What Is Account Planning?
Today’s high-performing sales teams are driven by a rigorous discipline of planning and organization. Account planning refers broadly to the processes that make up this discipline, which include gathering, mapping, managing, and analyzing data to help sales teams form stronger relationships and drive sustained revenue from key accounts.
Why Account Planning Is Important
Heightened buyer expectations and increasingly large buying groups leave little room for a sales team to operate in the dark. Account planning sheds light on your prospecting and sales development efforts, providing a data-driven and analytical understanding of how decision-making works within an organization. Through this intelligence, teams can orchestrate tailored strategies for customer acquisition and – even more importantly – long-term retention.
Benefits of Effective Account Planning
Developing a strong approach to account planning in B2B sales can yield many advantages, including:
- Shortened deal cycles
- Improved customer loyalty and retention
- Reduced customer acquisition costs
- Superior sales team collaboration
- Increased customer lifetime value
- Better customer experiences
These benefits all stem from a simple premise: when your sales reps are better informed with accurate and up-to-date insights, they spend less time searching for details and more time solving the right problems for customers.
What Is an Account Plan?
An account plan is a strategic plan to improve alignment with your key customers and prospects. A successful account plan can improve pipeline development and customer retention, resulting in increased revenue.
An account plan typically involves the following elements and activities:
- Company Overview – Mapping critical details about a prospect or customer
- Competitive Overview – Understanding the competition
- Key Initiatives – Identifying key initiatives
- Account Map – Aligning with critical decision-makers
- Strategy Brief – Developing an overall strategy to win, retain, and grow the account.
Account Plan Template
Account plans help you generate pipeline and meet your sales targets more effectively and consistently. Our free account plan template provides you with a framework and best practices to help organize and centralize all of your key account insights with ease.
You’ll be able to track all of the following components within our free account plan template:
- Account Overview – General information about the account.
- Key Stakeholders – Overview of the key stakeholders and influencers in the account.
- Financial Overview – Overview of the key account financials.
- Account Team – Overview of the account team and related roles.
- Account Scorecard – Overview of the alignment between you and the account.
- Account Initiatives – Overview of top account initiatives/projects planned for the upcoming fiscal year.
- Spend Analysis – Overview of how the account spends.
- Partners – Overview of the key partners in your account.
- Opportunity Revenue Summary – Overview of closed, open, and hypothetical opportunities.
- Account Plan Goals – Overview of goals related to your account plan.
- Account Plan Risks – Risks related to the successful execution of your account plan.
Download Your Account Plan Template
This template aims to include every area of insight that can help you understand and engage accounts for long-term revenue success. We hope you feel this is the best account plan template you have ever used!
Account Planning FAQS
How do you start account planning with your team?
It begins with a collective commitment to the discipline of account planning. Educate everyone on your team about the how and why, while spelling out the benefits of using an account plan to guide relationship-building efforts within an account. From there, you’ll need a resource to use as your central account planning documentation. The account plan template will work perfectly for this purpose. Ongoing maintenance and updating is made easy with software that can automatically capture insights in real-time.
What is the goal of an account plan?
The goal of an account plan is to provide central visibility into key insights around prospective and current accounts, with a goal of more quickly converting them into customers, as well as retaining and growing the account after an initial sale is made. Account plans are essential to driving sustainable revenue in B2B sales today.
What goes into an effective account plan?
Effective account plans can look different based on the sales team, its goals, and its makeup. However, the one universal ingredient in an account plan that drives results is good, clean, and robust data. The more you know about your customers, the more you can use the tailored solutions and capabilities that your portfolio delivers to help them achieve their unique goals.
Ready to map out and execute your sales strategy?
Put the account plan template into action with Sales Solution Essentials, a sales application that empowers your teams to build account plans natively in Salesforce.
Leverage a suite of capabilities such as automated playbooks, relationship maps, and deal scorecards to improve win rates and shorten sales cycles. These tools are embedded directly in Salesforce – placing the insights sellers need for improved execution where they already work.