If you are involved with Complex Sales, you have likely been through a huge number of versions of Account Planning.
And you probably think they all are Bad.
And if your company’s definition of Account Planning is just to “Check The Box” or have a “Team Meeting” to “Ensure Teamwork” you are RIGHT. It is a complete waste of time.
If you are part of team responsible for an Account or Series of Accounts, I quote my Dear Friend, Co-Author of “Sales Thoughts (Yes, the book!) Brett Boston. Brett is a World Class Facilitator and I was fortunate to watch him in action many times. Brett’s Quote, and I use it frequently:
“In a Vacuum, Them With a Plan WINS!”
So, if you are responsible for an account or set of Accounts You need a Plan. The Process that I will outline does work, under key Circumstances:
- Account Planning is not an Event it is a Process
- You must Work the Plan on a Consistent Basis
- You have to update the plan based on changes at your Company or at the Account
- Everyone who works the Account has to be bought into the Plan- No Parachuting with a different message than the rest of the Account Team is using
- It is NOT only about Selling
The reality: Account Execution Planning is more Valuable than ever – and the Key Word is Execution
Execution Planning has several key Elements:
- Top Down Planning with Bottom up Execution: You build top down based based on Goals, Objectives, THEN Actions: The problem is that Team Sell are all about Actions. The Problem is that if you are not very careful you will spend your time being very busy- but at the end of a particular Time frame, what have your really got done? Great Sellers ensure that they Execute and each Action ties to an Objective which ties to a Goal.
- What are are you Uniquely Enabling your Account To Accomplish? In most selling situations, the Competitor that sets the proper Vision and Demonstrates how they will help the Customer get there will Win.
- Can you truly “Check” all 3 of these Boxes:
- Relationship Management
- Roadmap to Revenue
- Customer Success
If you can’t and a Competitor does what used to be calling being “Out Sold” is now more called “Out Executed.”
Execution is Everything. The Competitor that has the Ability to Out Execute the Competitor from the Plan forward nearly almost always wins!