B2B sales are complex.
The more people involved in the buying process, the more complex they become.
In most cases, the sales cycle for an enterprise-level sale can take at least six months to close.
This extended lead time means forming win-win relationships with your prospects is crucial.
However, these relationships don’t happen overnight, and you can’t really form partnerships like this without a few tricks up your sleeve.
To get there, they require a high level of understanding and collaboration – as well as a plan to close the sale and deliver your prospect the outcome they’re looking for.
This plan – known as a Mutual Action Plan (MAP) – is used by revenue leaders as a scalable and repeatable process to boost their sales activity.
Here’s how valuable mutual action plans are:
90% of revenue leaders believe mutual action plans help them expedite deals and shorten sales cycles.
70% of revenue leaders experience an increased win rate when they use mutual action plans.
60% of revenue leaders see mutual action plans as a great way to build long-term customer relationships.
Too good to be true?
Far from it!
Mutual action plans have a real impact on your business.
In this article, we share how to get started with mutual action plans by using a template. We will also share insights on when to use a template and when to consider software.
Best of all:
You can download our MAP templates at the end of this article – available in all formats!
3 use cases for using a Mutual Action Plan
We've outlined three common scenarios and use cases for MAPs:
1. Enterprise-level sales
The larger the deal, the more complex it becomes.
Selling into the enterprise means navigating an unavoidable labyrinth of stakeholders, departments, and processes. A MAP can bring significant structure to this often time-consuming and frustrating experience.
A mutual action plan will allow you to unify everyone involved in the deal – on both sides – behind a commonly agreed set of objectives, not least, deadlines for expected close and go-live, to add urgency behind what could otherwise be a never-ending journey.
2. Strategic deals
You might think that the only time you'd ever want to use a MAP is for your most important sales or enterprise prospects. However, there are times when you will want to do a strategic deal that may be small in size financially but may open up a whole new world of opportunity.
This opportunity could be a low-priced deal in a new territory or segment – where it's in your interest to offer the most optimum experience possible. A MAP could also be used as a guide to help navigate a strategic partnership.
Using a mutual action plan enables you to establish common goals and agree on how you and your prospect will achieve them – together.
3. Customer success
The benefits of mutual action plans don't stop once the initial sale is closed – really, that's just the start. Once you've signed the original deal, typically, you're on a countdown to renewal time – which always comes around much quicker than you think.
To ensure your customers will renew, consider adapting your sales-focused mutual action plan into a post-sales Customer Success plan.
Often known as a 'success plan,' they take the fundamentals of the mutual action plan and put them in a post-sales setting to ensure your CSM and your customer can work together to ensure successful onboarding and adoption of your product.
Once onboarding and adoption are successful, it then allows you to look ahead to expansion and retention opportunities – to maximize the value of your relationship.
Benefits of using a Mutual Action Plan template
A mutual action plan is a valuable tool you should add to your sales toolkit.
MAPs provide a recognized standard format for you – and your customers – to plan, execute, and track progress together on a deal. It provides transparency in communication and goes a long way toward developing a win-win partnership.
Organizations that adopt MAPs as part of their sales process will likely witness a positive transformation in their sales performance and customer relationships.
Using a MAP template is a great place to start if you're new to mutual action plans, as it offers four key benefits to allow you to test the process risk-free.
1. Introduce MAPs to your organization
If mutual action plans are a new concept for your organization, a template is an excellent introduction.
Using a mutual action plan template gives you and your team a tangible example of a MAP and how it functions, helping everyone understand its potential value and quickly achieve universal buy-in.
2. See how your client base reacts
Using a template to introduce MAPs to your customers can provide valuable insights and quickly indicate just how beneficial they'll be for you.
You'll discover how your customers feel about a more transparent and collaborative approach to your sales process – are they more engaged? Do they feel more confident in your offer? Are you able to close deals more quickly?
Using a template is a no-risk way to test your customer base's appetite for working together more collaboratively and transparently.
3. Refine the process
As you start using MAPs, you'll gain insights into what works and what doesn't for your organization. You can then take some time to tweak the template to better suit your needs as well as those of your customers – and make the process your own.
4. Create a business case for investing in MAP software
If your business finds value in the MAP process and decides to use it regularly, you will soon consider investing in dedicated software.
The template and the feedback from your clients can serve as a strong 'proof of concept' for how the new sales process should work, helping you to develop a watertight business case for investing in mutual action plan software.
How do I use a Mutual Action Plan template?
To help you get the most out of our mutual action plan template, we’ve divided it into sections, starting with initial details, as well as objectives, stakeholders, milestones, and resources.
We’ve also added what you should include, why it matters, and how you can use it effectively.
