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March 27, 2023

Mutual Action Plan Tips

Getting your buyer to work WITH you


Blog Post 1200x628
Blog type
Selling tips

Let’s talk about something that’s crucial to our B2B sales success, something that sends shivers down your spine equivalent to the words “Mufasa, Mufasa, Mufasa”: Mutual Action Plans (MAPs). 

I know, I know, building your first MAP, (also known as Management Engagement Plan (MEP) can be a real pain in the a**, but trust me, and learn from my past mistakes… it’s worth it. I never thought I’d be here advocating something like this (my vision was to travel and advocate for the elusive Northern Lights btw…), but not only does a MAP help us truly achieve mutual goals with our buyers, but it also builds trust and credibility with them. Looking good in the eyes of a customer is never a bad thing. 

Creating a successful MAP (or Managed Service Provider (MSP) comes with its challenges, especially the part about getting buyers to trust us and ease adoption on their side. So, let’s get into it, shall we? 

Challenge #1: Lack of trust

Just like me when the ice cream claims it’s sugar-free– our clients don’t always trust us right off the bat. They want (need) to know we’re not just trying to sell them something, but that we’re actually invested in their success. One way to build trust is to involve them in the creation of the MAP. You can even find great MAP templates. The point is to show them that we’re listening to their needs and working together to achieve their goals.

Personal Story Time: I once had a client who was very skeptical of our MAP. He didn’t think we understood his business or his goals. So, I thought “challenge accepted, mate”. I made sure I took the time to really listen to him and understand his needs. I asked him for details, took notes, repeated them back to him so he knew I understood and followed up. We collaborated on the MAP, working together, and it ended up being one of the most successful partnerships I’ve ever had. He later told me how much he appreciated the attention to detail I gave him, and this was what solidified it for him. Boom. 

Tip #1: Involve the client in the creation of the MAP

Challenge #2: Lack of clarity

Sometimes, we’re just not clear about what the client wants or needs from us. This can lead to confusion and frustration on both sides. To avoid this, we need to ask the right questions and really listen to their answers. It’s also important to be transparent about what we can and can’t do, and to set realistic expectations. Like the above points, here’s how to improve clarity:

Communication SkillDescription
Ask open-ended questionsAsk questions that cannot be answered with a simple "yes" or "no" to get a better understanding of what the customer needs. For example, ask "What are your top priorities for this?" instead of "Do you want us to prioritize cost or quality?"
Listen activelyPay close attention to what the buyer is saying and ask follow-up questions to clarify any ambiguities. Repeat their answers back to them to confirm your understanding
Be honestIf there's something you can't do, it's better to be upfront about it. It's also important to be clear about any limitations or constraints on what you can deliver.
Set realistic expectationsDon't make promises you can't keep. Be honest about what you can deliver, and set realistic timelines and milestones for achieving your goals.

Tip #2: Ask the right questions and be transparent about what we can and can’t do

Challenge #3: Lack of buy-in

If the client doesn’t fully buy into the MAP, it’s not going to work. That’s it. You’re done. So we need to make sure they understand the benefits and how it will help them achieve their goals. This means being clear and concise about the action items and the expected outcomes.

Tip #3: Communicate the benefits of the MAP and be clear about the action items and expected outcomes

Challenge #4: Lack of accountability

It’s easy for both sides to get busy and forget about the MAP. To avoid this, we need to set up regular check-ins and hold each other accountable. This means being proactive and following up on action items.

In my previous job, I was working on a big project with a customer and we had a solid Mutual Action Plan at the start. But as we got busier, we both started to forget about it. And, let me tell you, miscommunications and delays crept in, causing headaches for both of us, and making my manager…well…unhappy. 

We realized that we needed to get back on track and take our MAP seriously. So, we started having regular check-ins, discussing progress and any concerns, and updating the plan as necessary.

This proactive approach helped us catch issues early and take the right action before they blew up into bigger problems. Plus, our buyer appreciated our attention to detail and willingness to go the extra mile.

The lesson I learned is that a Mutual Action Plan isn’t just a one-and-done document. It needs to be reviewed and updated regularly, and both parties need to take responsibility for making it work. So, if you’re working on a project with a customer, make sure you’re setting up regular check-ins and following through on action items. Trust me, it’ll save you a lot of headaches and manager screaming down the road. 

Tip #4: Set up regular check-ins and hold each other accountable

Challenge #5: Lack of flexibility

Sometimes, things don’t go according to plan. We need to be flexible and willing to adjust the MAP as needed. This means being open to feedback and willing to make changes if necessary. If the buyer suggests a different approach or points out an issue that we hadn’t considered, we need to take their feedback seriously and work together to find a solution.

At the same time, we need to be proactive in identifying potential issues and taking corrective action before they become bigger problems. If we notice that something isn’t working, we need to speak up and suggest alternatives.

