account planning

Account Planning

Develop account plans that sharpen your edge for each deal. Figure out which planning tasks make the biggest impact and how to assemble the right research.

Analyzing the Target Account’s Situation

Improve your account selection and forecasting by understanding your prospect’s reality from their point of view.  Sellers must do really good due diligence to ensure that they understand the business and the challenges they are facing before they go into a presentation.

Listen to Emissary Advisor Paul Johnson, Former Chief of Global Security and Chief Information Security Officer of Papa John’s International:


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Find the Business Issues That Matter

Companies don’t advertise what they’re struggling with. You might be able to extrapolate from industry trends, but to close a deal, you need to figure out your target’s business challenges quickly and accurately. Emissary Advisors have been in the prospect’s shoes; they have first-hand experience with the most pressing business issues, helping you find the pain points that are motivating enterprises to buy. You spend less time qualifying and more time resolving your target’s objections and pain points.

Understand the Tech Stack

Large enterprises have complex environments, including legacy systems, hybrid storage, custom applications, and off-the-shelf solutions. Uncovering all the details can take hours of research, but Emissary Advisors have experience with your account’s IT environment, helping you quickly determine how your offering fits. You break free from the research swamp and spend more time in front of prospects.

Define Customer Needs (and Wants)

To determine what your customer needs, you have to understand not just the business issues but how they impact the daily operation and long-term success of the company. It’s almost impossible to put that picture together without someone like an Emissary Advisor, who helps you understand which problems your target urgently wants to solve and the challenges they face in addressing it. With a comprehensive view of the pain points, you can craft the high-value solution buyers are looking for.

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Identifying Decision-Makers

Figure out who’s involved in making a purchase, how they like to do business, and how they work with each other.

Map the Power Structure

To successfully navigate a target organization, you have to understand the interpersonal dynamics and corporate culture that drive your customer’s decisions. Knowing where the real influencers and buying power lie will shorten your time to a successful close. Our clients rely on Emissary Advisors to help them identify people who can move the deal forward most effectively and the roles they play in purchasing decisions. Ninety percent of Emissary clients have identified new decision-makers on a current account with their Advisor’s help.

Mirror Your Buyers’ Styles

Enterprise technology sales generally involve more than five decision-makers, often more. And each will have their preferred way to do business. You need to quickly determine who your buyers are and what they need from you in the sales process. But you don’t have to be a mind reader. Emissary Advisors draw on their first-hand experience to advise your team about which people you need to connect with and how they prefer to engage. Armed with this information, you start strong and build credibility fast.

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“Understanding how the organization actually works, and what projects matter, is impossible to work out unless you have an Emissary Advisor to guide you.”

– Client Director, Storage Software Company

Positioning Your Value for the Close

Frame the advantages of your solution from your customer’s viewpoint. Draw a direct path from your offering to their success.

Determine How Your Solution Fits

If you want prospects to see your solution’s advantages, explain how it fits into their reality, including how it impacts operational processes and other business units. With the background information Emissary Advisors provides, you can quickly get the details right and make it easy for decision-makers to understand your value and opt to buy.

Locate the White Space and Pain Points

Any white space or additional pain points your offering can solve will enhance its benefits. However, the customer may not see pain points you do, or they may not consider them very painful. Emissary Advisors can explain how buyers view the issues you want to tackle and help you demonstrate the advantages of solving them. Your team expands the deal size while building significance as a strategic partner.

Analyze the Competition

With enterprise technology sales, the competition comprises more than other solution providers. For example, the company may be inclined to build a custom solution or repurpose an existing application instead of purchasing new technology. Emissary Advisors, as former industry executives, understand your target’s history of IT decisions; they can lay out the various options buyers may be considering and hand you the insight to position your product’s unique value against all competition.

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Planning Your Sales Actions and Strategy

Your hard work gathering accurate and insightful business intelligence pays off when it’s time to build strategy. Lay out the actions that will motivate buyers to a timely close.

Align With Prospect’s Buying Process

In order to move the sale forward, you have to support your customer’s buying process with the right message, the right content, and the right engagement at the right times. By matching your sales actions to their buying actions, you make it easy for decision-makers to move forward. Emissary Advisors have the buyer’s point of view; they help you align your steps to prevent stalling and even nudge the customer forward if needed.

Prepare for Calls

Every customer interaction needs to open the door to the next step, but what is the best next step? Is it time to collect data for an ROI analysis, meet some more decision-makers, or set up a demo meeting? The answers lie in your buyer’s process, which Emissary Advisors’ have experienced from the inside. Their guidance will point your call planning in the right direction to move the deal forward at each step.

Identify Potential Blockers and Derailers

When planning for the obstacles you’ll face, take into account buyers’ attitudes about large technology purchases. For example, are they reluctant to work with start-ups? Do they prefer bleeding-edge tech or proven workhorses? These types of blockers are hard to predict early in the sales process unless you have input from someone like an Emissary Advisor. Advisors know what causes concern for decision-makers at your target enterprise. They share how and why deals fail, so you can clarify and avoid likely pitfalls.

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“What our Emissary told us in just three calls we never could have learned on our own. We better understand our buyer’s business model and what motivates them most. That’s huge.”

– SVP Global Field Operations, Data Management

Managing Key Accounts

Draw on accurate and relevant business intelligence to determine which accounts have the most potential and how best to realize it.

Select the High Potential Accounts

Shifting a customer to a key account relationship should benefit you and your customer. It’s important to know if they can work with you at the level of corporate strategy and are interested in long term development and account expansion. Emissary Advisors help you determine whether a current customer is a good candidate. Their input streamlines your account selection and avoids wasting time on accounts with little long-term potential.

Align Key Account Teams

For a key account, you need to coordinate everyone on the team with a customized management plan informed by the customer’s global organization and objectives. Our clients have found their Emissary Advisor’s deep experience with the target invaluable for developing planning tools, identifying mutually beneficial projects, and strategizing long-term goals. A well-informed approach gives you the best opportunity to strengthen and extend your partnership over time.

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