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Account planning – a systemised approach

Saturday, December 6th, 2014

Why do you need Account Planning?

– Account planning (or account management) provides a structured way for you to manage the development of an existing or target customer relationship
– The aim is to increase or protect the sales from that account
– It ensures that you capture the information essential to developing the relationship and increasing sales
– It ensures that objectives are put in place for developing the account so that you can turn the desire into action
– If you manage a sales team it is a way of communicating and discussing the development of their accounts and tracking progress

How do you implement Account Planning?

– Generally you will apply account management only to your category A accounts. If you haven’t yet done so, categorise your accounts (by potential spend and cost to serve) into categories A, B, C and D
– Create a template account plan for use on each account. The plan should show size and growth of the target company over the last 2-3 years and your sales to them over the same period
– It should summarise the target’s strategy and their target markets. This demonstrates the salesperson’s knowledge of the account and provides a context for their marketing and sales communications
– The account plan should define what you consider to be 100% penetration
o For an accountant this might be doing statutory returns, payroll, tax advice and management accounts
o For an IT company this might be having all desktops under a support contract
– The plan should set out objectives to achieve the desired penetration or to hold what you have
– Note that the account plan should avoid duplicating the information you record in your sales or CRM system such as contact details and activity records. The account plan can be scanned and held against the CRM record if necessary

How do you use Account Planning

– Each account plan should be reviewed and updated quarterly
– Objectives should be assigned to individual salespeople and progress monitored during these reviews

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