If your go-to-market teams are involved in complex deals, they had better use a closing plan or mutual action plan. In this article, we’ll cover what you need to become an expert with both.
Note that closing plans are similar to mutual action plans but not the same thing. We will compare and contrast each in this article.
We will cover:
- What are closing plans?
- What are mutual action plans?
- How do these plans fit into your Enablement program?
What is a closing plan?
A closing plan is a document that defines the steps to move an opportunity from its current state to a closed-won stage. The close plan focuses inward on the steps that your business, the seller, must execute.
What is a mutual action plan?
A mutual action plan is a document that defines the steps to move an opportunity from its current state to a closed-won stage. Mutual action plans are collaborative agreements between members of the buying and selling teams and, when done well, can be incredibly effective.
How do these differ from a playbook?
A sales playbook provides you with the roadmap to follow throughout a sales cycle. In this way, it is similar to a closing plan.
However, a sales playbook provides all the details required to sell our solutions, including information on sales methodologies, sales tools, discovery and objection handling, and more.
In straightforward terms, the closing plan is a project plan to move deals from point A to point B.
How do these plans fit into your Enablement program?
Create a sales close plan for every deal that reaches your outside sales team.
At this stage, with a document automation tool, a good revenue operations team, or a template from your sales playbook, you should (automatically) create your closing plan.
The plan should look like a simple project plan, fleshing out the main steps in your sales motion, target delivery dates, and specifying ownership.
You should know the average amount of time a deal spends in each stage of your sales cycle — if not, figure that out.
For each step, take the average time spent in that step to set the initial target date.
The benefit of this closing plan is it will give everyone a clear line of sight on how the deal is progressing, allowing for better sales forecasting and risk mitigation for any deal going off track.
Convert the plan into a mutual action plan (MAP) as early as possible
Once you reach the stage in your sales cycle where you have a clear champion, economic buyer, and other requirements to know this is a real deal (MEDDIC anyone?), convert the plan into a MAP.
Remember, your MAP is a public document that is worked collaboratively between the sales team and the buying committee of the company you are selling.
This plan may be a part of a deal room or simply a shared Google sheet; it does not matter as long as everyone can view it and update it with the required information.
What goes into the mutual action plan?
The team at SalesHacker did an excellent job creating a template.
Remember that this plan should be a living document that includes as much detail as possible as the deal moves forward.
Not only will the information be a valuable tool for everyone involved in the deal, but…
Mutual Action Plans Best Practices
Someone should own the MAP
As discussed above, ownership of individual steps should be defined, and so should ownership of the overall process.
For the MAP, the AE or lead sales rep should jointly own it with the buyer’s primary contact.
Easy to find and Review
The deal’s project plan, aka the MAP, should be readily available to all buying committee members with ownership for steps and anyone on the seller’s side responsible for actions covered in the Mutual Action Plan.
All members of this group should have clarity about:
- What problem(s) is the buyer attempting to solve through this purchase?
- What is the proposed solution?
- What is the overall timeline?
- The buying process.
Easy to be updated
In addition, members of the buying or selling side will likely have requirements others are not yet aware of, steps that must be completed to make the sale possible.
These steps should be added to the MAP, avoiding surprises later in the buying process.
Treated as an official agreement
Both parties should sign off on the Mutual Action Plan. While not a legally-binding document, this level of formality cements the importance of the process and leads to more consistent success.
Mutual Action Plan Software
There are many solutions for creating your MAP, including a shared Google Sheet.
We have not yet reviewed any specific Mutual Action Plan software but are impressed with the built-in MAP capabilities we see within the Enable.us platform. The key points about this solution are:
- The MAP becomes part of the digital salesroom (DSR) — it is available to all members of the buying and selling side of the process.
- Users can assign task ownership to one-or-more members of the room.
- Both parties can add to the MAP.
- Changes are tracked, and emails go to the creator of the DSR — avoiding surprises.
Users must be using the Growth Plan to have access to MAP support.
Feed the plan back into your win-loss analysis
Now that the deal has reached its conclusion, your MAP provides you with powerful insights for your win-loss analysis. Use this as part of your review.
Feed the plan back into your customer onboarding
Your mutual action plan includes insights for the customer success team — make sure it is available to them.