Sales POP - Purveyors of Propserity
The Vital Importance of Account Planning
Blog / Sales Management / Mar 21, 2021 / Posted by Nikolaus Kimla / 262 

The Vital Importance of Account Planning

0 comments

An extremely important aspect of account management is the strategic aspect, the plans of dealing with various accounts.

I recently discovered through research just how much of an impact real account planning can have on company success. 93 percent of all world-class sales organizations have long-term objectives with regard to their key accounts. In businesses as a whole, though, over 60 percent do not even engage in account planning.

Interestingly, with the advent of SaaS businesses, the focus has turned almost exclusively to methods for reducing churn rates (the rate at which customers drop off), instead of real account planning. This is so true that Pipeliner CRM is one of very few CRM solutions that empower real account management, without an additional module.

Real account planning is a systematic framework for mapping out how you’re going to continuously care for your best clients and their revenue possibilities for the future.

Such planning must include research and a decent amount of prediction. For example, a year ago your key accounts might have been airlines. As of January 2020, everything looked good—but shortly thereafter Covid-19 came along and crashed the potential revenue from airlines.

Account Planning Basics

There are already variables that are part of account management, and these variables dictate how accounts are organized and prioritized. Every company has its own criteria for what makes an account a high-priority account, factors such as size, revenue, length of time that account has been an account for your company, and potential for the future. That categorization, of course, is where account planning begins—account planning cannot be done without it.

Another fundamental of account planning lies in the understanding of where revenue is coming from. At the beginning of the year, you look at where revenue came from last year, and where it is coming from this year. For account planning purposes, we’re talking about the revenue that comes from sales to existing customers. To assist in figuring this out, you’d have to estimate your churn rate, by perhaps calculating it over the last 2 or 3 years, so that you could modify your predicted revenue from existing accounts. You basically need to establish sales from existing customers minus the churn rate.

Another factor is how existing accounts figure into “net new sales.” While this category basically means new customer acquisition, it also needs to include cross-selling and up-selling to existing accounts. Note that this could even include winning new customers, and then cross- or up-selling to them within the same year.

Yet another factor is net growth from existing accounts, such as that from price increases.

Where Do I Stand?

As you start, you need to know exactly where you stand with each of your existing accounts. You need to answer questions for each account such as:

  • Does that account truly have growth potential?
  • How much revenue did that account produce last year?
  • Can that account be enlarged?

Note that salespeople need to answer such questions right in CRM where others can view this information—it’s not enough for it to exist only within the salesperson’s mind. Such transparency is the only thing that makes it possible to integrate account strategies and reach the company goal.

Planning Specifics

Each account management sales rep should conduct the planning for each of their accounts. From figuring out where things stand for each account, the rep should then look forward to the actions they should take for each of those accounts. In my opinion, too many companies do not really establish company goals that connect accounts with the reps. Creating a future for each account does take a good amount of creative energy, and the result should be a road map to take you there.

Included in this planning should be high customer satisfaction. You cannot possibly hope to grow an account that isn’t satisfied—for if they’re not satisfied, they won’t be very willing to bring you more business.

In planning, it helps to work back from the goal. For example, if you want to increase a particular account by 10 to 15 percent this year, how exactly are you going to do that? Based on what data?

Once the data has been established, you then need to break it down into reality. You might have had this account for a couple of years, and they’re doing well. Perhaps they have received a fresh injection of capital and they’re growing.

Proactive Plan

Of course, now that you have this information, you can’t just call them up and say, “Hey, you guys! You’ve got money! How much of that do you want to spend with me?”

This is where a strategy comes in, and from that strategy, you need to develop a proactive action plan. Examine the challenges this customer is facing, and which of these your product or service will address and help.

You could then engage the customer by informing them that you, with your product and service, could be helpful in particular areas. You very well might see ways to help them that they themselves haven’t even realized—that would be ideal.

As you can see, this kind of interaction with the client involves far more than getting them to reach out to you for, as an example, more licenses. You can bring them not only a special offer, but a road map to truly assist them in their growth.

Multi-Branch Companies

A special kind of account planning comes into play when you’re dealing with a company that has multiple branches. Often you’re dealing with one particular branch, and you as a company have decided that you want to reach out to others.

First, you should utilize the branch you are already doing business with as an advocate for you, with other branches. Even with that advocacy, though, these other branches won’t automatically accept your product or service. You’ll still have to treat them as their own entities. A new branch, which in many ways is a new customer, may not have the same faith in your product or service as their sister branch, and they must be convinced.

With multi-branch companies, and with all companies—real account planning is the only way for a company to reach true success.

About Author

A 30-year veteran of the computer industry, Nikolaus has founded and run several software companies. He and his company uptime iTechnology are the developers of World-Check, a risk intelligence platform eventually sold to Thomson Reuters for $520 million. He is currently the founder and CEO of Pipelinersales, Inc., developer and publisher of Pipeliner CRM, the first CRM application aimed squarely at actually empowering salespeople. Also a prolific writer, Nikolaus has authored over 100 ebooks, articles, and white papers addressing the subjects of sales management, leadership and sales itself.

Author's Publications on Amazon

This is a practical manual covering the vital subject of Sales Management. I firmly believe that sales are the most important profession for dealing with today’s turbulent world and Econo my, for salespeople create wealth and produce peace. But salespeople need a competent, stable leader—and…
Buy on Amazon
Inside this eBook, you’ll discover a series of chapters dedicated to some of the most important areas facing sales today. From the sales process definition to measurement, lead generation, and proven sales techniques, this comprehensive eBook will provide you with the information you need to…
Buy on Amazon
A common term in sales today is EQ, which stands for “emotional I.Q.” It means the skill a salesperson has in reading emotions and utilizing them in sales. It means empathy and a number of other abilities. The short version is, it’s an I.Q. when…
Buy on Amazon
People are smart to question the future of automation, for it has become part of everything we do. With the quantity of applications and technology around us, we yet still crave more. We become convinced of its power when our package is delivered from Amazon…
Buy on Amazon
Sales management isn’t a simple subject by any means. But at the same time, it does have some basic and somewhat simple fundamentals—and that is what we are bringing to you with this book. First come pain points of sales management, and how to overcome…
Buy on Amazon
Today the Internet has transformed a seller's market into a buyer's market and author Nikolaus Kimla states that the role of sales has never been more crucial. It is now time to give salespeople the role they factually can play: entrepreneurs within the enterprise. They…
Buy on Amazon
This is our public declaration of the intentions behind Pipeliner, and our objectives and motives for the product and for our company. Behind the development of that CRM application and, in fact, behind everything we do, we have a real cause. The story begins with…
Buy on Amazon
For the future, there must be a perfect balance of humans and technology. You have to have the perfect technology, andthen the perfect human being in application, performance and presentation. Today and into the future, it’s a 50-50 balance. In the past it was perhaps…
Buy on Amazon
The salespreneur is based on the concept of the entrepreneur. Before we can explain the salespreneur, you have to have some understanding of the entrepreneur. The entrepreneur plays a crucial role in any economic system. The entrepreneur seeks out information that can be utilized for…
Buy on Amazon
A seasoned captain would never leave port without a competent navigator. In a similar way, a sales manager might be a total ace at "commanding the ship" – at inspiring and coaching sales reps, pointing out and getting agreement on making quotas, and keeping everyone's…
Buy on Amazon
Comments

..
..
This website uses cookies. By continuing to use this website you are giving consent to cookies being used. For information on cookies and how you can disable them, visit our privacy and cookie policy.