Account Planning

GTM Planning and Execution: Key Accounts

Posted On
June 12, 2024
Resource Type
Account Planning
upsell opportunities

Planning and Execution In Strategic Accounts

2024 has been tough in tech, and a lot of industries. If you’ve been frustrated, you’re not alone, The good news? There are ways to improve your odds of hitting your numbers through better GTM planning. 

Understanding how your company will go to market (product-led, sales-led, hybrid) is a critical first step in driving planning and execution. Which markets are more inclined to buy and engage with which motion? How is your team equipped to handle the differing needs and processes? Which strategic accounts are you going to invest in to expand your footprint and drive growth?

GTM planning and execution for key accounts will involve the following:

  1. Goal Setting: Clearly defining the desired outcomes, objectives, and targets to be achieved.
  2. Task Breakdown: Breaking down larger goals into smaller, manageable tasks and activities.
  3. Roles & Responsibilities: Establishing realistic timelines and schedules for completing tasks and achieving milestones.
  4. Current state: Identifying potential risks, challenges, and obstacles that may arise during execution that you need to get ahead of. Also, areas for quick wins!
  5. Stakeholders: Understanding “who is who” and the footprint of an account. This will determine how you leverage your team for communication with different stakeholders across the organization. 
  6. Monitoring and Evaluation: Having a baseline or starting point to measure improvement and performance is a strong way to make your case for retention and expansion. 

By engaging in thorough planning, organizations can increase their chances of achieving their objectives efficiently, effectively, and within the desired timeframe. 

Planning in Key Account Management

Account Planning across the customer lifcycle

Grab our template on account planning!

Failing to plan is planning to fail, and it’s no different with retaining and growing your largest customers. Documenting the intricate details of why a company partnered with you, who drove the process, what their goals are and more is table stakes. A well-crafted plan serves as a roadmap, it should provide guard rails and clarity into who you’re engaging with, why you’re working on certain projects, and what outcomes are desired by your customers so that you keep their business. 

 A clear vision provides direction and helps prioritize initiatives that will drive the most significant impact. You’ll see this is part of the “what” in execution. 

Setting objectives is crucial for measuring progress and success. Objectives should be measurable, with clear timelines, roles, and responsible stakeholders associated with major objectives. They may include targets for revenue growth, customer satisfaction, market share, or other key performance indicators (KPIs) specific to your business.

Roles and responsibilities: You may have an account team, and positioning internal team members that can support a customer based on their experiences, strengths, and interests is key. 

A good key account management plan will lay out all of the challenges your sales team uncovered in their opportunity planning phase. What is their team struggling with? Which competitors are a problem for them, and how can your product or service help them compete against and take business from those competitors? 

Overall, planning in key account management lays the groundwork for successful execution. Your team will be prepared to focus and execute against the accounts that have room for growth over time. 

Execution in Key Account Management

Tips to execute against and grow your key accounts

Your opportunity plans guide you toward what we refer to as the “Who, what, where”. These three words will play a pivotal role in driving execution at your biggest accounts. Whether the team takes an account-based strategy and uses 1:1 campaigns to drive product usage and revenue growth, or leverages partnerships and an ecosystem to drive additional use cases, it will almost always tie back to the big three words we mentioned. 

Before doing anything, understanding who your key stakeholders are, what their current state looks like, where they want to get to, and where you plan to expand over time will provide context for everything. This includes challenges, current goals, objectives, team structure, competitors, and stakeholders. 

Step 1: Identify Which Accounts Require A Plan

Steal our account planning template here!

Developing a comprehensive action plan is crucial for successful execution. An action plan translates your strategic objectives into specific, actionable steps that can be assigned to team members and tracked over time. Here are some key elements to include in your action plan:

Creating Timelines

Establish realistic timelines for each task or milestone, considering dependencies, resource availability, and potential risks. Break down larger goals into smaller, manageable steps with specific deadlines. A well-defined timeline helps maintain focus, prioritize tasks, and measure progress effectively. This could be certain product usage or adoption metrics by a date, rolling out new features to certain teams, or other priorities laid out by the customer. 

