How To Do Account Mapping In 5 Simple Steps + Examples

Account Mapping

You think you have it all figured out. Then you get into the pitch. The first time you managed to get all 8 stakeholders in the same room. Your pitch is geared towards the decision maker and a key influencer.

You kick-off.

What’s this? A power shift. You weren’t expecting that. The main decision maker is taking their lead from someone you had down as a supporter.

Questions fly. You can see the frustration on the ‘supporters’ face. It oozes across the room and onto everyone else’s face.

True story – that was me a few years back before I had much sales experience, it wasn’t pretty. But how do I solve it now? Every time?

Account Maps.

What is Account Mapping?

Account mapping is the process of visualizing and documenting the organizational structure, key stakeholders, and decision-making dynamics within your target accounts.

It involves creating a comprehensive map that outlines the relationships, roles, and responsibilities of individuals who influence the purchasing process. It can be a challenge if you work in complex sales, such as Enterprise B2B SaaS (like me), but it can shine a light on areas you need to develop to sure up the sale.

If you understand the complex web of connections and dynamics within your target accounts, you can then map out your best path to sale. Then you focus on that!

Image showing person navigating best path to sale

Why is Account Mapping Important: 5 Major Reasons

So why bother? There is a stack of reasons why sales account mapping will help you sell more but here are my top 5.

1. Showing Interest

I bet there has been a time when you call up a prospect or hold an initial meeting and it all just seems a bit generic. The prospect feels this, you feel this and it’s just not a great meeting at the end of it. Usually, it’s when you start from a blank canvas and haven’t done any homework.

But when you start off with mapping out an account, you will already have some solid info, and some solid questions to ask. That will get the conversation flowing. This focus helps to show genuine interest in your prospect and their company, right out the gate.

2. Decision Makers (and Blockers!)

This is essential in any account mapping process. At the end of the day, you want access to key decision-makers and influencers. Once you have it, you can strategically build relationships, adapt your pitch, and smoothly navigate the organizational maze to seal the deal.

Don’t forget to work out who the blockers are. I know from my own sales experience they can literally kill the deal. Get. Them. On. Side.

Image showing many people saying yes but an important one saying no and deal is off

3. Diversify Your Contact Base

Relying on a single point of contact in a company is like juggling flaming torches – it’s super risky.

An account map allows you to know where to expand your network and create backup options. By connecting with multiple stakeholders, you’ll gain a deeper understanding of the company’s needs and increase your chances of sealing the deal.

Every call I have with a target prospect, I set out to understand at least one new nuance or relationship.

4. Getting Personalized

Account maps mean you can customize your sales pitch to address your prospect’s pain points. By understanding the internal structure and specific challenges of your prospect’s organization, you’ll tailor your pitch to hit the bullseye, for each person that matters.

You can even leverage AI prospecting software to help take the pain away from you on this one. Get personalized without trawling through loads of social media feeds or company blogs, it works a treat!

5. Improves Sales Success

Account maps have helped me boost my sales success and hit quota every year. They help me to stay focussed on the right relationships and understand all the nuances of human behavior within my target accounts.

When used right they can also help collaborate with internal teams, share customer insights, and streamline the account delivery process. You can also use the map to reduce administrative overload, train new hires effectively, coach sales reps, and bring a sales pursuit team up to speed far more easily.

What Should be Included in an Account Map?

So now we know an account map is of mega use in our sales process, what should be on it?

This is always my starting point.

  • Title and Role: This goes beyond just knowing their job title. Understand their position, department, and level within the company. This helps to comprehend the overall structure of the organization.
  • Name and Photo: In the realm of business relationships, names are power. Ensure you have the correct names of your contacts and match them with the right faces. Adding faces really helped me, not sure why, but it did!
  • Contact Information: This includes their work phone, email, LinkedIn profile, and any other relevant communication channels.
  • Location: For businesses with a global footprint, it’s important to know where your contacts are located.
  • Organizational Relationships: This is a little harder to find out but it is the foundation of the account map. It’s the difference between an org chart and an account map.
  • Goals and Skills: This might seem informal, but understanding the personal goals and skills of your contacts can help you tailor your communication for maximum impact.

Remember, the main role of an account map is to provide a quick, efficient overview of the prospect’s organization to identify the best path to sale.

