I just read recently the percent of salespeople hitting or exceeding sales plan goals dropped again from 63% to 58%. Why are salespeople failing to achieve the sales plans their organizations? How can we fix this common sales problem and grow our sales profitably? In this series of posts I will share how to develop strategic account development plans.
I feel I need to warn you now strategy work is not easy, they take time and discovery and that is why not many salespeople strategically develop them. With a strategic account development plan your sales will grow profitably. Without account development plans your sales are at the mercy of market highs and lows, buyer dispositions, and your competitions’ ability to execute.
Without account development plans every day feels like your hair is on fire. Customers are demanding your time and there are not enough hours in the day to firefight all their demands.
You are in reaction mode and not strategic.
We have all heard the quote:
“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.”
― Benjamin Franklin
And yet when I coach salespeople and ask to see their account development plans I get that deer in the headlights look.
What are common reasons salespeople have shared with me (off the record of course) on why they cannot develop account growth plans…
#1. “I don’t have the time”
#2 “I am so busy”
#3 “All I can do is keep up with my customers and distributor requests”
#4 “I am so busy answering emails”
#5 “I would love to write account growth plans but….Do you know how much time entering information into the CRM takes?”
#6 “Everyday is a firefight, putting out fires and you want me to pause and be strategic?”
#7 “What is an account development plan and how do I build one?
#8 ” I have a plan its just not written down”
I am sure you too have heard all of the above and more.
Salespeople are like customers; their perception is their reality.
As sales leaders we must create a new perception. We must move our sales teams from reactive to proactive selling with strategic account development plans.
Just as we want and need our salespeople to evolve from “reps” to “strategic trusted advisors” for their customers, we need to teach them how to develop strategic account development plans and coach them to execute those plans.
When I teach and coach salespeople, anyone for that matter, I like to use analogies to help what I am sharing stick.
Developing strategic account growth plans is much like solving Rubik’s Cube.
In 1974 Ernõ Rubik, a professor from Budapest In Hungary, wanted to help his students understand three-dimensional problems. His solution? He invented the Rubik’s Cube!
His solid cube did things that the world hadn’t seen before. It twisted and turned yet it didn’t break. Adding 54 colorful stickers to the six sides gave this amazing puzzle its iconic look.
When Ernõ Rubik built his first Cube, it took him over a month to solve it himself.
This toy forced people playing it to think in 3 dimensions and that is why it has been one of the best selling toys in the last 40 years.
When you look at a scrambled Cube, you know what you need to do. But – without instruction, it’s almost impossible to solve!
Strategic Account Development Plans are like Rubik’s cube …most salespeople do not know how to solve this three dimensional problem.
What else do we know?
When you have a plan in place, you can ensure you’re growing key relationships, giving each customer, client, the appropriate amount of attention on topics and creating value for them.
Strategic account development plans help you think in 3-D and when you learn to do so, your account plans will result in…
- Increased sales
- Higher close rates
- Higher gross profit per sale
- Increased new product placements
- Improved customer satisfaction
- Reduced customer churn
- Winning targeted new customers
- Customers supporting your portfolio of solutions
- Increased value for the customers business and your company
If you’re ready to get started on creating your own strategic account management plans, these next series of posts can help you solve the puzzle of developing strategic account development plans and help your sales team achieve sales quota.
The next series of posts are the steps I was hired to execute and or taught for years to develop strategic account development plans that drive profitable growth. (Explosive growth in a number of cases!) .
What are your thoughts so far?
Do your salespeople have account development plans?
Are they strategic?
Are your account development plans driving the sales and profit growth you need?