So far our account planning process has seen us do the research, group our accounts, and then, in our previous post, target the accounts we will pursue with more vigour.

Now we come to the fourth B2B account planning stage. It’s arguably the most important stage of the 8 stages, because within it lies the real power of account planning: the power of creation.

The fourth B2B account planning stage is to strategise on your accounts. It works like this.

  • What are these accounts’ objectives? What do you think or know each account is trying to accomplish?
  • What’s stopping them from achieving their objectives? What problems do they have?
  • What will happen if they don’t do something to fix the problem?
  • Crucially, how can you help them fix their problems? What projects with you should your accounts invest in to get to where they want to be?

In a nutshell, you’re doing the work for your customer, but from your expert perspective. What initiatives should they take on? What does success look like for these initiatives?

It’s about your accounts’ initiatives first, your products or services second. Once you’ve brainstormed a whole bunch of initiatives or projects for your target accounts, you can map these to a range of possible opportunities for you to develop the account.

I talked about power earlier in this post. The power of this strategising process is that, rather than wait for your accounts to come to you with projects where you’re on the back foot, you’re getting on the front foot and devising projects and solutions to bring to your customers that they may not have thought of – yet. Companies that make a good job of account planning have been able to multiply the amount of opportunities they have in play by 3, 4 sometimes 5 or more times. That’s powerful.