Any solutions provider company worth its salt is aware that its clients are not seeking vendors but rather strategic partners who can give insights on industry trends, consumer preferences, and other factors. In order to monitor and manage the sales funnel, it has become essential for both small and large firms to plan for and track important sales accounts.
Additionally, solution provider companies are adopting or evaluating the adoption of technologies to manage the practice better. However, adopting the latest technologies does not guarantee success, as firms must also evaluate several other criteria.
Importance Of Account Planning Tools
Account planning is becoming a need for sales companies since it enables sales and marketing team members to understand their clients better and maximize their time. In today’s fast-paced environment, when firms are required to be more agile and responsive, account planning in B2B sales is of utmost importance.
It also helps staff to acquire insight into consumers’ wants, which may be used to enhance service offerings, generate revenue, and streamline procedures to minimize expenses. Historically, these duties have been completed using readily accessible instruments and software, such as pen and paper, spreadsheets, and text documents.
Gartner expects that by 2025, 80% of B2B sales engagements would occur via digital channels in its Future of Sales 2025 research. As B2B sales become increasingly digital, technology and digital technologies have a vital role in Account planning. Tools for sales account planning remove the randomness from managing account data and assist sales teams in organizing, prioritizing, and planning their actions.
They are applicable to any firm, not simply the typical B2B sector. There are a variety of sales account planning tools available, ranging from software with a built-in CRM system (which centralizes customer data) to enterprise applications that integrate with multiple platforms, such as email marketing automation, social media management, and lead management systems.
Tools And Software For Sales Account Planning
Account planning is a strategic process that aids in activities, focuses on the correct accounts and resources, and eventually contributes to the achievement of goals. Account planning tools assist sales managers and executives in comprehending the present market landscape and preparing for the next three to four years.
77% of sales professionals surveyed by LinkedIn’s State of Sales 2021 report that their sales organization intends to invest more in sales intelligence technologies. These account planning tools also provide insight into how well each account fits within the overall strategy for achieving specific objectives.
For instance, if an engagement isn’t generating enough revenue per month (or quarter), it may not be worthwhile to continue because the funds spent on this client could have been spent elsewhere.
Real-time tools are essential to success because they give information on strategic accounts, and cross-platform solutions are more user-friendly and provide results more quickly by integrating data across departmental silos.
Delivering extensive assessments in the form of visuals, such as graphs and charts, enable swift decision-making. Not only do they help firms stay in business, but they also increase income and market share.
Fundamental Responsibilities Of Strategic Account Planning
The technique for account planning entails identifying essential stakeholders, relationships, and possibilities that are typically overlooked. In graphs and charts, these data relationships are examined and evaluated. They intend to simplify complicated data so that sales teams and other stakeholders may make appropriate judgments.
In order to do this, they must engage in a number of actions to comprehend their client’s needs and issues. To improve the connection and increase current accounts, gathering vital information to match product features with client goals and constantly offer value is necessary. Account managers then build action plans and cooperate with their clients to accomplish initiatives – achieving the status of trusted adviser.
Due to the number of factors involved in sales account management, sales professionals must approach the process in an organized manner. Understanding the components of the sales account planning process is necessary for establishing a functional structure and adopting solutions that meet the requirements of sales teams and their companies.
Implementing A Sales Account Plan
Future customer-impacting difficulties can be gleaned through an examination of industry patterns. This enables sales teams to comprehend their need for change, whether it is due to shifts in market mood, resource constraints, rival concerns, or government requirements. Identifying the customer’s top priorities can aid the sales team in developing the skeleton of a viable solution.
Maintaining solid client connections creates new opportunities, such as new divisions or business units, which should be recorded. In addition, chronicling the customer’s past provides a clear perspective of present prospects, and adding potential future chances can make this list more relevant over time.
Customer strategy maps aid in identifying which objectives and efforts align with the solution’s capabilities. These maps define the objectives, obstacles, and organizational culture of client organizations, making it simple for sales team members to discover areas where the greatest value can be added to the customer’s plans.
Assessing stakeholders according to their role, impact, and affinity for the solution provides an accurate picture of the solution’s strengths and weaknesses. With sufficient information, sales account planners may define critical objectives, such as developing client relationships and enhancing the perceived value of the solution.
Prioritize The Needed Functionality
It goes without saying that an easy interface, plug-and-play compatibility with popular ERP, a dependable data collecting and administration procedure, and simplified overviews of client income estimates, risk relationship scores, and targets should be standard for every account management software.
With customized feeds emphasizing news about the client organization and analytical charts displaying the number of accounts, managers, regions, and pipeline quantities, sales teams may spend less time on incorrect information, duplicate entries, and other readily preventable issues.
For the sales staff to make wiser decisions about how to expand the business in the future, it is also vital to have a clear grasp of the organization’s goals in order to choose the appropriate account management solution.
Integration with CRMs provides a single solution for all business requirements, such as sales account planning and forecasting, and also reduces the learning curve. This allows sales teams to incorporate the product into their regular routines rather than learning its complexities from fresh. Good tools let managers prioritize opportunities and establish individual salesperson or team goals.
A wide variety of resources are available to assist sales teams in getting new clients and retaining existing ones. Although it may seem like a waste of time now, sales account planning is a useful tool that can help you save time and effort in the long term by allowing you to concentrate on activities with the greatest potential for return.
Almost half of the business-to-business organizations (46%) aim to increase spending on content marketing in the next 12 months. Incorporating account planning into your sales strategy today can pay dividends in the long run.