Account Planning Template
Account Planning Template for B2B Sales Teams
You can steal the key account plan template we use with customers below. We’ll cover each part including:
- Business Overview
- Objectives & goals
- Relationship Mapping
- White Space (Expansion)
Introduction: What is Account Planning?
Strategic Account Planning is a strategic process sales teams use to increase the likelihood of winning, retaining, and growing critical accounts, to maximize the long-term revenue of an account. The account planning process 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.
An account plan should be interactive and a living, breathing document used as a framework for the account. Account planning is most effective with customer involvement, and without it, gaining strategic alignment and generating revenue at scale becomes very challenging.
Sales Account Planning Template
You can get the free account planning template here! Turn key account plans into a process that drives results.
An account planning template is a tool that can be used by B2B sales teams to streamline their account planning process. It provides a framework for organizing information and developing a strategic plan for each key account. 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 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:
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 is available to deploy your tool or service? Answering these key questions will give your team a good foundation to work from. 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 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 account has, 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.
It’s very difficult to retain and grow key accounts if you don’t understand “who is who” within your 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.
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 business 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 clients goals.
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?
Meeting Structure & Activities Needed
Account Plan Template
You can get the free account planning template here! Turn key account plans into a process that drives results.
Understanding the Benefits of Key Account Planning
Effective 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, sales teams can develop a plan and roadmap that better meet 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.
- Better forecasting: Effective account planning can help sales teams better forecast revenue and identify potential roadblocks that could impact customers who are more or less likely to churn.
Benefits of Using an Account Planning Template
Using an account planning template can help sales teams 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 sales 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.
- Consistency: By using a consistent template for all crucial accounts, sales teams and strategic account managers can ensure that they are following a standardized process and not missing 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. The customer doesn’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:
- Research the client thoroughly: Before starting the account planning process, make sure to 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.
- Set realistic goals: Make sure that the goals and objectives you set for each account are realistic and achievable for your existing customers.
- Follow up regularly: Regular follow-up is essential to ensure that the plan stays on track and to identify any potential roadblocks.
- 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.
- Short-Change the research phase: Talk to your key stakeholders, but get input from people outside of the decision-makers. Gather all of the relevant information. A strategic account plan won’t be useful if it’s missing the core meat of a plan. The customer comes first, and success is unlikely if you skip customer research.
- 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.
- 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. Not all accounts will need an account plan though, you can see how we break it down in our playbook.
- 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 all leverage the information stored in this plan, and it reduces the loss of knowledge at the account and relationship level when accounts change hands or people leave.
- What is the difference between a strategic account plan template and account planning templates?
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.