Partnering with prospects and guiding them through the buying journey is a new skill for many sellers, especially more junior reps.
They’re hesitant to lead customers through the sales process. But that’s just what buyers want: a prescriptive process that makes it easier for them to buy.
This article outlines 8 ways to get more value from Accord and better enable your customers to buy from you (and onboard faster). Half of the tips focus on sales and success strategy, and the other half are specifically related to using Accord (i.e. the technical stuff).
Let’s jump in!
Sales and Success Strategy
1. Use a succinct summary to align on the “why”
At the end of the day, you need to help your champion rally their team. Distilling their goals into a clear and succinct summary helps you and your champion get everyone rowing in the same direction.
- Use the Summary page in Accord to outline your buyer’s prioritized goals and challenges to ensure you’re 100% aligned, then validate this with other Stakeholders.
- You should be sharpening and improving this Summary as you get more insight and as the deal progresses.
- When you add new Stakeholders to an Accord, the Summary is a great discussion point and a chance for you to ask for their input.
2. Ace your Accord intro: Aim for an 80% or higher acceptance ratio
The average Accord acceptance rate for a customer is roughly 80% (all the customers who accepted divided by all customers you invited). But top AEs and CSMs frequently reach 100%.
If you’re not seeing an 80% acceptance ratio, that means your Accord intro could probably use some help – here are some tips.
Here’s the secret to a 100% acceptance ratio:
- When you introduce Accord on a video call (best practice), share your screen and go over your core talk-track.
- Invite your participants to Accord while you’re still screen-sharing and ask them if they received an invitation. Have them accept the invite while they’re on the call to ensure they can get in.
Boom – your customers are collaborating with you in Accord and you’ve built the muscle memory of working together.
There are many ways to frame Accord to your buyers and customers. A few phrases that we often see our customers use are:
- “This is a tool that we pay for that helps us work better together…”
- “Every company is different, but here’s the typical way we’ve seen others solve your same problem…”
- “After working with 100s of companies like yours, this is the fastest way to get ramped up.”
If you’d like to get proven talk tracks or chat with the Accord team about improving your acceptance ratio, please reach out to email@example.com.
3. Get mutual agreement on your shared plan
This last tip might sound obvious, but it’s a big turn-off when missed.
Your collaborative plan is a mutually agreed upon project, and not a list of things that you want your customer to do for you (i.e. “Please enter credit card details here.”) 🙅♀️
- Keep asking your customer what they think and what works for them: “Are there any steps that we should know about or conversations we should pro-actively have?”
- Customers want to be led and appreciate a consultative approach. They’re looking for you to lead, but need to be asked to dance first.
4. Refer to your shared plan and timeline at the start and end of each meeting
Your shared plan in Accord acts as a guardrail to keep you and your buyer counterpart moving towards an agreed upon path.
Demonstrate your commitment to the plan by referring to your Accord at the start and end of every meeting, with at least one screen share. Lead and your customer will follow.
- Refer to the Accord at the start and end of every meeting by stating, “Here’s what we last finished and here’s what’s coming up.”
- Be sure to share your screen. Most people are visual learners and seeing the Next Steps page, Timeline, etc. can make your point more powerful in a much shorter time.
The Technical Stuff
5. Link to your Accord frequently in your follow-up emails
What’s the point of having a mutually agreed upon plan if you’re not referring to it? We find that top performing AEs and CSMs consistently refer to their Accord while collaborating with buyers.
- Refer to your shared Accord in your follow-up and check-in emails by linking to a specific stage or step URL.
6. Help your buyer keep documents and links organized
Evaluating and implementing your solution is not your buyer’s job. Make it easier for them to work with you by organizing resources in one place in Accord.
- No one likes searching through 50+ email threads for attachments. Use folders and pin important items to the top of your Resource page.
- All Resources have a “share” URL. Rather than uploading resources as attachments to emails, link to the resource in Accord. This will help keep all documents organized in one place, let other stakeholders find them later, and give you engagement data on open rates.
- Part of the magic of Accord is associating resources with steps for added context. Be sure to attach the appropriate resources to the right steps in your shared plan.
7. Assign Step Owners and Due Dates on calls with your customers
Assigning an Owner and Due Date to every step at once might be a lot of work – and you might not have all the answers yet. But getting buy-in on a few key Steps and their Owners and Due Dates is crucial.
Start with a few important milestone Steps. In addition, when a step is assigned to an Owner, they get automated reminders and your customer is reminded of that to-do without you having to “just check in.”
- Your customer needs at least a few Steps assigned to them with Due Dates. These should be dates and deliverables that they agree to.
- This creates a social contract for tasks to get done on both sides, and generates important reminders that keep your project top-of-mind.
8. Less is more: 3 to 5 Stages with 3 to 5 Steps each is plenty
It’s a delicate balance between informing your customers and overwhelming them with too much information.
We recommend keeping Next Steps to no more than 3 to 5 Stages with 3 to 5 Steps each to reduce cognitive load on your customers. This might feel tight, but you can always add additional Steps and Stages if needed as the deal progresses.
As the adage goes: “I would have written a shorter letter, but I did not have the time.”
- Reduce cognitive load by starting with no more than 3 to 5 Steps and 3 to 5 Stages. Yes, some use cases are unique and this might feel tight, but try adding videos, diagrams, and other aids to better enable your customers.
- Try using Sub-Tasks within individual Steps. This helps you break smaller Steps into a single larger Step.
Are you an Accord customer? We offer free 1:1 training as part of your package. Reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org to set up a session today.
Want to see how Accord can help you win and onboard customers faster by partnering with your buyers? Get a free workspace today!