Assigning Responsibilities

Clearly define roles and responsibilities for each task or milestone. Assign tasks to team members based on their expertise, availability, and workload. Clearly communicate expectations, deadlines, and deliverables to ensure accountability and ownership. Think through what role marketing has, versus sales, versus account managers and product. In 2024, everyone is responsible for finding a way to ensure a good relationship with customers. 

Defining Milestones

Break down larger goals into smaller, achievable milestones that can be celebrated as progress is made. Milestones serve as checkpoints to evaluate progress, identify potential roadblocks, and make necessary adjustments to the plan.

Establishing Communication Channels

Develop a communication plan that outlines how progress, updates, and issues will be communicated among team members, stakeholders, and clients. Regular communication ensures transparency, fosters collaboration, and allows for timely decision-making and course corrections.

By developing a detailed action plan that addresses timelines, resource allocation, task assignments, milestones, and communication, you can increase the likelihood of successful execution and achieve your key account management objectives.

Step 2: Report on Account Health & Progress

Account Planning template and metrics for key account management software

Effective monitoring and progress reporting are crucial for successful execution. This step involves tracking key performance indicators (KPIs), conducting regular reviews, and making necessary course corrections along the way.

Establish KPIs

Clearly defined KPIs serve as benchmarks for measuring success. These metrics should align with your overall objectives and provide quantifiable data points to evaluate performance. Common KPIs in key account management may include revenue growth, client retention rates, customer satisfaction scores, and project completion rates.

Implement Tracking Mechanisms

To monitor progress accurately, you need robust tracking mechanisms in place. This could involve project management software, customer relationship management (CRM) tools, or custom-built dashboards. These platforms should integrate seamlessly with your existing systems and provide real-time visibility into key metrics.

Consistently Meet With Stakeholders

Periodic progress reviews are essential for staying on track. QBRs are commonplace for a lot of business-to-business companies, but find ways to get time and align with your main stakeholders whenever appropriate and possible. 

Adjust Your Approach

Depending on multiple factors, such as stakeholder engagement and support, usage of your tool or service, or whether the customer is getting what they expected, be prepared to adjust. Managing strategic customers is an ongoing, iterative process that is never going to be set in stone. 

Reporting and Communication

Transparent and consistent communication is vital throughout the execution phase. Regularly share progress reports with all stakeholders, highlighting achievements, challenges, and next steps. This not only fosters accountability but also helps maintain alignment and trust among team members and clients.

By diligently monitoring progress, conducting regular reviews, and making necessary course corrections, you can ensure that your execution efforts remain on track and aligned with your strategic objectives.

Tools for Planning and Execution

Relationship Map

Effective planning and execution require leveraging the right tools and technologies. A combination of your CRM and an account planning solution can help. 

CRM Systems: CRM platforms like Salesforce, HubSpot, and Zoho CRM are invaluable for key account management. These systems serve as a central hub for data around contacts, accounts, opportunities, and other critical information that is needed to execute against major accounts. 

Account Planning: Vendors such as Prolifiq, Revegy, Kapta and DemandFarm help take all of your CRM data and give you the framework to centralize the planning process inside of your CRM so that everyone in your GTM understands the strategy and execution plan for the customer. Where is there room to expand? What is the current involvement with the business? Understanding how decisions are made, where time should be spent, and what matters most to your key accounts is all centralized with any of these solutions. 

Conclusion and Next Steps

Effective planning and execution are critical components of successful key account management and relationship mapping. By following the best practices outlined in this guide, businesses can get ahead of potential churn or lost revenue, and proactively uncover quick wins!

At Prolifiq.ai, we understand the difficulties involved in planning and executing key account initiatives. It’s the main reason we built our tool natively within Salesforce, to keep reps and account management teams in a place where they’re comfortable and spend a lot of time. All of the data being pushed into the CRM and used by the team is leveraged, updated, and beneficial to plans built in Prolifiq. 

 

Posted On
June 12, 2024
Resource Type
Account Planning