Image showing what to include in an account map

5 Simple Steps to Create Account Maps You Can Trust

Step 1: Identify Your High-Value Accounts

When starting on your account mapping journey, the first step is identifying your top target accounts. These accounts represent the highest potential value to your organization, and therefore, demand a greater proportion of your attention and resources.

If you don’t have any AI to help with prospecting then you will be on your own, old school!

Here are some key components of this process:

  1. Define the Ideal Customer Profile (ICP): An ICP is not a luxury, but a necessity. It’s the blueprint that outlines the characteristics of your most valuable and suitable customers. If you don’t have this nailed already, stop reading and do it now! You can use ChatGPT to help.
  2. Apply the ICP to Your Existing Accounts: Once your ICP is well-defined, use it as a filter to sift through your existing accounts. You’re looking for accounts that match your ICP, indicating high potential for growth and alignment with your business objectives.
  3. Generate a Target Account List (TAL): Based on your ICP analysis, create a TAL. This list becomes the cornerstone of your account mapping process. It’s like your personal to-do list. All your sales focus will be on these – if it drifts, kick yourself and get back to it!
  4. Prioritize Your Targets: Even within your TAL, some accounts will hold more potential than others. This can be tough to do but use metrics like opportunity value, challenges you see in the market, company news, senior management churn, strategic value, ability to sell via reference, and so on.

Once you have done this, you will know that your account mapping efforts will be focused on the right targets.

Step 2: Create an Organizational Chart

Once you’ve identified your top targets, it’s time to map out their internal structure. You’re essentially playing detective here, it can be tough but it’s the visual foundation of your account map. The first thing to do is get some data!

Pro Tip: If you have an existing relationship, then just ask them if they can share an org chart so you can understand who’s who. This works a surprising amount of times!

  1. Data Collection: Time to roll up your sleeves and dive into research on this one. I know us sales reps don’t like desk work. I would rather be selling (or on the golf course) but this does facilitate both more often! LinkedIn is your best friend here. Use Sales Navigator to uncover the structure of your target company. It might feel like a grind, but it’s well worth it, trust me!
  2. Create the Chart: Once you have some stakeholders, use a tool like Lucidchart or your existing CRM to plot this information visually. For example, in Salesforce you can nest accounts and start to build the organization’s reporting structure. If you don’t have any sales tools for this, then jump into a blank document and get drawing some shapes!
  3. Scope: Keep it relevant. If the organization is a mammoth, focus on the departments that are most likely to buy your product or service. You’re not creating a company directory, just a map to guide your sales efforts.

Remember, your org chart is the beginning of your game plan – it’ll guide your every move as you navigate through your target accounts so don’t fast-forward this step.

Here’s an example I put together.

Example organization chart

Step 3: Add Your Sales Information

Now that you’ve built the framework with your org chart, it’s time to inject some life into it with your sales data. This is the meat of your map, detailing who’s who in the purchasing process.

  1. Harvest Data: Start with your CRM – this is a goldmine of information about your contacts. Dig deep into their history with your product. Their professional, and sometimes personal, profiles can reveal invaluable insights about their role in the decision-making process.
  2. Label Contacts: Tag individuals based on their role in the buying process. Are they a supporter, blocker, influencer or decision-maker? Color coding can be a swift visual cue here.
  3. CRM Meets Org Chart: Some account mapping software can visually represent these dynamics right within your org chart. Look out for features like dotted lines for influence, color-coded affinity markers, and power meters to represent decision-making capacity. This can really help and save you a stack of time doing it manually.

The power here is the information. Use your CRM and account mapping tool to load your org chart with insights to put you in the driver’s seat. Make sure you identify key decision-makers. This is the absolute minimum you need. If you use a tool like Attention to update your CRM, you will have a huge advantage in this step!

True Story

I once dug into social media for a top target and I uncovered that the ultimate decision-maker and one of the key influencers played Golf together. Luckily I also played Golf! I suggested bringing my clubs on my next trip – the deal closed a few months later!

Step 4: Determine Your Best Path to Sale

Armed with your data-laden org chart, it’s time to strategize. Remember, sales isn’t a straightforward journey, and purchasing decisions often veer from the hierarchy. Your map is your guide to navigating this.

