COO & Co-Founder, DemandFarm
If I were to answer that in a word – it is ‘Static’ account plans. For too long, Account Plans were long-term in nature (3-5 years) with a fixed set of analyses leading its creation. I think business reality today is far more dynamic and unpredictable to really make long-term account plans.
Let me elaborate with examples. Manufacturing companies enjoyed a product life of 8+ years earlier. A car model would last 8 years. So a supplier could work with the manufacturer in the design phase and in turn commit order volumes for several years. Today, products have a maximum life of 24 months. The new manufacturing process and technology favor a smart & nimble supplier. So a manufacturer prefers a tactical vendor who has invested in strategic process & tech. Account Management is a more internal strategy and tactical win with a customer.
For over 2 decades, IT services companies enjoyed multi-year-billion-dollar deals. So Account Planning was to ensure the relationship with the CIO & cornering maximum pie in the several billion dollars IT budget. With the SaaS way of IT consumption on the cloud, this model has changed. Almost all department heads are IT buyers but want an expert point solution provider with the ability to connect easily with other software(s). No wonder, small, nimble & smart vendors are winning Martech, Salestech, HRtech, and Fintech deals while larger suppliers are saddled with dying legacy systems management.
Our beloved highly skilled Account Managers are expected to make their 2019 account plans with archaic mindset & templates created decades ago. They also know that this is a futile exercise since reality in their account changes in 2 quarters. I believe technology can come to the rescue here. Smart Account Planning tools that can help create plans easily that are simple and dynamic.
Also, these Account Planning templates should be able to track these plans and nudge the Account Manager for action. I am in no way saying that strategic account management now is only tactical. Perhaps it is more strategic now. The strategy is in thinking of a better solution for the customer that they haven’t thought about. Earlier the strategy was supplying to customers’ defined strategy. Salesforce account planning is a big bonus favoring you to do all these activities inside the CRM.
If you’re interested in transforming your sales post the pandemic, explore our blog on Sales Acceleration in Account Management and how it can help you grow your business in 2021.