Account Planning

Account Planning Template

Posted On
March 30, 2023
Resource Type
Account Planning

Account Plan Template for B2B Sales Teams

An account planning template provides guardrails for driving a clean and consistent process. We’ll cover each part including:

Business Overview

Objectives & goals

Relationship Mapping

White Space (Expansion)

Introduction: Strategic Account Plan

Strategic Account Planning is a strategic process GTM teams use to increase the likelihood of winning, retaining, and growing critical accounts, to maximize the long-term revenue of an account. This includes assessing an account’s business needs, goals, and structure and making sure your product or service delivery and value meet and exceed the expectations of your key accounts. There are several successful approaches B2B teams use today, and we’ll walk you through ours.

An account plan should be interactive and a living, breathing document used as a framework for the customer’s business. Account planning is most effective with customer involvement, and without it, gaining strategic alignment and generating revenue at scale becomes very challenging. A lot of teams use a Google Docs business plan format, but it becomes stale, outdated, and lost in thousands of documents. There is a more straightforward, more efficient, and effective way to drive account strategies and growth. Our account planning template will show you how.

Steal the account planning templates we use with customers!

Sales Account Planning Template

Steal the template we use with customers!

An account planning template is a tool that can be used by B2B sales and account management teams to streamline their process. It provides a framework for organizing information and developing a strategic plan for each customer’s business. While templates can vary, most include similar components such as account background, goals and objectives, SWOT analysis, competitive landscape, and action plan. Strategic account planning should only be done for select existing accounts, which we label as your top 10-15% of accounts. Let’s dive into the different parts of a good key account planning process:

Business Overview

Strategic account planning needs a comprehensive account overview. What are the main challenges of the business? How does the company go to market? Who are their competitors? What sort of resources are available to deploy your tool or service? Answering these key questions will give your team a good foundation to work on. We also see teams do a SWOT, which can function as a condensed competitive analysis and expose areas of risk at your biggest customers. Sales professionals will struggle to win and retain larger existing accounts if there isn’t a clear overview of the account.

Goals and Objectives

This is where you want to identify the key business initiatives that the existing customers have, the ways they are measured, and what the goals at a team and company level look like. Account planning efforts should also cover the specific KPIs that your product or service is meant to move the most. Understanding these objectives puts your team in a position to drive the most value and success for your customers. Account managers will play a major role in driving quick wins and a good experience. Don’t skip this part of the account template.

Relationship Mapping

Relationship Map
It’s very difficult to retain and grow key accounts if you don’t understand “who is who” within your existing customers and clients. Key account planning drives the sales and support teams to document the stakeholders you will be working with. It drives accountability for reps to build relationships and multi-thread into other business units. This exercise also helps reduce the risk of an account discontinuing business if your main contact or two leave the company. Using software helps sales professionals understand who has influence, support, and the overall engagement and breadth of activity within the account.

White Space

If your company sells multiple products or services, properly documenting, reporting on, and acting on that expansion potential is paramount. Acquiring new business has become more challenging and expensive, so growing your current customers is an efficient way to hit your number. Once you’ve documented the key players in an organization you can begin to prospect and market to other business units. Use the general overview to communicate the challenges and goals that other teams have and how you can help them. This is a critical aspect of a strategic account plan, but the exercise is only necessary if you have opportunities to grow the account.

Creating a key account plan is a great first step, but how effective is it if no one acts on the plan? Key account plans must be actionable with the team being accountable for certain milestones and tasks. Doing so helps the team work toward accomplishing the client’s goals.

Plan

Work backward to reverse engineer an actionable plan toward the overall goals and objectives. For example, the plan has a goal of selling $500K in additional Prolifiq licenses to a key customer. What are the next steps?

  • Outline the relationships the team is focusing on to make the sale, who can help make introductions to key decision makers in BU’s or subsidiaries we can sell into?
  • Are there end-users we can get feedback from? Are certain people enjoying your service that can help quantify the value they’ve captured? Strategic account management requires consistent engagement and dialogue to confirm this
  • Decide which decision-makers the team needs to engage within existing customers

Key Account Management

  • Schedule meetings with your champions, walk them through the value they’ve gained from your partnership, and outline the next steps to help get a meeting with other DMs. Key account managers should drive this.
  • Decide what goals or challenges are addressed with your product and communicate that

-Example: Communicate how Prolifiq’s products help the client solve x problems to meet their most important goal(s)

  • Educate the team on pre-existing relationships we have and how to leverage them
  • Put together a training plan if the client needs to be educated on our services, For us, are there certain aspects of our tool that teams aren’t using enough?
  • Lay out the strategy and mutual action plan that will help the customer hit their goals and achieve success
  • How are we progressing against key tasks and objectives?

