Do your account plans help your teams meet their quotas or are they missing the mark?
Without comprehensive, well thought out account plans, companies miss major revenue opportunities and risk losing some of their largest clients.
Sales organizations that apply a visual approach to their account planning process can immediately uncover new pipeline and expansion opportunities that were previously hidden.
In this blog series, you will learn how to build your best account plan ever to:
- Grow existing revenue. Fujitsu Americas saw a 14% increase in sales, revenue, and margin.
- Uncover opportunities. A leading multinational information technology services and consulting company uncovered €441 million in white space in just one year.
- Increase forecast accuracy.Worksoft improved forecast accuracy by 25%</span and reduced the time to revenue realization by 20% within their most strategic accounts.
What is Account Planning in Sales?
Account planning is a strategic approach companies take to maximize revenue potential by focusing on the most important accounts or customers. At its core, account planning helps sales teams gain a deeper understanding of customers, their needs, and their buying processes. It enables sales reps and account managers to identify the key stakeholders and decision-makers within an account, assess the competitive
landscape, and uncover new opportunities for growth.
It’s wise to take a visual approach to account planning to help sales teams identify gaps in relationships and then build quality relationship development plans. For example, white space maps will depict your solutions’ footprint in an account and reveal new cross-sell and up-sell opportunities. Revenue snapshots will help you gain revenue predictability and long-term forecast visibility. Strategy maps enable you to align solutions with customers’ business plans and challenges, and customer scorecards assess the overall relationship health of an account.
Now that you know what account planning is, let’s dive into why account planning is a must.
Why Sales Account Planning is Important
Picture this: you’re a salesperson with a great product, a strong pitch, and a list of potential clients. You feel confident and ready to close some deals. But as you start making calls and sending emails, you realize something isn’t working. Your message doesn’t seem to resonate with your audience, and you’re struggling to get your prospects’ attention.
This is where account planning comes in. By taking a strategic approach to sales, you can better understand your clients’ needs, pain points, and goals. This information allows you to tailor your pitch and messaging to each individual client, making your product or service more appealing and relevant.
But account planning isn’t just about personalization. It’s also about building long-term relationships with your clients. By understanding their business and their challenges, you can position yourself as a trusted advisor rather than just another salesperson. This trust and rapport can lead to more sales, longer term renewals, and even referrals to other potential clients. For example, when Fujitsu implemented Revegy to help them with account planning and management, they were able to shorten their sales cycle by 43 days, which in turn yielded a 14% improvement in sales, revenue, and margin.
In today’s hyper-competitive sales environment, account planning is no longer just a nice-to-have. Having the right sales account planning tools is a critical component of any successful sales strategy. By taking the time to research and understand your clients, you can differentiate yourself from the competition, build stronger relationships, and ultimately drive more revenue.
Sales Account Planning: The 6 Ingredients
1) Identify Who Matters with Relationship Maps
A good strategic account program requires a clear understanding of the customer’s organization chart and decision-making processes, including the buying centers with responsibility for initiatives and budgets. While typical CRM tools help keep track of contacts (and their roles) within an account or opportunity, much more information is necessary to successfully identify revenue potential in your key accounts and move a deal through the sales pipeline.
In today’s complex sales environment, it is critical that sales teams are able to identify, connect, and access the key stakeholders and decision-makers who ultimately influence and control the strategic initiatives, budget, and purchasing process. But it’s not just about reporting structures — it’s also about the politics and understanding who influences whom throughout the organization.
Visualizing this information with a relationship map that represents friends, foes, and third-party influencers is critical to helping your team identify gaps in relationships and build quality relationship development plans. With this, you can focus on who matters most and the routes to power.
2) Uncover New Opportunities with White Space Maps
According to SiriusDecisions, a global B2B research firm focused on sales strategy, a critical component of a great account plan is charting the product landscape in the account by listing the closed, active, and potential opportunities for each buying center, and then grouping opportunities by product or service categories.
You should also assess the current state of other suppliers or installed solutions, the competitive landscape, near-term buying plans, and long-term needs. A white space map captures this information and helps your sales organization visualize the footprint of your solutions, including where your products and your competitors’ products are used.
You can now quickly assess your strength in the account versus your competition and identify new cross-sell and up-sell opportunities.
