Uplift your Sales Enablement with Close Plans

Aparna Shah
July 18, 2022
3 Reasons Why Your Sales Enablement Strategy Needs A Facelift

Winning a buyer’s trust is no easy feat, especially today. Pitching your solution over a golf game might have worked in the old world of sales, but the modern buyer isn’t interested in having conversations about their inundating business challenges and use cases of your product in the same way.

The new buyers want to spearhead their buying lifecycle on their terms and conditions. 

Why is it so hard for companies to deliver an experience that business buyer demands? While buyer demands are dynamic, our internal teams and sales processes are not built to come to grips with the new way of buying, which is why more often than not, we fall prey to missed opportunities. 

Here are three reasons why your sales curriculum needs a major upgrade: 

The New Buyer Imperative

Buyers buy experiences, not products. They settle for nothing less than immaculate experience-led solutions, whether they're browsing through what movies to watch or purchasing an enterprise solution. 

Today, business buyers demand to see value at every step, transparency from the vendor, and the ability to run the buying process their way - as opposed to being held at arm’s length from a product and unable to discover its capabilities meet the requirements. 

Accenture reports that 80% of buyers now want to navigate the sales process themselves. 

What does this paradigm shift mean for you as a sales leader? 

B2B sellers must adjust to new buyers' expectations (experience and value-driven). For sales leaders, this means building a sales curriculum that reduces roadblocks and closes loops for your sellers and buyers to engage in your sales process. And finally, empowering your champions. With an average of 6-10 stakeholders involved in the decision-making process and your salesperson getting as low as 20% visibility into the buying process, your champions need your guidance more than ever to build consensus internally. 

Your sales approach is not resonating with your buyers

The contracting process is about to start, and you may think you have closed a deal - but suddenly, you’re thrown a curveball by your champion - “we need to demo to this new stakeholder.” And whoop! The deal is pushed to next quarter. Hasn’t it happened to you before? That’s how uncertain B2B selling is today. 

Your sales processes and methodologies should let your buyers take control of their journey - give them the product access or the critical information even before starting the evaluation on their terms. The changed approaches should focus on your buyer’s goals, desired outcomes, and milestones. Modern sellers must guide buyers through the buying process and not just focus on their sales process. 

However, with your buyers, your sellers need to be taught to focus on the buyer's preferences. An inside-out approach to sales can escalate misalignments on envisioned outcomes, ultimately leading to low conversion rates, slipped deals, and inaccurate forecasting. 

Furthermore, often experienced sellers develop their own sales playbook through years of experience, which may lead them to doubt the effectiveness of your sales process and methodology in your company. Any pushed deal or complexity in the buying process may ultimately lead them to switch back to their processes- leading to a lack of accurate CRM data and forecasting.  

In an enterprise environment fraught with complex procurement processes and daunting revenue goals, how can sellers get a pulse on what is resonating and how to follow up with them?

You can reduce the chances of stumbling the deal into an unforeseen hurdle at the eleventh hour, either falling through or going to a competitor, by centering control of the sales process with your sales team. This is where buyer-centric interfaces like close plans can help you improve your win rates, reduce the sale cycle and increase forecast accuracy - all while delivering a seamless experience for your buyers to realize value faster.  

Sales enablement is essential, but what about buyer enablement?

Enterprise software buyers are more informed than ever. They orchestrate research independently and only engage with sellers when they are certain about the evaluation. 

With an array of information rolled out on your website, review platforms, communities, and emails, each buying stakeholder is able to do their research. Often,  these sets of information are cluttered so much so that they create evaluation goals and project plans for managing and aligning with all buying stakeholders. 

We believe the way you use your high-value assets is not optimized for buyer experience:

  • Problem 1 - Most content is publicly spread across multiple sites, and as such, you don’t know what your buyers are doing with that. Furthermore, your buyers must weed through several information sources to determine what is important to them. 
  • Problem 2 - All high-value assets are hidden behind the seller and are often thought through as leverage to extract information from your buyers. Often these assets aren’t used in the way they were supposed to be used.  
  • Problem 3 - You often design the content experience for the seller, not the buyer (no, it is not just about having a buyer-facing microsite). And this shows in the sales experience you provide to your buyers. 

