Are your account plans as strategic as you think?
“Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.”
Senior executives must juggle many balls. They must strike the right balance between focusing on long-term and short-term objectives. Fail on the short-term and you are out of a job; fail on the long-term and you might not have a business. Because key accounts drive both short and long-term revenue and profit, one litmus test of how well senior executives are directing the business to achieve the right balance is to see what is included in strategic account plans.
Including the word “strategic” implies a longer timeframe and matters of significance. To test if you are working at the strategic level with your key accounts take this quick 5 question test:
- Does your account plan include actions to increase your understanding of your account’s strategic priorities?
- Does your account plan include initiatives that go beyond this financial year?
- Does your account plan include actions that will broaden and deepen relationships with your account?
- Does your account plan include initiatives that are beyond your products and services?
- Does your account plan identify your account’s strategic problems, and initiatives to help solve them?
If you are serious about creating strategic relationships with your key accounts; increasing barriers to entry against competitors; and barriers to exit for your key accounts, you should score 5 out of 5 for these questions. If you did not score 5 out of 5, then you need to identify the problem. Are you too focused on the short-term? Does the account team still require development to think and act strategically?
In our experience most “strategic” account plans are operational and short-term. Businesses too often focus on winning sales at the expense of building truly strategic relationships. Account teams find it hard to manage the internal pressure for short-term results.
So make sure the accounts plans for strategic accounts include short and long-term activities; and activities that create value for both you and your strategic account.
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If you are struggling to make the shift from traditional account management to strategic account management please contact us to discuss how we can help on +61 (02) 9450 1140 or email firstname.lastname@example.org