A close plan is a critical tool to effectively manage a sales cycle from new opportunity to close. It lays out the ideal sequence of events to move the deal forward, the qualification criteria to measure the opportunity, and it documents the stakeholders involved on the buying team. With complex deals, close plans can also assign events and tasks to separate team members for collaboration and complete stakeholder coverage.
Historically, close plans have lived just about everywhere: physical notepads, Excel documents, and Google Sheets just to name a few. These are all great resources, but lack one critical component: they’re not in your CRM. The CRM is the absolute foundation of your selling process and utilizing external platforms double administrative work, risk inconsistent or inaccurate CRM data, and lack of visibility throughout the sales organization.
The folks over at Sales Benchmark Index recently touched on technology’s impact on sales execution:
“Aside from designing the optimal sales processes, technology exists which integrates detailed close plans directly into your CRM. Close plans are particularly important in enterprise sales, where following a process and collaborating with colleagues is critical to success. This integrated close plan lays out various events to complete within the sales process, such as a reference call, a breakfast briefing, a demo, an executive visit, a social event, a project planning session, etc. All these events can move the sale forward and, more importantly, involve various personas from the prospect organization.”
Here at ClosePlan, we’ve built a fully-integrated platform within Salesforce so everything from event progress to deal qualification data to stakeholder details now live in your CRM. But the real value of integrating sales execution tools into your CRM is the transparency and visibility it provides to the organization. Sales Benchmark Index continues:
“Creating company-wide adherence and visibility to these events within a sales process can ultimately enable leadership to make data-driven decisions to create the most-efficient sales process which can be scaled across the globe.”
When sales leaders have process reinforcement and visibility into their team’s activities, they are now empowered to learn from their existing sales process and test modifications to event timelines, the sequence of events, team assignments, and qualification standards. With this actionable data the sales process can be optimized to improve win rates and shorten sales cycles.