Account Plans & Stakeholder Maps: Helping AEs/CSMs Run Airtight Deals

In 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?

Winning and growing revenue today requires deeply understanding the account you’re working with (and more specifically, the buying team). If not? No budget for you!

In this masterclass, we shared detailed plays to help your team win & expand consistently by running airtight account plans and stakeholder maps.

Featuring sales pros:

Get the key takeaways and watch the full session below! 👇

5 Key Takeaways for Running Airtight Deals in 2023

1. Teams need to get back to sales basics.

We’re no longer in the bull market that we got used to… with unlimited budgets and easy deals. During that time, we got lazy as sellers – but it’s all different now.

Deals are MUCH harder to get across the line today, which means every rep needs to give 100% on every deal. The best teams are going back to basics. 

Sales Methodologies. Coaching/training. Thorough discovery. Multi-threading across teams/orgs, including execs. Account plans and business cases with quantified ROI (that you build WITH your buyer). A complete focus on the customer and being a great partner. Simply caring more.

If your team’s not doing all of these things, you’re going to fall behind, simple as that.

2. Look higher up and laterally to find authority.

“The people who have the authority to justify a purchase that can impact the bottom line are higher up and laterally in different parts of the organization now.” - Armand Farrokh

Account planning and multi-threading are more important than ever in deals today. Buying teams are growing all the time (typically 8+ on every deal, and more if you’re in enterprise) and purchase decisions often lie higher up in the organization than before – at the C-Suite level.

To sell in 2023, your product needs to solve big, company-wide problems (and do it efficiently). Not only do you need to get CFOs and other execs on board and align with their priorities, but you need to look laterally to other teams who might influence or be impacted by your solution.

This is where account planning and stakeholder mapping is absolutely critical. Grab a free stakeholder mapping template we put together to help with this.

3. Prioritize stakeholders and hone in on what they care about.

There’s only so many people you can talk to during the deal, especially at a larger org. Organize your stakeholders by tier and prioritize. Who are the most important people in getting the deal done, and what do they specifically care about?

Tailor your communication based on their unique goals and challenges, and you’ll get a lot further than if you said the same thing to every stakeholder. 

(Also – if you’re not sure where to start, just ask your champion! Build your stakeholder map and business case with their help. They’ll feel more bought-in and you’ll get more valuable info).

4. Negatives drive deals more than positives.

“What would make your buyers lose their job? It’s not only about the positives – in a bear market, hone in on what your prospects will lose if they don’t take action.” - Adir Ben-Yehuda

We all like to focus on the positive impacts our solutions can have – driving pipeline, reducing churn, increasing revenue – but negatives can be a far more effective driver in closing deals.

What are your buyers’ major priorities, and what happens if they don’t achieve them? What will they lose? What’s the impact? Cost of inaction and negative consequences are powerful for driving urgency in deals. Just remember to stay focused on truly helping your buyer.

5. Coach the WHY, not the WHAT.

“Expect the [account planning] process to be met with resistance because it can feel like busy work, and that’s dangerous. This is a forcing function for AEs to pause, learn about a company and its people, and form a perspective on it.
These also shouldn’t be done in a silo. If you sell to strategic enterprise accounts, it should be the AE, sales leader, BDR, marketing team, execs, and so on.” - Matthew O'Neal

If you’re trying to implement consistent account planning at your org, and want to avoid the usual resistance to change, here are a few tips:

  • Never ask your reps to do something you wouldn’t do yourself. Make sure you’re leading by example.
  • Coach the WHY, not the WHAT. Don’t just force a new process on your reps – demonstrate the benefits for them, and give them the flexibility to make the process work for them.
  • Enable your top performers to own and embrace the process. They’ll nail it and make sure it works for the rest of your team, and help coach as well.

Accord helps 100+ GTM teams like Figma, Stripe, and Mosaic drive consistent, repeatable deal execution. Create winning business cases, map stakeholders, and drive urgency with shared next steps in one workspace. Book a demo here to explore and get your workspace!