Account Planning Strategy | 2022
There are plenty of tales of salespeople who have landed big accounts by luck, accident, or simple twists of fate. But for most people who drive their success by driving their sales, there’s something bigger at play, and that’s a plan. It can’t be a plan that only takes into account new customers or just existing customers. That kind of a plan needs to maximize revenue across every avenue in a way that helps to personalize sales and grow revenue.
What’s evolved recently in account planning is the idea of not just lumping together customers based on some generic collection of factors. There are more psychographics than just demographics at play in these plans, and that helps any salesperson better adapt to the needs at a point in time of an existing or potential customer. How else do you help to create an account plan? This graphic has some ideas to get started.
How to Develop an Account Planning Strategy
Now let us dive in deeper through short explanation to better understand all the steps as depicted on the info-graphic above. Before jumping to the steps let us have a brief understanding on account planning.
What is account planning?
Generally, customer accounts are complex. Traditional sales processes, however, attempt to bucket customers based on common criteria such as industry, number of employees, overall sales, and other data points. This tends to simplify a company’s understanding of its clients. While repurposing the same sales pitch among prospects that share similar business profiles may work in turning them into opportunities won, sellers may still miss important details that could help them generate more revenue from the same account.
This is where account planning comes into play. Account planning encourages salespeople to develop a deeper understanding of each customer’s individual needs, motivations, and business situations. In turn, this empowers sales managers to find new ways to increase revenue from existing accounts. For instance, business owners should be in tune with recent organizational changes among their clients.
A customer’s office expansion or fresh round of funding may make them more receptive to the products and services you offer that can help them reach their next growth milestone faster. Details like these allow you to present proposals that have a higher likelihood of acceptance.
When businesses look at the specific challenges their clients face or the potential opportunities ahead for their customers, then they can provide solutions that are
mutually beneficial for all parties.
8 Key Steps to Account Planning
Small business owners can copy and customize any of the dozens of available account planning templates online; however, a first look at them can be overwhelming. Before you use an account planning template, it’s important you understand the key elements within.
Here are eight tasks all sales teams need to consider to complete their account planning strategy:
1. Identify your existing accounts.
First, list all your current customers. Add any details you have about them regarding their purchasing habits and company profile.
2. Calculate potential revenue and success rate.
Figure out how much more these clients may spend and the likelihood that you’ll be able to convert the new sale. You can use this information to prioritize which accounts to pursue first.
3. Determine the points of contact and decision makers.
Have a detailed understanding of the persons you have to accommodate throughout the sales process. That way you know who to address at each stage, especially since new stakeholders may be involved in each subsequent purchase order or service agreement.
4. Understand their needs and motivations.
Ask questions about each stakeholder’s goals, as well as the recent pain points they’ve experienced and the challenges they anticipate. Learn how they define success in their particular roles so you can offer the perfect product or service that can help them accomplish that. Also, investigate recent organizational developments that you can leverage to your advantage, such as budget shifts or leadership changes.
5. Compare what they want against your available product and service offerings.
In such complex sales processes, it’s important that business owners adapt their pitches to focus on the solutions that are among the highest priorities for prospects. The more insight you have on your buyer’s goals, the easier it is to speak directly to their needs with a personalized proposal and help them influence a positive purchasing decision among decision makers on their side.
6. Evaluate the competitive landscape and risks.
You should also analyze and observe external pressures your clients may be facing, such as increased competition and loss of market share. The more you know about the elements helping or hurting your customers, the easier it becomes to use that information to your advantage to trigger urgency in purchasing your proposed solutions.
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7. Define current customer concerns.
Discover each buyer’s biggest reservations about your product or service. Whether it’s price, compatibility, training, or something else entirely, it’s crucial that you know any reasons they would say no so you can find ways to make a more compelling business case.
8. Address buyer reservations and close the sale.
Use data and illustrate win-win scenarios that can help customers recognize the additional benefits your company has to offer. Help your client understand how purchasing a new solution or premium upgrade can help them achieve more of their organizational goals.
This article was prepared by salesforce team with the aim of demonstrating the best key accounting planning practices to help Small business owners and other salespeople.