Poor account planning can derail your entire sales strategy. Here are six exercises to build more business relevant account plans:
- Develop your value statement. Who is your value statement about, you or your customer? Your plan needs to accurately reflect the customer’s priorities and business drivers.
- Target key business units. Do you have a solid understanding of your customer’s business structure? For example, do you know what units are stars, which are cash cows, and those to avoid? Before you develop your sales strategy, pinpoint your customer’s target business units.
- Identify potential solutions. Do you know enough about your customer’s strategic initiatives to credibly align your solution to the customer’s needs? A successful account plan goes beyond describing your products; it presents your solution in the context of the positive business change it will deliver.
- Motivate executive sponsorship. Do you understand what motivates the executives you’re targeting? Have you read the executive compensation section of the customer’s proxy to get a sense of their financial incentives? Use this information to gain an executive’s personal sponsorship of your solution.
- Identify meaningful metrics Quantify impact and ROI Metrics are crucial to an effective plan, so you need to make sure you’ve identified metrics that are meaningful to your customer. Have you cross-referenced against industry metrics, such as those covered by the analyst community? You may also find useful insights in recent management presentations to the investor community.
- Determine past value. Take a look at your account from an historic perspective. Is there an opportunity to assist your customer and jointly conduct an ROI assessment of your targeted customer’s past projects? If you can show positive results from past contributions, you just might win new business.