  1. Identify Key Players: First, pinpoint who holds the real buying power. It’s not always the top brass, I can tell you that from experience (don’t ask!). Look at your mapped roles and relationships to discern where decisions are made.
  2. Find The Influencers: Not everyone will be on board from the get-go. But that’s okay. Your job is to figure out who can sway the skeptics. Your map can reveal relationships that will help you build consensus.
  3. Map The Path: You’ve got the intel, now plot your best path to sale. Consider who to approach first, which objections you’ll likely encounter, and how you’ll handle them.

Once you have added your sales information, you should have something like this. Now you know what relationships you need to build, who is in who’s here and where you can get the influence you need to win the deal.

Example account map

Step 5: Keep the Account Map Updated

There’s only one thing certain in sales and that’s change. Roles shift, people move, and relationship dynamics evolve. This fluidity is why keeping your account map updated is absolutely crucial.

  1. Stay In The Loop: New contacts, decision-makers, or changes in your account should be promptly added to your map. Keep tabs on role changes, promotions, or departures within your target accounts. This way, your map remains an accurate reflection of your prospects.
  2. Make It Collaborative: As your connection with an account deepens, invite your account management, delivery, and marketing team to contribute. Their insights and updates are valuable to keep your sales team informed and your map current.

Remember, an outdated map is like an obsolete GPS. Keep yours refreshed to navigate the ever-changing landscape of your target accounts successfully.

Individual vs. Partner Account Mapping

When starting on your account mapping journey, you have two prime pathways: Individual or Partner Account Mapping. Here’s a swift breakdown of both:

  1. Individual Account Mapping: Here, you shoulder the task of creating account maps single-handedly. You collect data, design maps, and strategize your sales approach alone. While this offers full control, it can be time-intensive and limit your perspective to internal insights only.
  2. Partner Account Mapping: This approach enables collaborative map creation with partners who are also targeting the same organizations. This works great when selling to enterprise organizations. It’s all about shared intelligence and leveraging collective knowledge to enhance your sales efforts. This approach, enabled by platforms like Reveal, allows you to tap into wider networks, shared contacts, and rich partner insights to design your maps.

Both methods have their merits, but Partner Account Mapping could be your winning ticket in a highly competitive sales landscape.

Key Considerations For Creating Successful Account Maps

To create successful account maps, consider the following key considerations:

  1. Research: Thoroughly research your target accounts to gather accurate and up-to-date information.
  2. Collaboration: Involve all your sales teams in the account mapping process to leverage their expertise and insights. I found a monthly sharing session really valuable on this.
  3. Relevance: Ensure that the information in your account maps is relevant and aligned with your business objectives and strategies. Don’t just add it because you found it!
  4. Regular Updates: Continuously update your account maps to reflect changes in organizational structures, personnel, and market dynamics.
  5. Integration: Integrate your account maps with your customer relationship management (CRM) system if you can. This will help with the tracking and management of account-related information.

Alternatives to Account Mapping

While account mapping is a powerful strategy, there are alternative approaches that can complement or replace it in certain situations. These alternatives include:

  1. Persona Mapping: Instead of focusing on individual accounts, you can create buyer personas that represent your target audience segments. This approach allows you to tailor your messaging and offerings to specific groups of individuals with similar needs and preferences. It’s simpler but doesn’t put the jigsaw together.
  2. Research: Some sales professionals sell to less complex organizations and have a short sales cycle. If that’s you, then just carrying out some research might be enough. If you only have one or two buyer stakeholders, an account map will be overkill!
  3. Customer Surveys: Engaging directly with your customers through surveys can help you gather feedback, understand their needs, and identify opportunities for improvement. This approach can provide valuable insights without the need for detailed account mapping.


How to map and profile key accounts

Identify high-value targets based on your Ideal Customer Profile (ICP). Add relevant data from your CRM, visualize relationships, identify sales paths, and continuously update your map.

How to create a visual account map

Use tools like Lucidchart or Org Chart Software to plot your key accounts. Add hierarchy details, sales info, and relationship dynamics. You can also use Google Slides or MS Powerpoint to build your map from scratch if you don’t have specific software. Make sure you update as dynamics change.

Final Thoughts

As a sales rep, mapping key accounts isn’t just another task—it’s one of my strategic weapons. Yes, it takes time to do. But when selling to the largest organizations in the world, it’s a must.

The methodical, visual approach shared here feeds into your sales qualification framework. This makes sure you are always investing your time in the most lucrative opportunities that have the highest chance of success.

This isn’t just about closing more deals, it’s about smarter selling all-round.

Similar Posts