Wednesday, May 15, 2024

Drive revenue and customer satisfaction with great account planning

If you want to deliver more value into your strategic or key accounts, effective account planning is foundational.

And…account planning is distinct from an account plan.

Account planning is an ongoing process, involving multiple players — the KAD or SAM or lead sales person, the CSM, other pillar reps, relevant SEs and key customer stakeholders.

I explored the topic of account planning with Ulrik Monberg, CEO of ARPEDIO, last fall, for the Thoughts on Selling Podcast.

We have similar views on the topic of account planning, including the value of relationship maps and action plans. I also recorded a “Short Bytes” session on account planning best practices. Both are available via Spotify or Apple Podcasts.

Full disclosure…when I first launched the Acelera Group, focusing on account planning and pipeline development, I didn’t have an account planning platform strategy. In my prior experience, facilitating over 300 account planning sessions, and more than 30 key account planning sessions, at Oracle and Google, PowerPoint (and Google Slides) was my platform of choice. (Ulrik got a chuckle from that!)

It took only a few customers to ask “how do we scale this” for me to search for…and find…ARPEDIO as the answer to that question. Now customers can scale a highly effective account planning process across their entire organization, providing similar value and functionality for each sales team chartered with account planning.

By the way, late Q2 or early Q3 is a great time to conduct account planning sessions with customers to ensure a strong close to 2024. Let me know if you’d like assistance in developing a formal account planning framework or need facilitation for important customers.



Friday, May 10, 2024

Your big deal is at risk!


160 selling days left in 2024...and your big deal is at risk.

☹️ Financially engineered deals have been falling flat this year. Closed/No Decision.

☹️ Great business solution deals have been falling flat this year. Closed/No Decision.

What's going on?

In deal review after deal review, what I'm hearing is that customers are not tempted by the opportunity save money. Just not worth it.

They're also not tempted to commit to new applications or solutions. They've got so much on their plates now...higher business demands, limited headcount, reduced budgets, that BAU is the clear winner.

BAU may stink, but it's the stink they already know...and teams won't commit to any additional work/complexity/risk in the short run to gain back time/productivity/stability later. 2024 is just not the year for customers to take a flyer. Too much risk, too little upside. They're rather stick with BAU and its stink.

The only way to move an opportunity forward is to focus on change management, the trough of despair and the commitment of both the key stakeholders and the affected team(s).

With deep understanding of the short term requirements for change, and the accompanying (slight) reduction in risk perception, the prospect can then make a more informed choice.

Oh, and by the way, they're still ultimately making the decision based on individual gut feel and make sure that you're not trying to help them *think* their way through the decision.