“Using a template for our mutual action plan allowed us to start the process quickly and efficiently, ensuring that all necessary components were included right from the start.” Abhishek Shah – Founder at Testlify.com
1. Initial details
Let's start with the details section.
The Details section is the backbone of the MAP and shouldn't be underestimated or overlooked. It includes the core information about the deal, including who the customer is, a key contact or champion at your customer's organization, and who is handling the sale on your side.
As well as this, it's a great place to include a desired 'go live' date for the customer.
Why is it important? The Details section may seem straightforward, but it sets the context for the rest of the mutual action plan – not least by time-boxing the deal against the 'go live' date to prevent it from dragging on for months more than needed.
How to use it? You should always strive for clarity and precision when filling out the Details section. A good rule of thumb is to be concise but thorough – be sure to complete each field accurately.
Misunderstandings or omissions in your MAP can potentially lead to confusion, misalignment, and even conflicts between you and the customer – so make sure you validate all the information with the customer at the earliest opportunity.
The Objectives section outlines why the customer is entering into this deal and what they are looking to achieve as a result.
We've included fields for you to collect information on the current challenge the customer is facing, their desired outcome and any specific requirements that you'll need to bear in mind during the sales and delivery phases.
Depending on what your product does and what the customer wants to achieve, these outcomes typically range from financial targets and customer satisfaction scores to product development milestones, operational objectives, or market share growth.
Why is it important? The Objectives section acts as the 'north star' of the MAP. Listing the challenges, desired outcomes, and requirements provides a clear direction of travel that all actions and decisions within the MAP should be working toward.
Not only does the Objectives section allow you to easily align everyone on the same goals, but it also helps to promote further a sense of partnership between you and the customer – something that you may not experience in a more transactional relationship.
How to use it? To use the Objectives section effectively, you must clearly state your customer's goals.
When doing so, make sure they are SMART – Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound. Using the SMART framework means the goals you've included in the MAP are clear, realistic, and measurable. This clarity then gives you the chance to monitor progress effectively.
When setting objectives, it's good to be concise with your statements. If you don't set your objectives properly and include vague or unrealistic goals, it can lead to confusion, frustration, and lack of motivation from the Customer. This could potentially jeopardize the deal.
The Stakeholders section with the MAP template helps you to identify everyone involved in the sale – both from your organization and the customer's company.
The stakeholders section allows you to outline each contributor's roles, responsibilities, and expectations of each contributor, providing everyone with a clear view of who does what.
Why is it important? Listing all the stakeholders involved in the deal and the roles they will play helps ensure easy coordination between you and the customer – providing accountability baked-in as standard.
Collecting all this information gives everyone an instant insight into what they will be doing and who to turn to for specific issues.
How to use it? To use the Stakeholders section effectively, you must identify every individual or team involved (in your organization and theirs) and clearly define their roles and responsibilities.
To avoid any potential confusion, you will also need to ensure that everyone understands and agrees with their role in the deal.
When you're in the process of identifying all the stakeholders involved in the deal, make sure you include everyone – even those with a minor role to play.
To avoid any potential deal-breaker situations later down the line, make sure everyone is aware of their position, what you expect them to do, and any associated deadlines they need to meet.
The Milestones section of the mutual action plan template is where you should outline significant points (milestones) along the deal timeline.
Each milestone is a task or action added by you, and once they're complete, you'll need to mark them as 'done' so all your stakeholders can see the latest progress.
Why is it important? Milestones ensure you can track outstanding actions to help you finalize the sale.
Using milestones gives all stakeholders a sense of when they will likely complete the deal. To help keep the deal on track, you should regularly review milestone progress and make adjustments or intervene as needed.
How to use it? To use the Milestones section of the MAP template effectively, you must set relevant milestones along the deal timeline at meaningful points.
To ensure these milestones are useful, you'll need to clearly define what constitutes the completion of each milestone and any associated deadlines.
While you must always be thorough, you should avoid adding too many milestones on a MAP. Listing too many at once can overwhelm your stakeholders and potentially reduce the impact of completing a milestone on the overall mutual action plan.
Last but not least is the Resources section of the mutual action plan template.
In this section of the MAP template, you will need to outline all the resources required to close the deal.
These resources could include manpower, financial resources, technology, equipment, facilities, or anything else needed to complete the deal.
Why is it important? Put simply, you will need to know in advance what resources you need to get the deal over the line.
Using the resources section of the MAP template will help you produce a realistic action plan without over-committing, under-utilizing, or misallocating resources.
How to use it? To get the most out of the Resources section in the MAP template, you will need to think carefully about the resources you will need, who is responsible for them, and their availability.
Think of it as a mini-project plan and try to consider all eventualities, not just the best-case scenario. You should also regularly review and update this part of the mutual action plan to prevent delays that may hold up the deal.
