A Simple Guide to Book Analysis with Examples

Book analysis underpins everything you do in your revenue organization. The information you uncover from book analysis can help your organization avoid misalignment between sales, marketing, and customer success teams, while making needed process updates faster. Discover how to make book analysis as seamless as possible so you can focus on taking action.
Picture of Josh McClanahan

Josh McClanahan

Founder & CEO

A Simple Guide to Book Analysis with Examples

Related Content

Never miss new content

Subscribe to keep up with the latest news in book management.

Far too many revenue teams take a set-it-and-forget-it approach to book analysis, or in too many cases avoid it altogether. But the sooner you prioritize ongoing book analysis, the sooner you’ll move beyond simply collecting data in your CRM to providing the strategic, data-backed insights that will propel your company’s growth.

These exercises give you a detailed look at every rep’s book size and variance in book construction to help find opportunities to improve consistency, equity, and visibility in the book-building process. 

Ensuring your analysis and prioritization cycles are agile enough to keep up as your business grows is critical. Start transforming (or initiating) your book analysis process now so you can understand not only who your team is spending time with on a monthly/quarterly basis – but also how that time spent is impacting growth and what you can do to make improvements.

Table of Contents

  • What is Book Analysis?
  • Why Book Analysis Is Crucial For Growth?
  • 3 Examples of Book Analysis Use Cases
  • 3 Steps To The Book Analysis Process
  • Book Analysis With AccountAim

What is Book Analysis?

Book Analysis is a way to assess all of the accounts and activities your team is engaging with across your business to see whether you are spending time focusing on your top customer accounts or not. The more information you collect from a book analysis, the easier it is to spot the early signs of misalignment across marketing, sales, and customer success that naturally arise as your team grows and processes change.

Conducting regular book analysis is a great way to improve a company’s revenue predictability. While many organizations are focused on active opportunities within the quarter, book analysis helps you stay on track over the long term with your bookings and conversion goals. By periodically analyzing your team’s books, you’ll always know where success is coming from and whether your revenue team is headed in the right direction.

Why Book Analysis Is Crucial for Growth

Book analysis is crucial for startups and enterprise businesses alike because it helps you engage with your top prospects and customers, aligns your revenue teams, and gives the entire team a channel to voice feedback.

Ensure Top Accounts Are Prioritized

One of the top reasons book analysis is so important is that it helps you ensure your top accounts, both prospects and customers alike, are consistently engaged with. While in the growth stage, many revenue organizations have a hard time staying on top of all the prospects and customers they are interacting with. As new folks join the organization, they often find it tough to even know who are their top accounts and where they should be spending their time.

Once the organization beings to scale and mature, it is very likely that the criteria for what makes a top account will change. Or that top accounts vary from segment to segment or product to product.

A proactive approach to book analysis is a great way to make sure these changes are captured and communicated throughout your organization. 

Align Your Revenue Organization

Despite their best efforts, getting to and maintaining alignment across the entire revenue organization remains one of the greatest challenges most will face. Book analysis can help highlight where common discrepancies arise.

Are the segments that marketing is targeting actually converting into sales qualified deals? Are SDRs and AEs seeing success outside of the agreed-upon ICP? Are the customers with the highest retention and most usage on the platform known and being shared with marketing and sales to improve their targeting? 

Book analysis is a great litmus test for measuring whether the entire organization is actually working in unison or just saying that they are.

Maintain Employee Morale

Unfortunately in many organizations, the approach to territory planning, account allocation, and book management is done in siloes. This can lead to issues like book imbalances, a lack of understanding of what makes a good customer, and a disconnect between customer-facing reps and operations teams.

Book analysis unlocks the ability to collaborate more effectively across the revenue organization. Done properly, book analysis combines the best pieces of quantitative analysis traditionally done by RevOps and SalesOps teams with direct feedback from the customer-facing individuals within the organization. 

3 Examples of Book Analysis Use Cases

The fundamental benefit of book analysis is the ability to clearly understand which accounts are being prioritized and engaged with across the entire revenue organization.

Some of the most common applications of book analysis for scaling businesses include territory planning, new rep onboarding, and headcount planning. 

Territory Planning

Historically, territory planning was the process of dividing accounts into groups based on their physical location. Reps were then assigned to accounts near the location where they lived or were stationed so that they could see more prospects and customers within a single day or week.

Today, with the increased rise of inside sales teams, more and more organizations are finding geographic territories to be less meaningful and too restrictive, instead preferring to take a more vertical-based approach that better aligns reps to their domain expertise versus their physical location.

Regardless of whether the team takes a geographic or vertical territory approach, each rep ultimately decides how they want to prioritize their time and effort within their patch. Reps can use book analysis to help inform which accounts within their territory or book they should be spending their time with. Managers can use book analysis to better monitor the performance of their entire team.

