Effective Account Development Plans
An Account Development Plan (ADP) is one of the most powerful tools in the kitty of high performing B2B sales professionals. It is perhaps also the most under utilised one. The reason for this usually is that most ADPs are laborious lengthy documents (or PowerPoints!) that fail in their primary purpose viz. to answer the specific questions :
1. What is our vision of the future relationship with the account?
2. Why would our vision be a compelling proposition from the customer’s point of view?
3. How do we intend to realise the vision into reality?
4. What specific actions need to be taken over a defined period to realise it?
5. Who are the stakeholders in the plan and what are their individual deliverables?
A good ADP delivers better sales outcomes. Good inputs deliver a good ADP. Here, we list out a few factors for you to evaluate how robust is the quality of inputs going into your ADP:
1. A Comprehensive Assessment based on clear and verifiable evidences- The vision for an account has to be grounded in facts as perceived by the customer. Fact based answers to the following questions is the foundation of a great ADP:
- What is your Reputation in the account based on the value you have delivered, your wins and losses, the service history and overall status of relationship? Where do you stand vs where do you need to be?
- What are your Insights about the Customer’s business? How well do you know their overall strategy, their business drivers, their responses to challenges and therefore the gaps that arise in executing those responses? Businesses like to buy from other businesses who they believe understand them. Not vision and mission statements pasted from their websites but deep knowledge is what counts.
-Based on the above, what is your Ambition for the account? There must be business value for both parties contained in the ambition, not just the seller’s interest. Ambition includes intangible goals as well as hard numbers.
- What Resources will your company be required to spend to achieve the plan in terms of people, products and support.
2. A Set of clearly defined Objectives, Tasks and Activities– A beautiful plan is just that unless it is made a living document which has clearly defined actions, milestones and responsibilities assigned to specific individuals. Without this, an ADP is just a statement of intent that takes a great deal of effort to create but doesn’t deliver much.
3. Allow for Collaboration, Sharing and Tracking Progress - The most effective ADPs are those that have an agreement of all the key stakeholders both internally as well as at the customers’.
4. Presence of an Enabling Framework– Account Development Planning is at the core of key account management wherever it is adopted. It requires the larger organisation and leadership to recognise its importance and to facilitate the practice through instituting formal templates, systems and processes for creating, supporting and progressing ADPs.
One of the ways to ensure that your team scales up in its Account Development Planning is to equip them with a robust tool that minimises the effort of data duplication, ensures that all the right questions are answered and helps create a time bound action plan. At Salesfac, we help client organisations select and onboard such tools that integrate well with their sales processes and CRM. If you would like to know more, please get in touch with us.