Annual Planning Pains

It’s that time of year again folks.

Yes. Holiday time, Thanksgiving time, Fall time…but also account planning time!

Holiday plans, travel plans...and of course, Annual Key Account Plans!

You know that adage- if you fail to prepare, prepare to fail! I had that in big bold letters up in my schoolroom back in high school. While it's 100% true, it doesn’t change the fact that planning time is a big pain.

KAM in simpler days and times

Before I turned entrepreneur, I was a Key Account Manager with a large automotive giant. And this time of the year, usually meant taking stock of a lot of data from around the company- all on paper in those days- and trying to pore over all the numbers from all the sources and making sense of them, mobilizing my sources to see what the Client was planning for their year to come, strategizing with the leadership to develop my path for the year and of course, bracing myself for the internal sell, in case some major initiatives were needed to remain competitive. The more things change, the more they remain the same.

Today, the very definition of key Accounts has gone from large companies to ultra-global matrix organizations, connected digitally across a complex network of relationships, tracking people's movements across the globe, mountains of data across myriad formats- from PowerPoints to emails to the cloud…everywhere!

In real-time…how simple my Key Accounts of yours seem in comparison...with easier lines of command, few verticals, and even fewer geographies.

Shaking off the nagging doubt that ‘somethings been missed’…

My compatriots in contemporary Strategic Account Management tell me that the sheer complexity of large Accounts today is not the real challenge- the challenge is managing all the data that is generated, and interpreting that to create strategic action points or annual plans. It’s simply not feasible for one individual to manage it manually – even with the help of software and a laptop. It’s amazing how many productive hours are wasted- yes, wasted– in simply collating the data required to start the process of annual planning – so many formats, so many sources.

And even then, one can’t be sure if an opportunity to expand or grow has simply been missed or fallen through the gaps because one entity or buying unit or geography or vertical of the Key Account was missed out, or a certain connection wasn’t established with the right person at the right time in the client organization, or a new business vertical was recorded as an independent entity in the CRM system and didn’t show up in the Account data at all…

Over to #painfreeplanning

So obviously, technology can help track and collate everything better, and overall plan better, and there are lots of tools to make that happen…but the real secret sauce to shift the focus from managing to growing is to spend productive hours on data interpretation and strategic action, not on joining the dots and collating data from various sources, figuring out version control of the many PPTs floating around or cutting and pasting financial data from excel sheets.

At DemandFarm, our inspiration is to create #painfreeplanning for KAMs everywhere. Our technology joins the dots and collates all the data in one format, in one place, right inside your CRM. You won’t believe how pain-free it can be till you try it yourself.

And, all this month, we are giving you that opportunity. Experience the DemandFarm Salesforce Account Planning module – free for two months; no questions asked – and see if it works for you.  More than a thousand Account Managers across verticals have already made the switch...it’s time you experience why.

Happy Thanksgiving, Fall, and the upcoming festive season.

Most of all, happy #painfreeplanning!

Milind Katti

Milind is CEO & Co-Founder of DemandFarm. Having practiced and evolved the ‘account farming’ principle for over a decade he established DemandFarm and is passionate about delivering the best B2B key account management tool to serve the needs of key account managers. Milind also serves on the Board of LeadEnrich & is a Strategic Adviser.

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