Why Should You Make A Partner or Account Plan?
Partner and account plans are often used to provide structure for sales and create a blueprint for your and your partner’s success. A lot has been written about how to create good partner or account plans and their characteristics. We’re sure you’ve created your own account plan before the end of last year, but are you still using your account plan? Once the year gets started most partner & account plans aren’t used anymore. This is why I understand why some account managers ask themselves, “Why should we make an account plan in the first place?”Partner & account plans help you take some distance. It helps you assess if your current attempts are helping you grow your revenue and your business. As competition in the market increases, account plans help you stay more focused - which is critical to achieving your goal. Still not convinced? In this blog post, we’ll discuss the main reasons why it’s important to make an account plan, take some distance, and be more focused.
The business industry has become more competitive in recent years. Businesses have risen and fallen - and older companies are facing more competition from new competitors. Customers are also smarter at making decisions - because they have access to data right at their fingertips. The rise of many new variables that can impact businesses has led to the rise of analysts and data in sales. That said, partner & account plans force you to take a step back and assess the potential in your region or a subset of accounts. It helps you identify the market share, strengths and weaknesses, and level of competition of your business, partners, and competitors.
What’s the value offered by your partners? Is there a lot of potential in the industry? Will a partnership be mutually beneficial? Analyzing your partner’s potential through your account plan will help you predict and pursue high-revenue potential and profitable partners that can help your business grow.
Take some distance and focus on the needs of your accounts. Assess a subset of accounts on a group level or individual level and identify the main needs of each account. What do their customers need? How can the sales team achieve its target? What’s the problem from the bottom up? The answers to these questions can help you develop marketing campaigns to service these accounts. It will also help you understand the strategic needs of your customers and help you support and grow your account the right way.
3. Objectives & Key Results (OKR)
Sales teams need to be able to measure their level of success. They need to see metrics, objectives, and milestones because what gets measured, gets done. Partner or account plans create a record of what individuals ought to do in order to achieve their performance metrics.
For example, Employee X said that he was going to close a 100,000 € deal with Company Y. So far, he hasn’t achieved his goal. Thanks to the account plan, the company can look back at what Employee X did before the sale and ask: “Did you follow up with Company Y last December? Did you meet up and build your relationship with Employee Y?” If you have a detailed partner or account plan, you can ask for accountability and let Employee X know what he did wrong and what needs to be done. If you don’t have a partner plan or account plan, you won’t have the right data to help you determine the next steps to close the deal.
Ready to Make Your Partner or Account Plan?
Partner & account plans are very useful. They help you assess the potential of your accounts, analyze each account’s needs so you can achieve your objectives and key results (OKRs). It might seem like no big deal, but it’s necessary so you aren’t led astray in achieving your objectives. How do you make a partner or account plan? In our next post, we’ll follow up on how to make these plans concrete. You can also find a video version on our YouTube channel "Why making an account plan?"Learn more from our BRM Academy video