Most businesses have trouble addressing the need for an Account Planning Process that is truly used throughout the organization.
Actually, if it is just for the Sales Team, it can’t be called a true Process. A Sales Process requires buy-in from all of those that can impact it. If not, then the Sales Team might work through their issues only to have their process overridden by other people in the organization.
This problem becomes particularly acute for Strategic Accounts. If a Sales Team is following a process specifically designed to help the company better act in a strategic fashion – then it is overridden by Senior Management – it will surely fail.
There are ways to overcome this issue. Here are a few Approaches I have used:
• Establish ONE Sales Process that applies to all of your customers. You may have to make some exceptions for more strategic or significant accounts, but at least you will start off with a single process you can work from.
• Ensure that THE process is indeed just that, It is HE process and everyone in the organization, from top to bottom, follows it.
• As your organization grows, update the process to reflect the sophistication and complexity that comes with growth.
• Don’t continuously re-invent the sales process or ignore it. Execution based on a consistently utilized process, one that everyone follows, will almost always be superior to just “Winging It”.