We’re half way there. We’ve completed the first four stages of the B2B account planning process. We’ve researched, grouped our accounts, targeted the ones we’ll go after. Then, in the crucial fourth B2B account planning stage, we strategised on the accounts and came up with projects that we could work on with our accounts to help them solve problems that we’ve identified for them.

Now we’re onto the fifth B2B account planning stage, which is to build and execute our plan. Building the plan involves being selective about which projects and opportunities you’re going to pursue. In the previous stage you brainstormed lots of potential projects. You can’t do them all – if you can you didn’t create enough of them. Now you need to select the best ones. These are the ones that are in the happy place of offering the most value for you together with the most impact – and hence value – for your accounts.

Once you’ve selected the opportunities you’re going to pursue, you need to make a plan for how you’re going to win the business. This involves understanding how the accounts work and who the movers and shakers are within each account. It also involves breaking the big task of winning the business into a series of smaller tasks where you assign a specific member of your team to secure something definite from a particular member of the account team. Breaking it down this way means that you should only consider smaller tasks that will actually help you towards the big task. Forget all the other smaller tasks that don’t help; they’re a distraction.

Smaller tasks shouldn’t be woolly, like ‘get a meeting with the CEO.’ They should be specific, like ‘get a meeting with the CTO by the end of the month to secure her sponsorship of our project.’ By all means use a more detailed framework for your tasks, like SMART – Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Timely – because you need to be able to monitor your performance against plan.

When you’ve built your plan, go execute it!

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