Friday, 28 July
Today's Topic
Strategic Acct Planning

Skill

Strategic account planning encompasses a lot of details about your work and your customers. But the focus should always be on your buyers, ideas, and resources that support your selling.

You’re one-third into the quarter, so it’s clear how your revenue is tracking. If sales lag, you might want to review your strategic account planners to find inspiration for a late-inning rally.

Examine your A accounts and seek insights that propel you with action items. Specifically, how’s your VITO strategy? Remember them? ….your Very Important Top Officers? The money you might be able to grab in Q3 comes from people, so one focus should be on getting to those people.

And if your sales cycle is such that your quarter is over, reviewing your planners and VITOs (aka KDMs) is a healthy thing to do now to set up Q4.

Most sellers put a ton of energy into their quarterly account plans, and then the docs sit dormant in the cloud, getting lonely. (Those poor little planners. Sitting alone and unattended can not be fun…even for a cloud document.)

The purpose of all that strategic thinking you did for the quarter was to help you manage your selling activities throughout the quarter. Your quarterly rev number might be in full focus by now, but you still have many actions you must work on throughout the quarter.

When simplified, strategic sales thinking is pretty clear cut: it’s about people – getting meetings with your VITOs….the Very Important Top Officers. It’s about ideas – developing solutions for your top accounts. And it’s about internal navigation to get the resources you need to satisfy the VITOs and the ideas!

You’ve heard the expression, "Plan the work, work the plan;" nothing more true could apply to how you need to make your strategic account planning live throughout the term.

Do

Don’t freak if you feel Q3 is shot, there’s always something you can do to drive near-term results; let your planners lead the way. Inspiration exists in those docs, you just have to go find it.

Review who you targeted as your quarterly VITOs and appraise your meeting progress. Your Top 20 prospect hot list will tell you who’s left to meet with; now’s the time to double down on getting face time.

Re-setting prospecting priorities is key at this point in the quarter. Controlling your prospecting efforts to get meetings with every KDM on your list is easier to control than your final Q3 sales tally.

If you’re struggling to hit Q3, this is the time to approach your manager for help getting meetings. You might think it’s a simple conversation, but read on if you want insights on handling the appeal smartly.

Strategic account plans are tools designed to help you when you’re trending up in a quarter or trending down.

Don’t do it alone if you’re lagging in sales but working hard to get meetings. Get your manager involved. Your manager can help but will be receptive only after hearing about your exhaustive efforts to get meetings. Don’t appeal to your manager if you haven’t reached that point yet.

Give your manager a quick synopsis of everything you’ve done to break through to your KDMs, and equip them with key knowledge about your buyers that they can use. At the end of the quarter, you’ll want to co-own your prospecting efforts with your manager, especially if you miss your number.

There are other insights your account planners can give you to battle through the rest of this quarter.
1. People. Double down on your prospecting efforts not just for this quarter but for Q4 too. Especially if you’re tracking behind on revenue, you must ensure you’re tracking ahead on meeting with your target KDMs.

2. Ideas. No doubt there are details about ideas and solutions for key accounts buried in your planners that might not have received attention. Change that. Review the planners looking to regain momentum on strategies you may have overlooked.

3. Resources. It’s summer, people are scattered, and they’re distracted too. A review of your account planners most certainly will prompt actions you need to take to mobilize the resources that support the closing months of this year. Line ’em up.

Don’t be freaked if you feel Q3 is shot, there’s always something you can do to drive results in the near term, so let those planners lead the way.

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"Strategic planning is not strategic thinking. Indeed, strategic planning often spoils strategic thinking, causing managers to confuse real vision with the manipulation of numbers." -Henry Mintzberg

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