A recent report indicated that “over 75% of participants from 62 countries believe that account planning results in a higher win rate and develops better client relationships.”
Spurred up by the pandemic and supported by emerging technologies, the global business landscape of 2022 has become one of the most challenging times for most enterprises to conduct business. This has led to the emergence of account planning as a way to foster relationships and gain an in-depth understanding of clients to close high-value deals.
What is Account Planning?
Account planning is the process of identifying priority accounts, capturing and analyzing critical information, and developing strategies to expand and grow existing customer relationships.
The problem with traditional sales processes is the categorization of customers based on basic criteria such as industry, overall sales, and other data points. This often simplifies a company’s understanding of its clients. On the other hand, account planning encourages sales executives to develop a deeper understanding of each customer’s individual needs, motivations, and business intentions.
A recent study covering 1034 people from 62 countries to determine the benefits of account planning in an organization indicated:
- Better Win rate (75%)
- Increased understanding of customers’ business (72%)
- Shorter sales cycles (58%)
- Better customer loyalty (55%)
- Increased deal size (49%)
- Better executive access (47%)
- Identify non-competitive deals (27%)
These statistics hold great importance today considering the rapid movement of global business that has resulted in greater competition and lesser time to reach the prospect.
Let us dive deep and break down the benefits of account planning and discover ways to utilize it for the best.
Experience Growth in Customer Loyalty
A major benefit of account planning is that it forms mutually beneficial relationships with your clients. This leads to agreeing on an objective that satisfies the interest of both parties, thus deepening the relationship while building loyalty.
With this, you can dive deep into any customer’s detailed analysis and utilize specific insights to approach them with better offers. These tools document your history with the customer and opportunities for expansion like untapped business units and new divisions. The idea is to help you identify the “white space,” which are areas where you can add value.
Close High-Value Deals Faster
Sourcing and developing new leads is a time-consuming process that blocks your resources on mundane tasks. In contrast, finding potential opportunities with existing accounts can accelerate the closing process because the relationship already exists at some level. Sales teams may even know key stakeholders and understand how the customer prefers to buy.
This knowledge is critical for sales because more than 63 percent of 1200 COOs agree that understanding customer needs is a significant challenge today.
Since a majority of lengthy, detailed efforts of finding relevant data are taken care of by account planning tools, professionals can focus more of their time and energy on closing high-value deals.
Gain In-depth Understanding of Clients
The sole motive of account planning is diving deep into customer accounts and discovering insights that can help close a deal. However, the availability of the correct information at the right time can be an issue. Even though the account information varies from tool to tool, mostly every account planning tool covers some form of information about your customers. Hence, it is crucial to find an account planning tool that not only includes information but also in-depth insights about your customers.
For instance, sales intelligence tools like Draup for Sales provide in-depth insights about your prospects as well as existing customers. The information covered includes:
- Financial Analysis
- Digital tech stack
- Top locations
- Hiring patterns
- Outsourcing patterns
- Strategic Signals
- Business intentions
- Organizational structure
- Key executives
Sales executives can utilize each category of information to figure out what the customer needs and when they need it. This not only will help in approaching with a better proposal but also help you close the deal faster because you understand them better.
Preserve and Nurture Priority Relationships
Relationships are extremely valuable in B2B sales. Even losing one client represents significant damage to financials. Therefore, relationships cannot be taken for granted. However, with consistent communication, sales professionals can understand the customer’s pulse.
Account planning offers real-time information on the changing direction of the customer’s initiatives and goals. When sales professionals have access to real-time data, they are uniquely positioned to leverage the specific insights to approach their clients or prospects with proposals suiting their needs.
Draup’s account planning feature enables users to bookmark various companies based on specific preferences. It assists in bookmarking peers or competitors and adding them to multiple lists for prospect planning or benchmarking processes as well as side-by-side comparisons.