As mentioned before, Account Planning is a critical part of the selling process to be able to:
- Understand your clients’ objectives and priorities.
- Understand your positioning with your clients – your competitive positioning and the value you give to them.
- Proactively identify areas of growth for your clients.
- Identify innovative and big opportunities to help your clients achieve their objectives.
- Set account growth strategies by creating and executing specific action plans.
The first step of effective Account Planning is to target the right clients. We don’t usually have enough capacity to pursue all potential clients. If we go after the “wrong” ones, our success rate (win rate/close ratio) will dramatically decrease.
Targeting the right client is based on the following proven disciplined approach to target selection. Basically, we should categorize our clients according to:
- Tier 1: existing top clients who we can influence and with whom we have a trusted relationship. We can aspire to obtain a high percentage of our net revenue from them. Our business development will principally be invested in these clients.
- Tier 2: sustained sales activity with these clients and with whom we can possibly originate new areas of growth.
- Opportunistic: clients with limited or no sales activity. These clients have an “opportunistic antenna” and are not to be targeted.
Targeting the right client means to target Tier-1 and/or Tier-2 clients.
We should develop Account Plans for Tier 1 clients and Tier-2 clients.
Account Planning consists of 4 different activities as described below:
- Gaining client insight: understanding your client’s facts and business imperatives.
- Defining account strategy: financial growth strategy, big opportunities, our positioning and share of the wallet compared to competitors, and our positioning on the power map.
- Defining action plans: to improve relationships, to beat competitors and to create, identify and win big opportunities.
- Living the plan: carry out action plans, conduct regular team calls or visits, track progress against the plan and implement subsequent plan improvements if necessary.
You can find more information on this here