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What the best salespeople know, say and do

Account Planning Templates


Like so many aspects of sales, how you manage your client accounts is dependant on a number of factors. The only thing that is consistent is that: a) Planning is an important part of managing your client accounts, and b) Most sales people do not spend enough time on planning or take a methodical approach to it The templates we provide here are simply examples of how you might approach planning and managing your accounts. Your effort will be in proportion to the contribution (both now and potentially for the future) that the client account can make. The objective is to ensure that you utilise your time and other resources to maximise the relationship and business from each client. Feel free to copy these, adapt them and use them to assist your own account planning and management. An Account Plan At its simplest, an account plan can list the contacts in the client organisation, the objectives that you have for the account (in terms of revenues, additional projects, strategic relationship, etc), the deadlines for achievement and the key activities or strategies to achieve your objectives. The resource document Sample Account Plan Template is an example of what an Account Plan might look like. Another one is available from Microsoft here. Another facet of an account plan might be how to develop the client relationship (rather than just the levels of revenues). Deepening a client relationship helps establish barriers to competitive entry. The resource document Planning and Managing the Relationship provides more information. Key Account Management The term Key Account implies that this client contributes a significant proportion of either revenues, strategic importance or both to your business. As such, it is well worth spending the time to plan both strategically and tactically. At the very least it is likely that your Key Accounts will have both an account plan similar to the one provided in the template above and a contact matrix.

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A Key Account might also imply a very different sales relationship for the salesperson managing it. Typically, a Key Account requires the salesperson to act much more as a co-ordinator of all of the client and own organisation resources in order to achieve the stated objectives and broaden the contact base and relationships, thereby helping to build barriers to competitive entry. Contact Matrix A contact matrix is a sub set of a Key Account Plan but it can have benefit to almost any larger account where there are multiple contact points, decision makers and influencers to manage. The objective of it is to plan how you engage with each contact point and to ensure that each engagement has a purpose and moves the account or a specific opportunity within it forward. Critical here in larger accounts is the need to recognise that the salesperson on their own may not be the best person to make all of the contact engagements. It may be appropriate for a finance director, sales director, technical expert or even managing director to engage with someone within the client organisation. This increases touch points, can be used to move higher in the organisation and match specialists with other specialists. In this way, the salesperson moves into the role of conductor of the orchestra they do not do everything that is required but they co-ordinate all of the efforts. So, what does a contact matrix look like?
Us Client

You Account Manager 1

Finance Director

Technical Specialist

Managing director

Main Buyer

IT Manager

IT Specialists

Operations Director

Sales Director

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The Matrix A contact matrix starts with a list of your own team members (resources that can be utilised to assist you in the management of the account) and a list of contacts that you have (or want to have) within your client organisation. Together, this will provide a number of possible contact points as indicated by the boxes in the Contact Matrix above. Each of these boxes represents a possible contact point. It is unlikely that all of them will need to be filled with meetings or other activities - but a number of them will. The boxes within the matrix Once you have the basic matrix, you populate the relevant boxes with the key objectives of the activity and the timescale. Your role as a salesperson is to populate the matrix and then manage the resources (of both your organisation and that of the client) to ensure that the activities (meetings, reports, etc) happen. You identify and co-ordinate the needs. Here are some possible examples using the above matrix. Example 1 Who? Our organisation Their organisation Activity Required Goal Deadline

Dave Michaels Account Manager Tony Wills Main Buyer (Procurement) Meet to understand their key contract issues/requirements Clarity around the terms to prepare for meeting with our FD 12th October 2009

Example 2 Who? Our organisation Their organisation Activity Required Goal Deadline

Bill Morton Finance Director Tony Wills Main Buyer (Procurement) Meeting to discuss financial terms Agree on the financial terms as part of the contract 29th October 2009

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Example 3 Who? Our organisation Their organisation Activity Required Goal Deadline Example 4 Who? Our organisation Their organisation Activity Required Goal Deadline Example 5 Who? Our organisation Their organisation Activity Required Goal Deadline Example 6 Who? Our organisation Their organisation Activity Required Goal Deadline

Ben Salmon Technical Specialist Deborah Woods IT Manager Telephone call to agree plan for up-skilling their specialists Establish the technical relationship and agree a detailed plan 12th November 2009

Ben Salmon Technical Specialist Ted Wombat & Sarah Scarlett IT Specialists Meet to introduce ourselves and give overview of system Have established a relationship, all parties clear on system and rollout plan, establish a method of communicating 4th December 2009

Martin Levy Managing Director Edward Brook Operations Director Meeting to establish a high-level relationship Edward to understand the strategic importance of the system and agree to PR activity, us to understand their priorities 12th October 2009

Dave Michaels Account Manager Barbara Green Sales Director Meeting to plan training of the sales people on the system Have an agreed plan and dates in the diary for the training 4th December 2009

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Further resources For those of you interested in reading more about Account and Key Account Management and Planning here are a couple of book recommendations: Key Account Management A complete action kit Peter Cheverton, ISBN-10: 0-7494-4169-0 Published by Kogan Page Key Customers How to manage them profitably Malcolm McDonald, Beth Rogers, Diana Woodburn. ISBN: 0-7506-4615-2 Published by Butterworth Heineman

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