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Account planning is a unique process that involves mapping out your client’s objectives and challenges, then creating a plan for achieving those goals. It’s a great way to ensure your team is constantly working together to achieve the best possible results.
Why Is Strategic Account Planning Important?
Account planning is essential for a few reasons. First, it lets you create a plan that meets your client’s needs. Second, it helps you stay on track throughout the project and ensure that the work being produced is not just great but also relevant to your client. Third, strategic account planning ensures that everyone at your company or agency understands what they need to do to meet their objectives.
Here are some tips to make sure your account planning strategy is a success:
1. Ensure the Account Plan Is a Living Document
Your account planning is not a one-time activity. Account planning is not something you create and then never revisit. It’s an ongoing process that requires regular attention to ensure that it remains relevant in the eyes of your clients, stakeholders, and team members.
Terminus’s 2021 State of Marketing Report found that 58% of organizations that have begun their account-based marketing journeys are still in the experimental phase or are still implementing processes. It is because account planning is an ongoing process that needs time to perfect.
It’s essential to regularly keep in touch with all parties involved in your account planning process to know how their needs are being met and provide feedback on how they feel about the current state of affairs.
2. Set Your Clients Up for Success
You should be able to set your clients up for success before they even walk through the door. The best way to do so is by understanding their goals and how you can help them achieve them. It’s also vital that you understand the needs of your client, the market in which they operate, and the competition. This will give you a clear idea of what your clients need and how to provide it.
You can set up your clients for success through market research, interviews with the client and their team, and an analysis of their current business strategy and performance metrics. The HubSpot Global Sales Enablement Survey found that 44% of sales leaders exceeded revenue using competitive intelligence and market data.
3. Set Individual Goals for Each Member of the Account Planning Team
Setting individual goals for each member of the account planning team is an important part of ensuring your account planning is successful.
It’s also vital that all members of your account planning team know what their goals are and understand how they fit into the overall picture. They may not work together effectively if they don’t have clear or different goals.
It’s also critical to ensure everyone is working towards the same goal, especially if multiple people are involved in creating and executing a campaign.
4. Break Larger Goals Into Smaller, More Manageable Tasks
First things first: break larger goals into smaller, more manageable tasks. This will help you stay on track and keep your eyes on the prize. Smaller goals are easier to achieve, leading to greater confidence in your team overall, as stated in this guide from HubSpot.
Set deadlines for each task and make sure they’re all measurable. This will help keep you motivated and focused on the result.
Make sure the tasks are achievable but challenging enough to require much effort. You don’t want it to be too easy! Take breaks between chunks when you need them. Don’t let yourself get burnt out!
5. Showcase Your Plan Visually
Gartner estimates that around 65% of B2B sales companies will start leveraging data-driven decision-making by 2026. This change will be enabled by technology that unites workflow, data, and analytics.
Visuals are the most effective way to drive your strategy and showcase this data. Avoid using too many different media types, however. For example, you may want to try using various images and graphs in addition to text. Just be sure not to overload your audience with too much information: no one will read it if there’s not enough white space for them!
6. Focus Consistently on Client Objectives and Underlying Motivations
The foundation of account planning is understanding your client’s objectives and motivations. A study of B2B buyers in 2020 found that 76% of respondents wanted solution providers to pay attention to their specific needs.
Objectives are the goals you’re trying to achieve, like increasing sales or gaining market share. Motivations are why a client wants those objectives. For example, a feature in a product or audience segmentation for a marketing campaign.
Whether you’re working on an existing account or starting new business development efforts, it’s critical that you understand these fundamentals early in the process. The only way to do this effectively is by asking thoughtful questions during discovery interviews: “What problems do we solve for this organization?” “Why should they choose us?” And most importantly, “What will make them happy?”
7. Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Feedback
You should never be afraid to ask for feedback. Ask your clients how you’re doing. You may be surprised at the answers or lack thereof. If a client isn’t forthcoming with praise or criticism, consider it a blessing in disguise and move on.
Ask your colleagues if they feel they’re getting what they need from you. If they do not, don’t waste another minute on this project! Ask your boss if she needs anything else from you to evaluate how well her money is being spent in the department.
Following the tips in this article, you can create an account planning strategy to help you and your clients succeed. By setting goals, keeping the plan updated, and using visual aids, you’ll be able to streamline your process for success time after time.
When you streamline the account planning process and implement all the right strategies, you can easily make it a success and grow big accounts to generate more revenue for your business.