The End of the Account Planning Ritual
The Account Plan is an anathema to many organizations. The merry dance that is performed every year (called the Account Planning Process) is often seen as a ritualistic exercise that is performed to please the Gods (although no-one can remember why). This is not difficult to understand if the resulting Account Plan is seen as incomplete, rapidly out of date and disconnected to the daily tasks. Sadly, in many cases the only thing that the Strategic Account Plan changes is people’s attitude to Strategic Account Management! Often, the Plan is seen to be the goal rather than a means to an end, turning on its head the old adage that “The plan is nothing, planning is everything”.
In the end, it is often the case that everyone remembers the budgeted sales figure and no one remembers the Plan. Companies need an approach that: – captures the key data for strategic analysis – helps to turn the data into a systematic account strategy – translates the strategy into the daily actions of the account team – allows continuous evaluation by the account team and account director of the effectiveness of the implementation – permits routine corrections to the strategy based on daily company/customer feedback.
Published in Focus Europe by the Strategic Account Management Association, Volume 2, No. 4, 2002