Are you in charge of strategic account planning at your organization? If so, are you satisfied with the business results? Or are you, along with many others in your role, discouraged, disappointed and dismayed by lower-than-expected revenues and profits from these “strategic” client accounts?
After two decades helping our clients increase their revenue from strategic accounts, here are our strategic account planning suggestions on ways to tighten the process and increase relationships and results. You need to be clear on the roles to be played and who should play them.
- Designate a Chief of Relationships
This is often the strategic account lead. It should be a person whose strength is in building relationships and who understands who wields influence in the client organization. They are politically savvy, know who matters in the decision-making and buying process and they keep current with personnel and market changes. They make sure that the competition has no avenues open because the important relationships are maintained and built for the long-term.
- Designate a Business Driver
Select a person on the team who can be in in charge of leaving no stone unturned. This person is focused on growth and the next opportunity. They thrive on identifying new possibilities for sales and developing them into actual deals.
- Designate a Forward Thinker
Find the person on your team who has earned a reputation for innovative thinking. This is the person who should explore the account for new ways you can provide value. They should be big picture thinkers who go beyond the current horizon to that horizon that is just out of reach. They can be the ones who push the envelope and stimulate forward, out-of-the-box thinking in both your organizations.
- Build a multi-faceted team
There are other roles needed on a high performing strategic account planning team. It is possible that one person may play several roles at once. But make sure you have the technical expertise you need to evaluate solutions from a practical point of view, the project manager who organizes the account plan so that progress is tracked and outcomes reached, and a devil’s advocate who challenges the plans and provides a reality check now and then.
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