The rise of Digital Account Planning and how DemandFarm created its own niche
When we started DemandFarm, we realized that for B2B firms, winning an opportunity is not enough. It is about winning an account in the long run. Keeping that in mind, our vision was to build digital tools for making account-centric sales effectiveness even more prominent. That was the vision with which we had founded the company. And then, we started building account planning tools around the central theme of account-centricity, and over the years, we have seen astounding traction as it took over and helped in making account managers productive and the overall account management process far more effective.
The Market Gap we have filled
While the CRM has been very good with Opportunity Management, it does not have any process to support large account management, like account planning. Even today, a majority of companies do account planning on PowerPoints and Excel sheets. It is a disparate process with very little standardization. While account-based marketing solutions have helped, there was a big need for a technology solution to address account planning, or account-based sales, which was still very relationship selling driven. With our digital account planning solution, we have done that, and have addressed a big market need.
We have helped enterprises answer relevant questions such as: How relevant are your offerings? Does it solve a specific challenge that the customer is facing at that point in time? Do you have on-demand data that can help you make the right decisions and make the right interventions at the right time? How strong are your relationships in terms of breadth and depth? Digital account planning tools can help organizations take a measure of how mature is your communication with the customer. In simple words, digital account planning tools can provide much-needed intelligence and clarity into some of your key accounts.
For example, when multiple members from a sales team interact with a large client, there is a lot of information about the client that is there with the individual account managers. DemandFarm’s OrgChart can help in converting this tribal knowledge to enterprise memory by capturing the organizational hierarchy, affinity with client stakeholders, their decision-making power, budget control, internal political mapping, and more into a visual canvas available to all.
Similarly, DemandFarm’s Account Plan module is designed to help enterprises create an annual plan for each key account with clear goals and objectives using both qualitative and quantitative insights. Account plans can be created based on account segmentation parameters such as relationship health and account attractiveness or competitor analysis going beyond SWOT to wallet share analysis.
Our key account management software has now evolved to a point where we have been able to create a new category, Digital Account Planning, which was not known as a category a few years back.
We have succeeded in institutionalizing the account planning process and have helped several organizations standardize the key account management process across organizations in less than 3 months. Once implemented, account managers are equipped with all account insights that may impact their active opportunities and leadership has a global view of key accounts at the click of a button. More importantly, they are able to effectively plan across regions and across multiple teams in a seamless manner. Enterprises also have increased visibility of potential and growth ambition within key accounts.
Digital account planning tools give meaningful insights to overcome questions raised by the account manager such as – How to keep track of who all they know and what all they know about them? Where do they lie in the formal hierarchy of their organization? Who controls what budgets?
More importantly, DemandFarm helps enterprises evolve contacts to relationships. Account Managers are able to keep a check on internal influences within their customer organizations. The heat maps help Account Teams take informed decisions in the opportunity pursuits. Who to target? Who else to bring into the meetings? Who is our champion? These questions can be easily answered now.
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About the Author
CEO & Co-Founder, DemandFarm
Milind is COO & Co-Founder of DemandFarm. He co-founded DemandFarm to build smart software technology to bring Account Planning and Relationship Intelligence into your CRM, making Key Account Management data-driven, predictable and scalable.