Sales Account Planning – A Step by Step Guide
Sales Account Planning
What is a Sales account plan?
A Sales account plan is sort of like a guide with all the critical information a sales team wants to close each of their crucial accounts and keep them for the long run. It is more often used to establish sales objectives for the team and develop strategies necessary to achieve them. Companies of all sizes may use variants of account programs based on the industry, type of client, and sales team structure.
If you have ever been to a restaurant where the host includes all the detailed information concerning their valued guests about the interests, relationship, and buying habits that an add-on to the experience, then you’ve seen a sales account plan in action. Think of your account as guests along with sales account planning as a way that you show how much you understand and value your guests. Sales account plans may include a range of information, including company size, key decision-makers, timelines, and also a listing of the company’s competitors and the business’s market share relative to their competitors, as well as their strategic decision-making process.
Steps to prepare a Sales account plan
Successful sales account planning requires more than just filling out a form. It requires strategic thinking and a clear understanding of what your client needs.
- Outline the business objective
- The First step is to outline the objectives by understanding the organization’s current mission and vision, the industry trends, the market potential.
- Mapping these data with the sales acceleration goals and the product/service offerings of the company can help a sales team set up their objective.
Define the target clients
- The next important step is to analyze the clients with the necessary tools to find the most profitable and lucrative prospects and customers defined by industry, region, product, etc. This analysis can help the sales team know the challenges and hunt for profound growth opportunities to grow the revenue.
- Build your strategies and tactics
- List your overall objectives for the accounts and plan how you will get to your goal. It must answer the questions like, “What are our objectives, and what’s our overall direction to achieve them?”. It must include the goal build that takes the overall growth objective into account and builds up the components of how the team’s going to reach that objective.
- Select the necessary tools for account analysis
- Understanding the accounts, analyzing, planning, and delivering the right solution for the right customer requires rigorous efforts at the backend. But this can be simplified by employing proper account planning tools with advanced features.
- Assign the KPIs
- Build a Performance Dashboard that sets milestones and tracks the progress to those milestones; it also helps identify any adjustments that need to be made. It must answer the questions, “How have we performed? How should we adjust?”
Key components of the Account analysis
It’s getting increasingly difficult and complex to understand the client business to answer this question: How much will the client be ready to spend on our product? Successful salespeople must dig deeper into the complexities to solve the puzzle. A list of analyses over the client’s business with the previous year’s data can help not only answer this but also can track new opportunities within the accounts.
- Account Segmentation
Account Segmentation will help the sales team segment the client accounts into different buckets. This enables the salespeople to come up with the right strategic action plan based on the account positions. You can segment accounts based on the account health score to understand them objectively.
- Relationship mapping
Relationship mapping helps to visualize all the key stakeholders in one place. This mapping tool – org chart software also helps salespeople to explore detailed information about the contacts of the accounts on the budget control, influences they have on each other, etc., You can Know the organizational hierarchy of the accounts to better understand the relationships and the influences between the contacts.
- Competition Stacking
Competitor Analysis allows you to better understand the market, potential, and behavior of the customers. This analysis with a bunch of data gives a company an advantage over the competitors to grow by developing new market strategies. With competitor analysis, the sales team can also understand the strength and weakness of competitors along with the analysis of customer spend vs wallet share
- White space analysis
Whitespace mapping is the virtual representation of data to uncover hidden white space opportunities to target. It helps you to identify the gap between the products/services your customers require vs the products/services you offer. Understanding the pain points at different levels and offering the right solution helps increase revenue from the existing customers. The Sales team can understand current engagements with accounts and explore possible opportunities & whitespaces with the whitespace analysis
Benefits of Sales account planning
- Better Win rate
- Increased understanding of customers’ business
- Shorter sales cycles
- Better customer loyalty
- Increased deal size
- Better executive access
- Identify non-competitive deals
DemandFarm’s Account Planner
DemandFarm’s Account planner offers integrated account planning inside CRMs that makes sales account planning ridiculously easy. It helps in achieving a deeper understanding of your Key accounts through improved data visualization and qualitative analysis. Salesforce is one of the most popular customer relationship management tools in the world and our products are Salesforce native which means Salesforce Account Planning becomes a breeze.
Ready to discuss your Account Management Needs?Talk to our Product Expert
About the Author
CEO & Co-Founder, DemandFarm
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.