Mutual Action Plans: Template vs. software
So, by now, you’ve probably realized how valuable MAPs could be for your B2B sales organization.
A template is one way to manage a mutual action plan, but have you considered software specifically designed for MAPs? Let’s break down the pros and cons for each.
Now, depending on where you are in your journey with maps and the size and scale of your deals, you may quickly find that a template doesn’t quite cut it anymore.
“The downside with using templates is that doing something manual means you can do it well, but only for a handful of key accounts” – Nate Nasralla, Founder at Fluint.io & course leader of ‘Mutual Success Plan Mastery’ at pclub.io
While templates can offer a great starting point, they don’t have any of the features you will need to make the most of mutual action plans.
We want to give you all the facts to inform your thinking and help you determine when you should use a template vs. invest in dedicated software.
When to use a MAP template
Mutual action plan templates are an ideal way for small businesses or those just starting with MAPs to find out how they could work for them.
By their very nature, templates are simple, straightforward, and require no special training or investment – so you and your team could start using them today.
Because they are easy to use and roll out at minimal cost, mutual action plan templates are a low-risk way to explore the benefits of MAPs.
When to use MAP software
Let's face it: using the right tool for the right job is never a bad idea, particularly in high-value B2B sales – where deals can be worth hundreds of thousands of dollars.
If you're serious about using mutual action plans as a critical part of your sales process, there is no substitute for managing MAPs with specialist software.
With dedicated software, you can take advantage of the ability to automate routine tasks, integrate directly with other platforms in your infrastructure, and receive real-time updates and insights.
“The decision to procure dedicated software was prompted by several factors, such as the difficulty in maintaining the reliability of the information, the challenges of collaborating effectively using spreadsheets, and the constant effort required to keep various parties aligned on activities and deadlines.
These limitations ultimately impacted our efficiency and increased the potential for errors. Dedicated MAP software offered features like real-time collaboration, automated progress tracking, and stakeholder notifications that were crucial for scaling our operations effectively.”
Diana Stepanova – Operations Director at Monitask.com
Not only will you streamline your sales processes and improve your close rates, but you'll also be able to offer your prospects a premium sales experience that positions you ahead of the competition.
Comparing MAP template to MAP software
We’ve created a table to help you understand the pros and cons of using a template to manage your mutual action plans vs. dedicated MAP software.
The table covers the essential factors to consider now and in the future, including cost, ease of use, features, scalability, and integration capability.
❌ Low to none
✅ Higher, but offers value for money
Ease of use
✅ Easy, with basic computing knowledge
✅ Easy, with a user-friendly interface
❌ Basic and limited
✅ Advanced, with automation, integration, and analytics
❌ Limited, can become unwieldy as data input and the number of users grows
✅ High, designed to handle growing levels of users and data
❌ Limited to manual import/export options
✅ Extensive, can connect with CRM and other systems.
You may find that a mutual action plan template is an excellent place for you and your team to get started with MAPs.
However, before long, you’ll need to choose software to help you manage MAPs at scale.
This is where GetAccept’s Mutual Action Plan feature can help you.
(Create a free account here and get instant access to our MAP feature).
You can use MAPs in your organization in a few ways – creating your own from scratch, using a template, or using dedicated software (our recommended option).
However, if you just want to get a feel for what a mutual action plan might look like, we’ve developed a MAP template for you to download in various formats.
Our template covers all the critical components of a MAP, including project details, objectives, stakeholders, milestones, deadlines, and actions.
We’ve also included the ability to include both the level of stakeholder involvement and current milestone status so you, your team, and your customers can see the latest at a glance.
While we prepared the Mutual Action Plan template to help illustrate what a MAP could look like and how to use one in your organization, there is no substitute for dedicated software like GetAccept.
Are you looking to use mutual action plans in your sales process?
Download your free mutual action plan template
We’ve prepared templates in various MS Office formats for you to download and use today. Just click the link below.
Mutual Action Plan template FAQs
Is this Mutual Action Plan (MAP) template free?
Yes. We’ve prepared these templates for you to use 100% free of charge. There is no catch, and you do not need to share your email address to download them.
Will this Mutual Action Plan (MAP) template also work for other plans?
It depends. The mutual action plan is a particular type of collaborative document between you and your customer. It’s not meant for internal-only use or as a ‘to-do’ list. However, MAPs are sometimes known by other names, including mutual success plan, go-live plan, close plan, and joint execution plan.
Is this Mutual Action Plan (MAP) template available in other formats?
Yes, you can download our free Mutual Action Plan (MAP) template using Excel, PDF, Word, and PowerPoint format. It’s worth noting that the PDF version is read-only and best used as a reference document. All other formats you can use and edit as needed.