Where to start with theB2B account planning process? Well, at the beginning of course.

The first B2B account planning stage is the research. You need to do the homework on your accounts. You don’t want to do this kind of work on all your accounts. You need to pick the accounts which are strategically important, either because they are large, or because they could get large, or because their name carries weight and helps you market your business.

Once you have got your account list together, you need to update your knowledge in a number of areas:

  • Who are the key people in the account, and what are the reporting lines and lines of influence among them?
  • What have been their high level activities in the past year? Which industries, products, and do they have leadership or follower positions in those categories?
  • What revenue and profit figures have they done over the last 12 months? How are they faring as a business?

It takes time and effort to do your homework, but there’s no substitute for doing it. You have to get it done and it will pay dividends for you.

Don’t do all this yourself. Account planning is all about the team effort, so make sure you mine the information of all the people who work the account, both those in front of the customer and behind the scenes. This is where the whole is greater than the sum of the individual parts.