Best Practices for Developing an Account Planning Strategy
Sales account planning is a very indispensable step to make your business future ready. It also helps to manage your customers very productively and generate more revenue.
You need to have an action plan that can outline the sales account planning process. The main objective of any sales account planning is to develop a customized sales approach that can maximize each customer’s potential and also build a strong relationship with them.
A good account planning strategy can provide a specific roadmap for the sales team, listing clear steps from the initial point of contact with a prospective client to the ensuing deal closure. But, how can we identify a good account planning strategy?
In this article, we will discuss what account planning is, and how you can develop a winning strategy to develop a good sales plan to win every time.
Understanding the Importance of Account Planning
There are a plethora of reasons why many companies struggle with effective sales account management. The first one is that technological innovation has changed the situation across various departments and industries and account management has also changed with it.
This as a result has made the companies that weren’t able to keep up with the change in account management trends suffer. Apart from technological shifts, there is also another reason why some companies strain themselves with functional SAMs (Strategic Account Management). Besides that, there are various cash flow tools for financial planning for business to manage and operate cash flows.
The main solution for effective sales account management lies within sound sales account planning. Many companies will either ignore or do account planning just for the sake of it without even having a clear understanding of what its purpose is or what the resulting outcome will entail.
Without well-planned and effective account planning, account managers will be simply unable to create the kind of impression that they want to have on their clients. A better understanding of the role account planning has and how it impacts revenues and relationships with any business becomes very important.
What Makes a Good Account Plan?
The role of a good account plan is to be a guide for businesses and companies to manage and grow a customer account successfully. A sales account plan must provide a complete overview of the customer’s business, including its goals, issues, and future revenue potential. It should also help identify any problems or concerns that the customer can face and outline the steps needed to solve them.
To create a good sales account plan, businesses will have to start by using a strategic account planning template as a guide. This template must have key sections like executive summary, business overview, customer profile (customer issues, opportunities, and revenue potential) as well as sales strategies that can help achieve the customer’s goals.
When developing an account plan, it becomes imperative for us to focus on the customers and needs specifically and tailor a customized plan to address the customer’s unique goals and opportunities. This method may require thorough research and analysis of the customer’s unique challenges and opportunities.
Another key factor that can make a good account plan is the involvement of key management resources. These resources must include the account team which consists of representatives from different departments like sales, marketing, and customer service. The involvement of these resources can ensure that the account plan is very extensive and can be adhered to the client’s specific and unique needs and requirements.
Finally, a good account plan must also include clear and measurable targets that align with the customer’s specific goals. These objectives should be specific, measurable, and attainable within the relevant time limit.
Establishing Key Account Goals and Objectives
The account planning process is one of the fundamental ingredients of a healthy sales organization. This process involves a series of steps that need very careful planning, research, and analysis to develop key account plans that can meet the client’s unique needs and concerns.
The very first step in any sales account planning is the research and analysis stage. Here you gather as much data and information about the client as you possibly can. This includes information about the client’s business including their key business initiatives, challenges, and opportunities. You need to use the gathered information during this stage to come up with a sales strategy that is specifically tailored to the client’s needs and objectives.
Once you have the Account profile in hand, next comes the Strategy Development phase. During this stage, the sales team will have to work and develop a sales strategy that is tailored to the client’s needs and objectives. This will usually include a very specific set of account plans that are designed to meet and address the needs and issues of the client.
Lastly, there is the execution phase. This stage involves working with the customer to introduce key elements in the account plan and drive more forward sales. To make successful execution and meet all the milestones of the plan, the sales account team will have to work very closely with the clients.
Using Technology for Effective Account Planning
With the advancements in technology, keeping up with the needs of clients has become more complex and confusing. To support such an account planning process, many organizations now use CRM tools that will support salesforce to keep up with the demands.
These tools can help sales teams to streamline their account planning, in the process making it easy to manage multiple accounts and increase sales growth. When all the client information and requirements are stored within a single place, sellers can easily access it and meet their client’s needs in a more faster and efficient manner.
Account planning is a very core component of the sales process that can help businesses close larger deals more quickly and efficiently. By following the steps which include research and analysis, account profiling, strategy development, and plan execution, a sales team can effectively develop key account plans that can meet their respective client needs.
With the right kinds of tools and processes in place, a sales account team can maximize the success rates of their accounts planning processes and also achieve their sales goals.
Effective use of technology can play a vital role in account planning by helping the sales team identify potential clients’ needs, storing all data in one place, and also helping us manage multiple leads more efficiently.
Finally, developing effective sales account planning can bring in several benefits. Following these best practices a business can develop effective account plans that can maximize opportunities and achieve success.