I suggest scheduling regular reviews of the MAP. This could be a monthly or quarterly check-in where both parties have the opportunity to provide feedback and suggest changes. By doing this, we can ensure that the plan stays relevant and effective, and that we’re able to address any issues before they become major roadblocks.

Tip #5: Be flexible and open to feedback

Challenge #6: Lack of communication

Look, no matter how well-designed the MAP is, it’s only as good as the communication that supports it. (There are some great guides on this) That’s why it’s essential to keep the customer informed of our progress and any challenges we’re facing.

Being proactive and transparent is key. We need to make sure that they know what we’re working on, what’s going well, and what challenges we’re encountering. This means sharing regular updates and being honest about any setbacks.

But, it’s not just about keeping the buyer informed. It’s also about soliciting their feedback and input. By encouraging open communication, we can identify potential issues early on and work together to find solutions. This builds trust and fosters a collaborative environment that leads to success.

I strongly recommend establishing a communication plan at the start of the project. This should outline how often updates will be provided, what information will be shared, and who will be responsible for communicating with the customer. By doing this, you can ensure that communication is consistent, transparent, and effective.

Tip #6: Communicate regularly and be transparent about progress and challenges

Challenge #7: Lack of follow-through

The MAP is designed to keep us on track and help us achieve our goals. But, if we’re not taking action on the action items and delivering on our promises, the plan isn’t going to work.

To ensure that we’re following through on the MAP, it’s important to assign clear ownership and deadlines for each action item. This means making sure that everyone involved knows what they’re responsible for and when their tasks need to be completed.

It’s also essential to hold ourselves and our team members accountable. If we notice that someone is falling behind on their tasks or not delivering on their promises, we need to address it promptly and find a solution together.

Schedule regular check-ins to review progress on the MAP. This could be a weekly or bi-weekly meeting where we discuss what’s been accomplished, what challenges we’re facing, and what action items need to be prioritized for the upcoming period. This helps us stay on track and ensures that everyone is aware of their responsibilities.

Tip #7: Follow through on the action items and deliver on our promises

Whew. Now that’s done, I’m going to look at some Northern light pictures to calm myself down, but in conclusion: Creating a mutual action plan can be challenging, but it’s worth it. By involving the buyer in the creation of the MAP, asking the right questions, communicating regularly, and holding each other accountable, we can build trust and achieve mutual goals together. So, let’s go out there and crush it!

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a mutual action plan?

Mutual Action Plans help businesses align on goals, tasks, and timelines for sales and onboarding. It is designed to facilitate communication and collaboration between different teams and departments in different organizations, providing a centralized way to manage tasks, deadlines, and progress.

How can mutual action plans benefit my sales and onboarding?

Mutual Action Plans can benefit your sales and onboarding in several ways, including:

  • Improved communication and collaboration between teams and departments
  • Enhanced transparency and accountability
  • Increased efficiency and productivity
  • More accurate project forecasting and timelines
  • Improved customer satisfaction through better alignment on goals and expectations

What features should I look for in mutual action plan software?

When selecting Mutual Action Plan software, some key features to consider include:

  • Customizable templates for different types of projects
  • Real-time progress tracking and reporting
  • Collaborative task management tools
  • Integration with other project management tools
  • Automated reminders and notifications
  • Customizable user permissions and access controls
  • Advanced analytics and reporting capabilities

Can mutual action plan software integrate with CRM tools?

Yes, mutual action plan software can integrate with CRM software. Many mutual action plan software solutions have built-in integration capabilities with popular CRM systems. By integrating with CRM, you can automatically pull customer data into your mutual action plan, saving time and improving accuracy. This integration can also allow you to track progress and update both the mutual action plan and CRM simultaneously.

How can I customize my mutual action plan tool to fit the specific needs of my team?

Most Mutual Action Plan software solutions offer customization options, including the ability to add or remove fields, create custom templates, and modify workflows to fit your team's specific needs. You can work with your vendor or provider to tailor the solution to your organization's specific requirements.

Are there any best practices or guidelines for using mutual action plan to ensure success?

Yes, some best practices for using Mutual Action Plan software include:

  • Clearly define goals and objectives
  • Involve all relevant stakeholders in the planning and execution process
  • Set achievable and realistic deadlines
  • Communicate regularly and effectively with all team members
  • Continuously monitor progress and adjust plans as necessary
  • Use data analytics to track performance and make informed decisions

Is there a way to track progress and make adjustments to the mutual action plan in real-time to ensure everyone is on track to meet goals and deadlines?

Yes, Mutual Action Plan software allows you to track progress and make adjustments in real-time. The solution provides real-time reporting and analytics, allowing you to monitor progress and performance and make informed decisions. You can also set up automated notifications and alerts to keep team members informed of updates and changes.

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