• Gert Scholts

2020: Failing to plan is planning to fail

Updated: Apr 8


This 2 minute read helps Customer Success and Key Account Managers achieve their high growth sales targets. account activity and outcomes for 2020.

The prime role of the Key Account Manager is to grow and retain accounts.

It makes sense having a planned approach with key accounts especially if they are large and very important to your company’s success.

In addition to obvious numbers such as quote to order history and annual turnover, there are just six fundamental questions for each key account relationship to answer. Having the answers will help to improve sales, retain the customer and deliver great service.It will deliver the account strategy for 2020.

Here are the 6 questions:

1. Current Relationship:

What is our current position with this customer?

For example:

Do we get all the orders we could get from them? If not, why not?

How does the customer see us? A partner, a fall-back supplier, expensive, fabulous?

How would you describe the key challenges we face in developing and managing the relationship?

2. Customer Agenda:

What is the customer’s agenda of essential goals and priorities?

Like your own company, they will have a monthly, annual or even longer plan. If we have good knowledge about this plan, we should be able to gain more business from them. We should help the customer achieve their plans. Some customers would be very happy to share their plans or vision. It can often be found on the website or in brochures.

3. Our Aspirations

What are our aspirations for this customer relationship?

What should it look like in terms of turnover, product mix, order methods and relationship with key contacts? Numbers are good to state our timed, objectives, yet the quality of the relationship should also be articulated. Great account management includes sharing some of the aspirations with the customer. The larger a customer, the more they want a deep relationship.

4. Major Opportunities:

What are the most promising opportunities to deepen and grow this customer, given their goals and priorities?

This could be through products, service led, relationship based or projects the customer is hoping to win.

5. Key Relationships:

What senior relationships must be developed or deepened to capture the opportunities?

This should cover decision makers as well as influencers. It makes sense to matrix this with other people in in your company to ensure the key players in both organisation have a relationship with each other too.

6. Internal support:

What help do I need to achieve the plan?

What internal resources and people do you need to leverage to capture the best near-term opportunities and reach your ultimate aspirations for the relationship. This can include products, delivery mechanisms, bespoke pricing or even customer incentives like football tickets or other entertainment.

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Key account template

Below is a template you can use to complete the 2020 plan for one key account.

Account Name: 2020 Revenue/GP target:

Key Account Manager:

1. Describe the current relationship

2. What is the customer’s trying to achieve this year?

3. What are my plans with this account for the remainder of 2019:

4. What are the major opportunities I aim to achieve with this account:

5. Who are the key relationships that need developing for this account:

6. What support do I need to grow this account?

Good luck and if you want some idea on key account planning and how to achieve your 2020 targets, feel free to get in touch. gert.scholts@thebestsalescoach.co.uk

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