I was on a call with a couple of customers recently, and the reality is fiscal year (“FY”) 2020 planning is starting to hit them square in the face! They’re realizing that with under a month to go until the new year, the pipeline that they’ve been creating for months or even years will be piling into their FY 2020 plan. And as is common with most organizations, 50% of the sales force will have successfully made their FY 2020 plans – but 50% won’t – and they’ll be entering a new decade with nothing that’s bold and different.
So I wanted to give you a couple of keys plays that each of your ISRs teamed with your account executives, and even some members of your customer success team, need to be running very quickly from a planning perspective so they’ll have a very defined business plan for either their geographic market, vertical, or key accounts.
1. Map your TAM. You have to map your Total Addressable Market (TAM) for whatever accounts you’re targeting – whether it’s a geography, vertical, or key account. Just like in a business plan, you need to understand:
• Which accounts have never been targeted in a particular geography or vertical?
• Which accounts are dead to you, and which ones are live, open opportunities?
• Which accounts are existing customers, and of those, which are active vs. passive customers?
You need to map it all out. You can’t go into a new decade without having a very clear picture as to the remaining opportunities inside a very specific geography or vertical.
2. Opportunities vs. risks. Within a TAM, your team needs to be able to articulate opportunities vs. risks. This involves:
• Mapping the sphere of influence inside a TAM.
This means your team will look for asymmetrical competitive advantages (high social proximity relationships) that can increase the probability and shorten the velocity of activating that account. Look for people who have experienced your solution inside your TAM that would be willing to help you navigate new corporations for opportunities. Look for competitive intelligence – past employees of your competitors, people with skills and experience working with your competitors – you can’t be spinning your wheels with those accounts, and they should be avoided.
• Compelling events.
Time is one of the most compelling events for conversations. What companies are growing human capital? What companies are retracting human capital in specific divisions? Who’s started a new job in the last 90 days? All these simple-to-find but rarely used sales plays are so critical for starting conversations in Q1 to create opportunities.
• War-room those accounts.
Once you’ve identified those 10, 15, 20 hotter opportunities, you need to war-room those accounts. The best in class sellers look for triggers, referrals, insights, and competitive intelligence, and this is the basis of the modern, digital seller. I highly recommend your sellers have a plan around this. This is a basic thing your team should be doing over the Christmas holidays or first week of January, to prepare for the whole fiscal 2020.