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Most sales people hate working on their account/territory plan. Not surprisingly, they’d rather work opportunities. But, hold on a second – are they not one and the same? We’ve all heard the stories of the “one and done” account/territory plan: you do it once a year to show to management, then put it in your desk drawer. Or, the trash.
What are sales reps presenting that is not worth looking at the rest of the year? I can only imagine. I have seen tons of account/territory reviews, and most of them contain an overview of:
Or something pretty close to it. Typically, they are very “us” focused, with little to no representation of what customers are interested in. It’s like throwing sh*t at the wall and hoping something sticks. The “plan” gets management’s seal of approval. But then everyone wonders why deals slip and get re-forecasted quarter to quarter. I can see why the account/territory plan ends up in a drawer or a trash can.
But the best account/territory plan is one that continues to evolve. It should help the sales team truly understand more about their customers by reflecting their businesses through their eyes. Look at the top performers. They use the account/territory plan to better understand what their customers are trying to accomplish, their timeframes, priorities and risk tolerances in order to plan how they will fill their pipeline.
And in the end, the account/territory plan and working the right opportunities are one and the same. You can’t have one without the other. The plan is constantly reviewed and verified with your customers and prospects to ensure you’re working the opportunities that are getting most of their time, money and resources. You plan for it.
You’ll notice many similarities between planning from your perspective and planning from your customer’s or prospect’s viewpoint. But it’s this nuance that bridges the gap between account/territory planning and working opportunities. A good account/territory plan includes a review of:
What have been your experiences with your account/territory plan? And how are you deciding which opportunities to spend your time on? Do you do “one and done” plans? Or do you have an evolving plan that changes as you nurture your customer relationships and learn more about their business priorities, up front and personal?