Understanding the Benefits of Key Account Planning

Comprehensive account planning has several benefits for both the sales team and the client. Here are a few of the key benefits:

  • Increased retention and customer growth: By identifying new opportunities to expand within your customer accounts, teams will find faster wins and more efficient growth due to the trust already built.
  • Improved customer satisfaction: By gaining a deeper understanding of the client’s business, challenges, and goals, GTM functions can develop a plan and roadmap that better meets their needs.
  • Stronger relationships: By developing a customized approach to each key account, sales teams can build stronger, long-term relationships with their clients and will naturally build more internal champions and support to sell to other teams or to sell additional products. Make the buying process easier with more trust and less friction.
  • Better forecasting: Effective account planning can help sales reps and managers better forecast revenue and identify potential roadblocks that could impact customers who are more or less likely to churn.

Get the full account planning playbook we use – A simple account plan template for any B2B team

Benefits of Using a Strategic Account Planning Template

opportunity management, opportunity planning picture

 

A Guide To Account Planning

Work backward to reverse engineer an actionable plan toward the overall goals and objectives. For example, the plan has a goal of selling $500K in additional Prolifiq licenses to a key customer. What are the next steps?

  • Outline the relationships the team is focusing on to make the sale, who can help make introductions to key decision makers in BU’s or subsidiaries we can sell into?
  • Are there end-users we can get feedback from? Are certain people enjoying your service that can help quantify the value they’ve captured? Strategic account management requires consistent engagement and dialogue to confirm this
  • Decide which decision-makers the team needs to engage

Key Account Management

  • Schedule meetings with your champions, walk them through the value they’ve gained from your partnership and outline the next steps to help get a meeting with other DMs. Key account managers should drive this.
  • Decide what goals or challenges are addressed with your product and communicate that

-Example: Communicate how Prolifiq’s products help the client solve x problems to meet their most important goal(s)

  • Educate the team on pre-existing relationships we have and how to leverage them
  • Put together a training plan if the client needs to be educated on our services, For us, are there certain aspects of our tool that teams aren’t using enough?
  • Lay out the strategy and mutual action plan that will help the customer hit their goals and achieve success
  • How are we progressing against key tasks and objectives?

Understanding the Benefits of Key Account Planning

Comprehensive account planning has several benefits for both the sales team and the client. Here are a few of the key benefits:

  • Increased retention and customer growth: By identifying new opportunities to expand within your customer accounts, teams will find faster wins and more efficient growth due to the trust already built.
  • Improved customer satisfaction: By gaining a deeper understanding of the  =business, challenges, and goals, sales teams can develop a plan and roadmap that better meets their needs.
  • Stronger relationships: By developing a customized approach to each key account, sales teams can build stronger, long-term relationships with their clients and will naturally build more internal champions and support to sell to other teams or to sell additional products. Make the buying process easier with more trust and less friction.
  • Better forecasting: Effective account planning can help sales organizations better forecast revenue and identify potential roadblocks that could impact customers who are more or less likely to churn.

Get the full account planning playbook we use – A simple account plan template for any B2B team

Benefits of Using a Strategic Account Plan Template

steps in opportunity planning

Using an account planning template can help any customer-facing team member reap the benefits of effective account planning while minimizing the time and effort required. Here are a few ways key account plans benefit from using a template:

  • Structure and organization: By providing a framework for organizing information and developing a strategic plan, this framework can help your teams stay organized and on track.
  • Collaboration: By providing a shared document that team members can contribute to, GTM teams can facilitate collaboration and ensure everyone is on the same page. There are tools like Prolifiq that help with this. Whether it be internally or co-selling with partners, a key account template plan makes this easier.
  • Consistency: By using a consistent template for all crucial accounts, sales teams and strategic account managers can ensure they follow a standardized process and do not miss any important information.
  • Time-saving: By providing a roadmap for the company, a sales team can save time and effort compared to building a plan from scratch. Key account management resources are conserved due to better processes.
  • Insights: There are several use cases for account plans, from marketing running 1:1 targeted ABM campaigns, to solution engineers understanding what needs to be shown in product overviews, to customer support hand-offs, and more. Customers don’t have to repeat themselves when information is in a plan and onboarding begins. Each section of a plan contains information that helps teams drive value.

