Account Planning

Best Account Planning Tools

Posted On
April 3, 2023
Resource Type
Account Planning

Account Planning Tools For B2B Sales Teams

 

B2B companies turn to account planning tools for a multitude of reasons.

  • Visualizing key stakeholders, the buying path, and which accounts are single-threaded is slowing sales cycles and causing deals to push
  • Account Planning is done in slide decks, spreadsheets, or other places and drives duplicate efforts and limited visibility and collaboration on your key accounts
  • Inconsistent data input and knowledge are shared that causes difficulty in finding quick wins in customers and makes it harder to hand accounts off

Sound familiar? Solve those issues quickly with a tool.

CRM’s don’t tell you WHO you need to engage and the next steps to win deals and grow accounts. Prolifiq does. 

Account Planning Tool – Sales Process & Business Overview

The What:

Account Planning tools enable sales leaders and sales operation and enablement leaders to drive consistency in how reps store and use the account and stakeholder data to drive deals. All too often we hear of knowledge transfer issues when a rep leaves or an account changes hands. Below are a few ways that an account plan can help solve these issues.

You’re building QBRs or account plans in slide decks, spreadsheets, One Notes, you name it. You’re duplicating information input between your CRM and other locations, and more often than not, the information becomes outdated, stale, and… in some cases isn’t easily accessible or visible to other team members. Handing off accounts from sales to support or transitioning accounts is a mess. Account planning tools provide a single source of truth for account and stakeholder strategy.

Account Action Plan

The Who:

Mapping out stakeholders in an account planning tool

Understanding who the main decision-makers in your key accounts are is critical. One key account planning tool is multi-threading. This involves identifying and engaging with multiple decision-makers within a customer organization, which can help sales teams build stronger relationships and win more business. There are different ways to multi-thread depending on the stage of the deal. Have a visual of your buying path and understand their engagement. Support them throughout a sales cycle and partnership will set your team up for continued success. One guarantee is that your team will spend time going after the right people at the right accounts.

There aren’t visuals of the key stakeholders and buying path for a sales team. It’s difficult to tell who the internal supporters and champions are, where you’re single-threaded, and where you have gaps in your accounts or opportunities. Make it easy to identify gaps in your deals or key accounts where you’re single-threaded.

The Where:

Uncovering white space and quick wins within customer accounts is a siloed, inconsistent process. Account planning means something different to each team. The data becomes stale. There’s no clear-cut way for the team to understand where the best opportunities are, which stakeholders to engage, and the path to revenue in customer accounts.

It’s easy to miss minor details that can be the difference in hitting a sales number or growing a key customer. Turn your CRM into a single source of truth that helps structure and organize everything that goes into selling a new customer and expanding that account.

Is your sales team building plans in slide decks, or spreadsheets, or storing key information about your stakeholders and accounts that isn’t easy to find? Do deals crumble when your champions leave? Do accounts churn when 1-2 main supporters move on? Whether it’s improving retention rates, growing your biggest accounts, or acquiring business more efficiently, an account planning tool can help solve all of that. Let’s dive in.

Drive Revenue From Key Accounts

Expansion

Another part of a key account planning tool is the expansion strategy. This involves identifying new opportunities for growth within existing customer accounts, such as upselling or cross-selling additional products or services. An effective expansion strategy requires a deep understanding of customer needs and goals. As well as the ability to identify areas where the sales team can add value. Strategic account planning (top 5-10% of your accounts) will have clear visuals and reporting on where the best opportunities are for account growth.

Retention Finally, retention strategy is an important account planning tool that helps sales professionals keep their existing customers engaged and satisfied. Strategic accounts need a plan that lays out milestones, goals, responsibilities internally, and information about who needs to be involved regularly. A strong retention strategy requires ongoing communication and collaboration with the customer. As well as the ability to identify and address potential roadblocks that could impact customer satisfaction. When done correctly, account planning should lay a strong foundation for everybody in the business to play a role in keeping and growing strategic accounts. 

Benefits of Account Planning Software

Increased Efficiency:

One of the key benefits of account planning tools is increased efficiency. Account planning software brings the process that is typically done in Google Slides/Sheets, Excel, PowerPoint, or a whiteboard and brings all of that information into Salesforce in a structured way. This makes it easier to collaborate and take action on specific stakeholders and accounts. Many successful selling teams use a strategic account planning template to help scale and standardized the process. 

Improved Customer Retention

Another benefit of account planning tools is improved customer retention. Account plans should contain information about key challenges, goals, milestones, and stakeholders to ensure that the customer has its main objectives achieved. This should make onboarding more efficient and simple as the plans already contain the information needed for teams to hit the ground running.

Improved Cross-Selling

Finally, an effective account planning tool can help sales professionals identify new cross-selling opportunities and build stronger, more profitable relationships with their customers. By developing a deep understanding of customer needs and goals, sales teams can identify areas where they can add value and offer complementary products or services. While most teams have managed this in slide decks or spreadsheets, account planning software makes this easier to manage and take action on. 

Conclusion – An Account Planning Tool Can Make The Difference

Sales account planning is essential for sales teams to drive the acquisition, retention, and revenue in their biggest accounts. By developing a deep understanding of customer needs and goals, the GTM team can create targeted, customized solutions that help them win more business, retain existing customers, and grow revenue over time. You can steal our strategic account planning template that we use to help you get started.

Improved Sales Performance with Account Planning Tools can help sales professionals streamline the account planning process. As well as optimize their efforts, leading to increased efficiency, improved customer retention, and better cross-selling opportunities. Check out our account planning tools reviews on G2

FAQ

Where should account planning live if you use a major account planning tool?

Answer: At Prolfiiq, we believe the account planning process belongs in Salesforce. It is the most efficient and effective way to bring the strategy and process into motion so that it drives results. Emphasis on planning. Every B2B sales team works inside of a CRM, and you have multiple systems feeding data into your CRM at all times. So it makes sense for strategic account management to occur within the walls of your CRM. This way the account plan is living, and breathing, and remains up to date as accounts change hands and reps leave.

What does the best account plan look like?

Answer: Strategic account plans need to cover key business objectives, the key stakeholders, the current state, challenges, potential white space in the account, and an action plan to drive accountability. You can steal the strategic account plan template we use with customers to help with strategic account management. Key accounts can help drive growth when bringing on new customers is challenging. Effective account planning tools don’t hurt, either.

At what stage do I need account planning software?

In short, it depends. Not every business needs an account planning tool.  More often than not, the size of your deals, the complexity of the accounts your business sells into, and the nuances that sales and account management reps need to be aware of determine this. Are your deals more transactional, or do your reps typically run into 4+ stakeholders? If the former, you probably don’t need a tool. Is part of your growth strategy dependent on increasing customer revenue over time? This is another signal that account planning software might be beneficial for your company.

Turn Account Plans Into Results

Posted On
April 3, 2023
Resource Type
Account Planning