How to use Mutual Success Plans to win buyer trust

Shankar Ganapathy
August 2, 2021
mutual success plans win buyer trust image

Deal is in ‘commit’ and the end of the quarter is 3 weeks away. You have painstakingly worked the last 5 months to get the collective ‘yes’ (at least that is what your champion said). You know the paper process and are waiting for the introduction to the procurement lead to wrap up negotiation and legal paperwork. 

And just like that, the champion wants you to do one more demo to one other team.

The deal is dead for the quarter and you look bad in front of the sales leadership. 

Every sales team has many such deals every quarter. In fact, many sales leaders factor in X% of ‘commit’ deals slip in their forecasting. So what could have gone wrong?

#1 Unclear compelling event - poor clarity on buyer desired outcomes

Did you tie the key outcome from deploying your solution to the business metric that your customer cares about?

#2 Either you, your buyer or both don’t know the buying process

Did you map out the buying process upfront with the buyer? Did you capture the variance as you go through the process? And did your buyer introduce you to other key stakeholders who need to be ‘sold’? You did use a mutual action plan, but was it used after the first time?

#3 Either you, your buyer or both are afraid to multi-thread

 Let's all agree that setting up swim lanes is quite hard. But did you bring both your internal and buyer stakeholders together all through the process?

#4 No one engaged with Mutual Action Plans (MAP), including your champion

Did your buyers engage with your Mutual Action Plans? If so, who and all? How often did you use it? Did you invite other stakeholders as well?

#5 Your champion didn’t have all the information she needed to sell on your behalf

Did your champion ask you questions? Or they ended up just looking at your website? Did they find what they wanted in seconds or minutes instead of hours or days? Did you equip them on how to sell on your behalf?

B2B buying complexity is probably the hottest topic in leading research firms like Gartner, Forrester, McKinsey, Deloitte, and many others. Why is it so important? What are your buyers expecting from you? And how do you solve this?

Get MEDDIC + Mutual Success Plan Ebook Now

Enter Mutual Success Plan (MSP)

Mutual Success Plan is not a new concept. B2B sales teams have been using close plans, mutual action plans, joint execution plans, etc. for a long time. The challenge with them is they are all one-sided tools that are all about the sale. It is also designed to not be used after the sale.  

The modern buyer is quite different. Unlike the perpetual license, the SaaS model, along with easy access to alternatives, has made the game more even. 

This means you have to treat your customers as an equal partner. From a sales perspective, value discovery and value proof are not sufficient. Value delivery and realization have become equally important in your pursuit of more revenue. 

We look at Mutual Success Plans as an essential component of digital buyer engagement. There are three key behaviors that Mutual Success Plans influence. 

Mutual success plan sales

So what is Mutual Success Plan?

#1 Outcome-first

Be clear about what value your solution will deliver for your buyer and why is it important for them (connect back to the business problem).

#2 Clear and shared understanding of the process

The process is not once and done exercise. We live in a dynamic world, and you need to constantly context switch between high-level milestones and low-level tasks as you go through the buying process with your champion. You also need to show flexibility as the situation changes.

Most importantly, the process has to be entirely laid out at least until the go-live date.If things slip, you can show the cost of the slip with #1 

#3 Map the stakeholders:

More often than not, we talk about swimlanes with only senior executives. But swimlanes are for everybody. Expose your CSMs, your customer references, professional services along with executive sponsors to their counterparts. Your buyers will love you for doing this.

#4 Buyer Enablement:

Don’t become the bottleneck. 80% of buyer questions are standard ones. Make it extremely easy for them to get them answered instead of waiting for you to get back to them. Elevate sellers role to focus on value selling and delivery and let technology automate buyer Q&A.

#5 Participate in QBRs:

Don’t leave your customers when the contract is signed. Participate and lead QBRs; ensure value is being delivered. This will pave the way for massive upsells and more customer references. 

By leveraging Mutual Success Plans, you’ll have a systematic way to engage and collaborate with your buyers to win more deals faster, provide an unrivaled buying experience and improve forecast accuracy. If you see a potential role for the persuasive power of digital buyer engagement - Mutual Success Plans within your sales organization, BuyerAssist can help open new opportunities. 

Want to learn more about how to operationalize mutual success plans? Book a demo today

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