Do’s and Don’ts of a Key Account Plan

While using an account plan template can help ensure that the process is effective, there are still some best practices to keep in mind. Here are a few do’s and don’ts:

Do:

  • Research the client thoroughly: Before starting the account planning process, research the client thoroughly. This includes understanding their industry, market position, and competitors.
  • Involve key stakeholders: Make sure to involve all key stakeholders in the account planning process, including sales, marketing, and customer service. The account manager should be fully aware of everyone they need to manage.

Don’t:

  • Assume you know everything about your customers: Don’t assume that you know everything about the client’s business or industry. Take the time to research and understand their challenges and opportunities. Making this a sales game instead of a group exercise is a risky approach.
  • Rush the process. A sales account plan takes time, that’s why you need to be intentional with which customers need a plan.

Account Planning Terms

Strategic Account Management

This is the process of identifying your most lucrative and high-growth accounts and building a customized strategy to retain and grow the customer over time.

Account mapping template

This is a template that helps you prioritize and segment the accounts with the most upside, and where your team should focus their time. Most templates will also have a section for documenting key stakeholders, their goals, challenges, and a plan to engage them.

FAQ

How do you write account plans?

Answer: Key account plans can be produced in a variety of ways, but the plans need to have details that cover the company overview, the key stakeholders, their goals, challenges, and areas for expansion. Any key account plan that covers these details will provide adequate information to turn customers into your most prominent accounts. This will help you build out your strategic account planning template. One of our account manager tips is that not all accounts will need an account plan though, you can see how we break it down in our playbook. It should be the ultimate one-page key account plan that provides an overview of everything that matters about your clients.

What makes a good account plan?

A good account plan provides a clear overview of the critical details that anybody on a GTM team needs to have visibility into to win, retain, and grow the revenue of the customer. What are the business goals? The success of the team is dependent on accurate, updated information being input into plans that detail where you’ve built good relationships, where there could be opportunities to expand your footprint over time, and what specific goals, challenges, and outcomes your product or service can help with. Once you’ve documented this, having a clear breakdown of milestone completions and the return that the customer is getting is important. What are a few account objectives? Having the financial overview such as a 10K, or other general company information is great, but getting in the weeds and helping bring other team members up to speed with information you couldn’t ever find online is what makes a good sales account plan template into a great one.

What is an account planning template?

Answer: A key account plan template provides guardrails and guidance so that your team collects, stores, and collaborates on the most important information about a key account. Marketing, support, and sales leverage the information stored in this plan, reducing the loss of knowledge at the account and relationship level when accounts change hands or people leave. This template will help drive a stronger understanding of customers, a clear account action plan, and consistent results.  Good account planning templates 2023 will have all of the information covered in this blog. Dedicated key account managers will drive a fair portion of this process and template content.

What is the difference between a strategic account plan template and an account planning template?

Answer: The answer here lies in the granularity of the plans, and the pure amount of information. Your team may use a template for 5-10 accounts, but build out general account plans that aren’t as detailed and time-consuming for a customer that is in the 15-25th percentile of revenue. However you define strategic accounts, those are the customers that need the full plan. Both plans need to have an action plan, regardless of revenue importance. Account plan strategy should be agreed upon by support and sales leadership. account plan template. Customer retention and expansion of the key businesses is the desired outcome for any customer, and management templates will help teams achieve that.

What are 2-3 strategic account planning recommendations for getting started?

The team and leaders need to be in agreement on which accounts justify more effort and resources. If customer acquisition is the main focus, opportunity planning (trimmed down version of an account plan) is a better route. Client relationships get stronger the more engrained you get into their business.

  1. Start with relationships. Who do you know and have good rapport with? Can they introduce you to other business units, leaders, and key stakeholders? Who has been less interested or supportive of your business? How can you mend those differences? It all starts with relationships.
  2. Make sure your team and the customer are aligned on the 1-3 most important goals they have, and the biggest challenge they want you to solve. Finding quick wins around their challenges and goals is a surefire way to build a strong partnership.
  3. Make sure plans are updated regularly. Whether it’s marketing software, your CRM, other other tools your GTM team uses, the data needs to be passed between systems and updated regularly. The biggest challenge we see for teams with account planning is plans that become outdated and aren’t used because they sit in a slide deck or spreadsheet that people can’t easily find and keep updated.
Posted On
March 30, 2023
Resource Type
Account Planning