3) Gain Revenue Predictability and Long-Term Forecast Visibility with a Revenue Snapshot
Having a clear picture of past, present, and future revenue opportunities is where the “rubber meets the road” in key account planning. A visual opportunity analysis will illustrate the revenue status of an account based on current, closed, and identified potential as it relates to annual goals and hypothetical value.
This piece is critical to successful account planning because it provides a basis for true revenue predictability and long-term forecast visibility. Companies like JDA Software and ACI Worldwide were able to dramatically increase their forecast visibility by focusing on the customers that account for a majority of their overall revenue, and are therefore a better opportunity for growing the bottom line.
As a best practice, this revenue snapshot should be a requirement in every key account plan.
4) Align Your Approach to Your Customer’s Goals with Strategy Maps
By understanding and mapping your clients’ goals, challenges, and departmental initiatives, you can easily identify potential expansion opportunities based on what is top of mind for key decision-makers.
A key account strategy map facilitates collaboration internally with your team, and externally with your customers, ultimately giving you insight into their strategies and showing you how you can directly help them achieve their overarching business objectives. This knowledge becomes the basis for a compelling business case for the purchase of your solutions and/or services.
Additionally, an effective strategy map lets you align your solutions and the value they provide to the customer’s business strategy and challenges, empowering reps and account managers to pinpoint the initiatives likely to receive funding and close sales opportunities.
5) Assess the Health of Your Most Profitable Accounts with Customer Scorecards
How are you measuring the strength of your key accounts? With a customer scorecard, you can identify key focus areas within the account. Sales leadership and senior executives can also easily monitor the status of key accounts and identify which accounts might be at risk and which accounts might be ripe for expansion.
Based on this information, sales reps and account managers can prioritize customers and put action plans in place where improvement is necessary. For both management and account teams, an effective scorecard delivers insight into which high-value accounts require focus and where to focus within those accounts.
6) Maintain Momentum with an Action Plan
SiriusDecisions notes that once you set goals and outline actions, the account planning process transitions from “plan” to “do,” and reps can execute tactics and activities, aligning with other functional groups involved in the account planning and management process.
Many organizations think they can capture actions and monitor account activity through a CRM, but this model can actually stunt sales because it is more focused on task completion than goal attainment. A quality action plan maps all tasks to specific goals, ensuring everyone is working toward a common outcome.
Take Your Sales Account Planning to the Next Level
Looking to improve your sales team’s performance and revenue potential? Then look no further than Revegy, an account planning solution that can help take your sales strategy to the next level!
With Revegy, you’ll gain a visual and strategic approach to sales account planning that will help you identify untapped revenue opportunities, build stronger relationships with your clients, and ultimately drive more sales. Just take a look at some of our case studies and see the impressive results companies like Fujitsu Americas and Worksoft have achieved with Revegy.
We help companies maximize their revenue potential by providing a strategic approach that focuses on the most important accounts or customers. With our sales account planning solutions and sales operations software, you gain a deeper understanding of your customers, their needs, and their buying processes. You can also identify key stakeholders and decision-makers within the account, assess the competitive landscape, and uncover new opportunities for growth.
Visualizing this information with Revegy’s relationship, strategy, and white space maps is critical to helping your team identify gaps in relationships and build quality relationship development plans. You’ll quickly identify who matters, the routes to power, and the key value drivers to help you create compelling business cases for each stakeholder. Plus, our revenue snapshots will provide you with revenue predictability and long-term forecast visibility.
In today’s hyper-competitive sales environment, sales account planning is no longer just a nice-to-have. It’s a critical component of any successful sales strategy. By taking the time to research and understand your clients, you can differentiate yourself from the competition, build stronger relationships, and ultimately drive more revenue.
Revegy can help you achieve all of these goals and more. Start planning for success today!
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Now On Demand!
Watch our on-demand webinar, where we delve into the key elements of an agile sales approach from start to finish, featuring Luiz Martins, CMO of Revegy, along with esteemed guest speakers Donald C Kelly, Founder and The Sales Evangelist, and Doug Inda, SVP of Enterprise Client Development at Syndigo. Discover how to adapt to tighter budgets without compromising sales performance, leverage technology to streamline processes and close more deals, provide meaningful value to buyers amidst abundant data, succeed in a remote sales environment with effective communication and virtual presentations, and position yourself as a trusted advisor in today’s ever-changing sales landscape. This is your chance to increase your pipeline and propel your success forward. Watch on-demand here!