When everything feels so chaotic, how do you bring everything together? As a seller, you must ensure the buyers locate personal folders, store assets, and not squander amidst infinite collateral pieces. 

With a close plan, the buyers can find all processes, insights, and information in real-time at the click of a button. As external and internal revenue teams collaborate on the plan, insert links to updated case studies, customer success stories, or any other resource you’ve created for the deal. By organizing all your resources into a shared space for easy accessibility, your sellers can collaborate and work faster with the buyers.

What is a Close Plan?

A close plan is a strategic document or process that outlines the steps a salesperson or sales team will take to close a deal with a potential customer. It typically includes a detailed timeline of activities and milestones, along with specific actions and tactics that will be used to overcome objections and move the prospect through the sales funnel.

A close plan can help salespeople stay organized and focused on the tasks that are most critical for closing a deal. It can also help them anticipate potential roadblocks or objections and develop effective strategies for overcoming them. By outlining a clear plan for closing the deal, salespeople can increase their chances of success and minimize the risk of losing the sale to a competitor.

Are Close Plans feasible for your business? 

Close plans are designed to be buyer-first; however, they are often abandoned after the contract is signed and fall short of delivering value and taking the buyer to the finish line. Moreover, these plans are only occasionally reviewed with a buyer during the sales cycle, leading to reduced credibility and low engagement during future upsells. 

More often than not, these plans fall short in filling the modern buyer expectations around self-service and outcome-driven vendor relationships. 

Why Collaborative close plans give you an edge?

A collaborative close plan gives sales professionals an edge because it involves working closely with the customer to develop a plan for closing the deal that meets both their needs and the needs of the business. This approach can help build trust and credibility with the customer, increase their engagement in the sales process, and ultimately improve the chances of closing the deal successfully.

Here are some reasons why a collaborative close plan can give you an edge:

  1. Builds rapport and trust: By working collaboratively with the customer to develop a close plan, you can demonstrate that you value their input and are committed to meeting their needs. This can help build rapport and trust with the customer, which is essential for closing the deal.
  2. Increases customer engagement: A collaborative close plan can help increase customer engagement in the sales process. By involving the customer in the planning process and seeking their feedback, you can keep them actively involved in the sales conversation and build excitement and momentum for closing the deal.
  3. Provides a clear roadmap: A close plan provides a clear roadmap for both the salesperson and the customer. By outlining the steps needed to close the deal and setting specific timelines and milestones, a collaborative close plan can help ensure that everyone is aligned and working towards a common goal.
  4. Improves the chances of success: By involving the customer in the planning process and tailoring the close plan to their specific needs and interests, you can improve the chances of closing the deal successfully. A collaborative close plan can help you anticipate objections and address concerns, ultimately leading to a more successful outcome.

Mutual Success Plans - New Steers in the B2B sales

Now more than ever is the time to evaluate the experience your company delivers to buyers. With the right tools and processes in place, your sales team can provide immaculate experiences for your buyers that will steer crucial KPIs within the revenue cycle, build evangelists and help you land more customers in the longer run. One such impactful tool is mutual success plans

Mutual Success plans are customer-validated, collaborative, and focused on outcome delivery. When integrated into the sale, your sellers can collaborate with the buyers on critical milestones, align on value delivery, and ultimately work together for shared success. You can attach resources, files, and links within the plan to the “single source of truth” across the entire customer journey- making it easier for all stakeholders to engage, stay updated and collaborate on desired outcomes. 

Modern buyer behavior has evolved over the last few years and will continue to evolve under the influence of market transitions. To consistently drive your business forward, you need to build a seamless interlock in the way your buyers and sellers interact so your business relationship does not fall through the cracks. 

What should be in a close plan?

A Close plan should keeps all parties accountable and focused on the goals, milestones, metrics and the plan that help maximize the potential of the relationship.

It is where the selling and buying teams come together to define the mutual business outcomes and continuously align and collaborate on accomplishing those in time

What is a close plan?

A close plan is a non-binding shared document between the buyer and seller to drive alignment towards an end goal with clear responsibilities and timelines.

How do you create a close plan?

Close Plan starts with value discovery and goes all the way through to value realization for the buyers (contract signing is just one step in this process).


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