Are Your Strategic Accounts Underperforming? PART 4 – Maybe You Need to Implement a Metric-based Strategic Account Plan
When it comes to planning, there are a lot of smarter people than I, who have eloquently spoken of the importance of planning and results of failing to do so:
“A goal without a plan is just a wish.” – Antoine de Saint-Exupéry (French aristocrat, writer, poet, and pioneering aviator)
“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” – Benjamin Franklin (Founding father of the United States of America)
“Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.” – Abraham Lincoln (16th President of The United States of America)
The concept and importance of planning is timeless; people have been succeeding when they planned and failing when they did not, long before many of us were born, and will continue to do so long after many of us are gone. In terms of strategic account management, I would like to add one more quote to the list. This one comes from W. Edwards Deming (Management professional and often credited with being the Father of Quality Engineering) who famously stated that, “You can’t manage what you don’t measure”. Being that a key component of strategic account management, is management, then we must logically deduce that just as strong a component (if not stronger) is that of measurement. This brings us to Part 4 of underperforming strategic accounts, the Metric-based Strategic Account Plan. In case you are just joining us, in the first 3 parts of this series we covered the importance of Segmentation, Competency Modeling for Strategic Account Managers, and the rules of engagement for a SAM program – the Standard Operating Procedures.
It is not possible to overstate the impact preparation and planning has on the success of a Strategic Account Management Program; the word strategic itself leads us to a whole new dimension of account management effectiveness. At the core of the planning process is a living, breathing document rich in cross-functional team-driven account intelligence. Organizations have long been creating such data intensive documents about their accounts, often referred to as the Strategic Account Plan. Many of these plans have gone unused, often due to the volume of the qualitative information, proved of little value to the Account Team, and ultimately became too time consuming for any Account Team to maintain and integrate into their already packed workday. The key to shifting this paradigm and creating a useful strategic account plan that will impact the success of your SAM program is metrics – a shift to more measurements, numbers, and a quantitative account analysis approach.
At The Chapman Group, we believe in implementing a simple metric-based account plan that provides the ultimate value to the Account Team by incorporating the right situational metrics/measurements to eliminate endless hours of research, documentation and discussion. And by doing a quick Google search for strategic account plans, or strategic account plan templates…we can also tell from the results of our search, that many of you, over 200,000, are looking for more knowledge around best practices for implementing a strategic account plan template to help plan for and manage strategic accounts. So here is what we can do to help you on your quest, and hopefully minimize your search time and maximize the performance of your strategic account management program.
If you click on the following link, The Components of a Metric-based Strategic Account Plan, you will be directed to a page where you can download The Chapman Group’s definitive guide to a Metric-based Strategic Account Plan. And while you are in our resource center you will also want to listen to our short podcast on Executing the Strategic Account Plan, in order to bring the metric-based components described in our guide to life. Like the famous Yankee catcher Yogi Berra said, “If you don’t know where you are going, you will end up someplace else”. Downloading this resource is a great first step in setting the course for optimal strategic account success.