. It should be flexible and look a little different with every customer.”
3. Not having the internal support you need 💪
If you’re using MAPs in all your deals and onboardings, don’t ignore the importance of a solid internal infrastructure to support your sales and CS teams.
Time kills all deals, and if your reps are missing their own deadlines on their MAPs because of a lack of internal alignment, you’re eroding trust with your buyers.
Whether it’s collaboration tools, regular meetings, or other resources, make sure your buying and onboarding process is backed up by a system that your reps can trust!