Account Mapping: Why You Need to Chart Prospect Companies

7 March, 2024 7 Mins Read

Account mapping is a vital skill for any B2B sales professional who wants to win more deals and grow their business. But what exactly is account mapping, and how can it help you sell more effectively? This blog will cover the concept of account mapping, and explain why it is essential for B2B sales, and how to create account maps that reveal the hidden opportunities and challenges within your target accounts. Whether you are new to account mapping or want to improve your existing skills, this blog will provide you with valuable insights and tips to master this powerful sales technique. Read on!

The Foundation of Account Mapping

Account mapping is more than just a visual aid; it’s a strategic approach to understanding the intricacies of your target accounts. Account mapping involves creating organizational charts outlining key decision-makers, influencers, and stakeholders within a prospective company. This goes beyond the traditional buyer persona, offering a nuanced perspective on the relationships and dynamics within an organization.

  1. Navigating Complex Organizational Structures: Businesses often have intricate hierarchies and diverse decision-making structures. Account mapping is a compass that guides sales teams through the organizational labyrinth. By identifying the key players and their roles, sales professionals can tailor their strategies to resonate with each stakeholder, ultimately increasing the likelihood of closing deals. For instance, understanding the reporting relationships between executives, managers, and department heads allows sales teams to approach decision-makers with a more targeted and relevant pitch. This level of insight is invaluable, especially when dealing with large enterprises where decision-making processes can be protracted and involve multiple layers of approval.
  1. Building Stronger Relationships: Successful B2B sales are built on relationships, and account mapping is a powerful tool for cultivating meaningful connections. By mapping out the organizational structure, sales teams can identify individuals with significant influence or decision-making power. This information is instrumental in crafting personalized and targeted messaging that speaks directly to the concerns and priorities of each stakeholder. Account mapping helps sales professionals identify potential allies within the prospect company—individuals who may internally champion their product or service. These allies can provide valuable insights, advocate during decision-making, and help navigate internal politics.
  1. Understanding Buying Committees: In B2B sales, decisions are rarely made by a single individual. Instead, buying committees, comprised of individuals from different departments and functions, collaborate to evaluate and choose solutions. Account mapping enables sales teams to identify and understand the composition of these buying committees. Knowing who sits on the buying committee, their roles, and their priorities allows sales professionals to tailor their pitches to address the group’s diverse needs. This strategic approach significantly improves the chances of aligning the proposed solution with the collective goals and requirements of the organization.

The Account Mapping Process

Now that we understand the importance of account mapping let’s delve into the step-by-step process of creating effective account maps.

  1. Research and Data Collection: The foundation of any successful account map is accurate and up-to-date information. Sales teams should invest time in thorough research to gather data on the target company’s organizational structure, key decision-makers, and relevant influencers. This information can be sourced from various channels, including company websites, social media profiles, and industry reports. Leveraging customer relationship management (CRM) tools and other sales intelligence platforms can streamline the data collection process. These tools often provide real-time updates and insights, ensuring the account map remains current and reflects any organizational changes.
  1. Identifying Decision-Makers and Influencers: Once the initial data is collected, the next step is to identify the key decision-makers and influencers within the organization. This involves understanding the formal hierarchies and informal networks and relationships that may impact the decision-making process. Decision-makers may include C-level executives, department heads, and managers with budgetary authority. Conversely, influencers could be individuals who hold sway over specific aspects of the decision, such as technology specialists or end-users who will interact with the proposed solution.
  1. Creating Visual Account Maps: The heart of account mapping lies in its visual representation. Creating visual account maps provides a clear and concise overview of the prospect company’s organizational structure. This can be done using various tools, from traditional pen-and-paper diagrams to sophisticated CRM software with built-in mapping features. The visual account map should include names, roles, and relationships between individuals. Colour-coding or categorizing stakeholders based on their influence or decision-making power can enhance the map’s clarity. Additionally, including relevant notes or insights gathered during the research phase adds depth to the account map.
  1. Updating and Iterating: Organizational structures are dynamic, and personnel changes, promotions, or reorganizations can occur anytime. Sales teams must commit to regular updates to ensure the ongoing relevance of account maps. This involves staying informed about changes within the prospect company and revisiting account maps to reflect these updates. Iterating on account maps based on feedback from the sales team’s interactions with the prospect can also refine the accuracy of the maps over time. As sales professionals engage with stakeholders, they may uncover new relationships or influencers not initially identified during the research phase.

Best Practices for Effective Account Mapping

Now that we’ve covered the account mapping process let’s explore some best practices to maximize its effectiveness in B2B sales strategies.

  1. Collaboration Across Teams: Account mapping is a collaborative effort that requires input from various departments, including sales, marketing, and customer success. Cross-functional collaboration ensures that account maps are comprehensive and aligned with the organization’s overall strategy. For example, marketing teams can contribute valuable insights into the prospective company’s industry trends and competitive landscape. In contrast, customer success teams can share their experiences with similar accounts, highlighting potential challenges and success factors.
  1. Integration with CRM Systems: Integration with CRM systems is essential to leverage the benefits of account mapping fully. Many modern CRM platforms offer specific features for visualizing organizational hierarchies and relationships. This integration streamlines the account mapping process, allowing sales teams to incorporate these visualizations into their overall sales workflow seamlessly. CRM integration facilitates real-time updates, ensuring that account maps remain accurate and reflect the latest information about the prospective company.
  1. Continuous Training and Skill Development: Account mapping is a skill that evolves with experience and ongoing training. Providing sales teams with regular training sessions on effective account mapping techniques and updates on changes in the B2B landscape ensures that they stay ahead of the curve. Encourage a culture of continuous learning, where sales professionals share their insights and learnings from account mapping exercises. This collaborative approach fosters a dynamic and adaptive sales team capable of navigating complex organizational structures.
  1. Data Security and Compliance: As sales teams gather and utilize data for account mapping, it’s crucial to prioritize data security and compliance. Adhering to data protection regulations ensures information’s ethical and legal use, building trust with prospects and safeguarding the organization from potential legal repercussions. Implementing robust data security measures, including encryption and access controls, protects sensitive information and maintains the integrity of the account mapping process.

Account mapping is not just a one-time activity; it is an ongoing process that requires constant monitoring and updating. By creating and maintaining account maps, sales teams can gain a deeper understanding of their target accounts, identify the key decision-makers and influencers, and tailor their sales strategies accordingly. Account mapping can help sales professionals build stronger relationships, navigate complex organizational structures, and align their solutions with the buying committee’s needs. Account mapping can help sales teams close more deals, increase customer satisfaction, and grow their revenue. If you want to learn more about account mapping and how to apply it to your sales process, contact us today. We would love to hear from you and help you achieve your sales goals.