Best Practices & Tactics for Using Mutual Action Plans

Masterclass with Atrium, Salesforce, & SalesPlaybook

Joint execution plans, mutual success plans, mutual close plans… no matter what you call them, Mutual Action Plans (MAPs) are all about getting on the same page with your customer about what it takes to successfully evaluate, validate, onboard, and get to the value promised when working together.

MAPs are a no-brainer for your sales team if you’re looking to make the most of every deal – especially if your sales are complex and involve multiple stakeholders. When you proactively align with buyers on a clear path to a buying decision, deal velocity and win rates increase!

But when should you use a MAP, what do great MAPs look like, and how do you get your reps to actually use them consistently?

We asked top sales reps & leaders to share their Mutual Action Plan best practices:

  • Manuel Hartmann, CEO & Founder at SalesPlaybook – worked with 200+ B2B entrepreneurs to help them accelerate their market traction
  • Milena Kaul, VP of Sales at Atrium – experienced B2B sales leader; previously Senior Sales Director at Flock Safety and SalesLoft
  • Christian Krause, AE at Salesforce – Account Executive partnering with Switzerland startups & VCs; sales advisor helping junior salespeople crush quotas

Watch the full masterclass (or listen on our podcast) and get 4 tactics for using and implementing MAPs on your sales team below!

🤔 When to use a Mutual Action Plan in your sales process

Unless it’s a one-call close, every deal should require a Mutual Action Plan.

You may not need a super detailed MAP for smaller deals, but unless it’s a one-call close, you’re still depending on something from the prospect at a later date in order to advance the deal.

As a seller, you want to get to a “yes” or “no” decision as quickly as possible. MAPs are a great tool for disqualifying prospects who aren’t ready to buy yet. Aligning on the path to a purchase decision helps you avoid endlessly waiting for a decision and being strung along by buyers.

Your sales team is investing their time into the opportunity and adding value for the buyer – but they need something from the buyer as well. MAPs are a low-friction way to guide your buyer and keep them accountable throughout the process.

🗺 How to collaborate on Mutual Action Plans with your buyers

Once you understand your buyer’s “why” (the problem they’re trying to solve and how your solution can help), align on the timeline first, then the deliverables, then the stakeholders.

Christian mentioned the book Gap Selling (which he says everyone in sales should read). To summarize, the book says that there’s a gap in every sale between the status quo of the buyer (their current pain or problem) and their future or desired state (when the problem is removed through your solution).

Your role is to educate your buyer and show them how to reach that desired state. The best way to do this is through a MAP.

Once you’re aligned with your buyer on the challenge they’re trying to solve, and they’re interested in moving forward, reverse engineer the MAP from their desired go-live date. Set deadlines for all the steps in the buying process going backward: from go-live, to implementation & onboarding, to partnership formalization, to validation, etc.

Review the timeline with your buyer and ask if it’s realistic. When you’re both aligned on the plan, agree on all the deliverables and steps needed along the way. Finally, loop in any other required stakeholders to get everyone on the same page.

👯 How to get your reps to use Mutual Action Plans consistently

Coach your team on the why and benefits behind using MAPs. Do “discovery” with the rep to explore their current process and turn mistakes into coaching moments.

One of the challenges as your team scales is getting all your reps to consistently follow best practices in their deals – including using MAPs.

Two tips for coaching your reps and implementing MAPs across your team:

1. Show what’s in it for them. 

There’s a long list of benefits that come when your reps use MAPs:

  • Get to a decision faster
  • Forecast more confidently
  • Don’t leave deals to risk
  • Reduce stress by having a clear path forward
  • Increase win rates & deal velocity

Highlight these! When your reps understand the “why” behind MAPs, they’re more likely to use them consistently in their process and follow your best practices.

2. Do “discovery” with your rep when coaching.

Instead of telling your rep what to do, ask your rep to walk you through their current process or recent calls. Ask more questions about why they expected a deal to close, how they’re keeping stakeholders aligned, what their next steps are, etc.

The best way to learn is from failure. Guiding your team through their mistakes and coaching them about a better way to sell will help them see the value of MAPs and get every rep performing like your best rep.

🌟 How to make the most out of your Mutual Action Plan 

Remember the most important word in Mutual Action Plan: MUTUAL.

“Mutual” is the most important piece of the puzzle. If it’s not a mutually agreed-upon plan, then you’re imposing your process on the buyer – and when you do that, you’ll set yourself up to fail.

The key here is to have real human conversations with your buyer, instead of simply pitching your product.

Take off your seller hat and simply talk to your buyer about the problem they’re trying to solve and how you might be able to help. Focus on helping instead of closing. 

If your conversation goes well, then you can move on to working out the timeline and next steps.

Your team’s North Star may be revenue, but your sales process should always be buyer-first.

Want to learn more about Mutual Action Plans?

You can also get a free Accord workspace to win & onboard customers faster through MAPs!