In larger organizations, territory planning is typically done on an annual basis. But more nimble companies can benefit from taking a more frequent approach, whether that is quarterly or monthly given how much their business is changing in such a short period. It is important to find the balance and frequency that best fits where your organization is at today. 

Account Allocation

Account Allocation refers to the number and type of accounts that are assigned to reps. Going hand-in-hand with territory planning, expect account allocation to vary more in the early days and progressively stabilize as your organization matures.

Book analysis can help determine the right number of accounts and types of accounts that each rep manages. Several factors go into determining what the appropriate number of accounts a single rep can handle including their role (presales versus postsales versus both), the segment of customers they are working with (SMB versus enterprise), and their experience level.

Account allocation can be used as a leading indicator to uncover potential issues as your team grows. If your reps are consistently finding themselves over-allocated and owning too many accounts, the level of time and attention they can put on any single account diminishes. It may be time to start looking at bringing in additional headcount to support and/or starting to look for more ways to automate processes so reps can handle more accounts at a time.

Long-Term GTM Strategy

For a number of economic reasons, most B2B organizations’ long-term strategies consist of moving upmarket and working with larger, more established organizations. But most startups approach moving upmarket in an ad-hoc way that ends up doing more harm than good.

Book analysis can be a quick way of helping organizations identify how far along their upmarket journey they are, as it provides a clear picture of the company’s current focus at any point in time and tells you whether your performance matches up to your original goal. 

It can also be used to more rapidly experiment across different customer segments or verticals. Systematic, rapid testing can help give clearer insights into where performance is exceeding expectations to double down. And also provides visibility into where additional time and attention is needed to ensure you are making progress towards your long-term goals.

3 Steps of the Book Analysis Process

With the right process, book analysis doesn’t have to be painful. If you keep the process simple, you can reap the benefits of book analysis without the headache most teams endure.

As mentioned above, there are a lot of benefits to taking a more proactive approach to book management. Most rapidly growing startups and enterprises alike find an annual review process doesn’t keep up with the pace of change within their organization. Quarterly or monthly reviews can help teams leverage the momentum they are seeing.

1. Decide on a Review Schedule

One of the biggest missteps to avoid is not aligning your review schedule with the time you will take action. While daily or weekly book analysis can be helpful, without a dedicated book management tool this process can be time-consuming and error-prone. Keeping to a consistent schedule that aligns your operations and customer-facing reps will pay dividends in short order.

2. Measure Performance

Once your review process has been determined, you can start diving deeper into the numbers and qualitative feedback. During this analysis, make note of any unexpected results – both good and bad.

Say every Account Executive was assigned 200 accounts at the beginning of the quarter but was only able to engage with 120 of them. In this case, you have an account variance of 80 accounts. You are now at a point where you can start to better determine the true capacity level of your team.  This can be particularly helpful as you prepare for future headcount needs to align with your overall revenue goals.

Within the 120 accounts that the AE engaged with, how many of them are within your Ideal Customer Profile (ICP). Ideally, your reps are spending their time laser-focused on their top accounts. In the 80 that weren’t engaged, how many fit your ICP and were ready to purchase if they had been engaged with?

As you go through your book analysis, be sure to keep an eye out for book drift. Book drift is a measure of how frequently and how far away the accounts being actually engaged with are from your ICP. In growing organizations some book drift is inevitable, but it’s important to understand the root cause of why it is happening 

3. Make Updates As Needed

The next step in the book analysis process is to leverage the findings from the previous step to make any changes. Common changes include increasing or decreasing the number of accounts in each book, introducing new segments, removing low-performing accounts or those without engagement, and more.

Reviewing your Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) may be needed if you begin finding success in new market segments or with new buyer personas. Similarly, if your team is seeing a lot of book drift it might be a sign of either misalignment on the definition of your ICP or time to make a change.

Book changes can be made along a spectrum of timelines. For organizations that are seeing material performance issues or misalignment, a complete overhaul of books may be necessary. In the long term most organizations should be following a glide path of changes. Refine what is working today and methodically make changes as required to meet your long-term goals, while minimizing disruption.

Book Analysis With AccountAim

As mentioned earlier, one of the biggest challenges is how time-consuming and resource-intensive it can be. Most revenue organizations are still relying on stitching together data from their CRM and other sources into spreadsheets. 

But with the number of different ways to slice and dice the analysis coupled with involvement from stakeholders across departments, the resulting headache leads to abandoning the process altogether. The company is left with dozens of different processes as each rep tackles the same problem in different ways.

AccountAim syncs with your CRM, data enrichment providers, and data warehouse to centralize the data needed to ensure your top accounts are always being engaged. AccountAim couples the benefit of traditional business intelligence tools like Tableau and Looker with actionable workflows purpose-built for book management and territory planning.

Want help spotting book issues, so your team can spend more time engaging with your best customers and prospects? Request a demo with AccountAim today.

Ready to get started?