In the first B2B account planning stage, we covered the research you need to do to update the picture on all your important accounts.

The second B2B account planning stage is grouping.

You’ve profiled your key accounts, now you need to put them in the right groups. To do this, plot how much they mean to your business, now and in the future. Draw a 2-by-2 matrix on a whiteboard. The bottom side represents the relativeĀ level of current work you get from the account. The left side is the relative level of future work you can see coming from that account. This future work is a judgement call for where you see the relationship going, and based on your work in the first stage.

Where current work meets future work for a particular account is the place where that account sits on your 2-by-2 matrix. When you’ve done all the accounts, you’ll have 4 groups of accounts. Bottom left is your low current work, low future work grouping (hopefully not too many in there, especially if you’re looking at your main accounts…). The top right quadrant houses your jewels, accounts with a great current supply of work and great potential. The next most attractive group is the top-left section of accounts with lower current work but good potential, leaving your bottom right accounts which give you good work right now but where you see not much coming thereafter.

Two B2B account planning stages down, a bunch to go, but you’re making progress. Now it’s time to narrow your focus and place your bets.