Everything You Should Know About Enterprise Account Planning
Any sales team that works with larger, enterprise-level clients knows the importance of detailed preparation to execute such accounts successfully.
Strategic planning is an essential step in any sales process, but when it comes to enterprise accounts, the stakes are much higher.
When engaging with large-scale deals, there's an added layer of sophistication, elaborateness, and complex dynamics. The initial sale can take upwards of nine months, if not longer, but then requires a high degree of customer relationship management to maintain and grow the account.
For any sales team selling to enterprise accounts, It's never just a one-time sale. There's a long-term relationship at play - a path to upsell, cross-sell, and expand within the account.
To effectively navigate such accounts, there needs to be a roadmap - an end-to-end plan for execution.
And here, we'll cover everything you need to know about enterprise account planning, including why it's important for success, how to get started, and the top strategies to implement into your sales organization.
What is enterprise account planning?
For B2B organizations, it's possible to sell into the same organization through upsells, cross-sells, and adding other units and divisions for years.
In fact, as Paul Farris noted in Marketing Metrics: The Definitive Guide to Measuring Marketing Performance, the probability of selling to a new prospect is 5-20%. The probability of selling to an existing customer is 60-70%.
Doing this requires maintaining relationships, understanding the challenges of each account, and providing value on an ongoing basis. There needs to be alignment and continued preparation with each account in order to maximize the long-term potential.
It's the comprehensive process of assessing customer needs, mapping out potential opportunities and obstacles with each account, preparing an overall strategy, and executing the plan to expand within high-value accounts.
The planning process looks to identify key pieces of information to create a comprehensive overview of the account, such as:
- Summary of the customer's business strategy
- Customer's key business initiatives
- Understanding of key stakeholders in every major business unit or department
- Audit of customer's products and revenue
- Key dates and milestones across projects throughout the whole account
- Analysis of customer competition
Articulating and communicating the customer's overarching strategy provides invaluable context to all stakeholders and serves as a powerful tool in driving revenue through new and existing accounts.
Why is enterprise account planning important?
Your team's process to close and manage Enterprise accounts is critical to any company's sales strategy.
It begins with truly understanding their initiatives and pain points inside out. The value your product or service delivers will only draw attention if it's positioned properly - making the lives of the customer's team easier, helping them achieve their goals faster, or saving them time and money.
Strategic account planning helps to connect the dots - tying together how your product or service offers value, meets objectives, and helps realize business wins. It provides a complete overview of the Enterprise account, what they need now, and what they may need in the future.
Land and expand
Once a customer is onboarded, regardless of the company's total addressable market size or the number of other potential customers, customer retention and expansion remain primary drivers of growth.
Documenting the customer's overarching strategy in an account plan helps to evaluate potential opportunities and challenges, identify the best approach for expansion and success, and deliver a roadmap for success.
It doesn't just help the initial sales team. The onboarding and customer success team also benefit from planning, as they can better understand the long-term outlook of each client and can tailor their approach accordingly.
This process is about more than just selling more products or services. Instead, it's about understanding the customer's current needs and goals, anticipating their future needs, adjusting offerings accordingly, and providing value over the long term.
How to start account planning
Identify the enterprise accounts which require account planning
The first step is to visit your sales funnel and customer base and evaluate which accounts will need enterprise account planning. Look for accounts with long-term potential, those in your core Ideal Customer Profile (ICP), high-spend customers, and enterprise customers.
Research these customers' trends and needs
Once you've identified the accounts that fit your ICP, it's important to research their trends and needs. The data should include the primary needs, business objectives, customer initiatives, key stakeholders, competition, etc.
Build an end-to-end Enterprise account plan for each customer
After gathering the necessary data and insights, you'll want to create an Enterprise account plan. This plan should include an overview of the customer's business, objectives, and the services or products you can offer to help them achieve their goals.
Top strategies to implement
There are a few best practices to follow when creating Enterprise Account Plans to ensure they're effective and comprehensive.
Standardizing the process with an enterprise account plan template
Each process needs to be adopted by everyone to be successful.
It's considered a best practice to use a standardized approach to give the entire sales team visibility into the Enterprise account and ensure a consistent customer experience.
Dedicated account plan templates provide a comprehensive solution to enterprise account planning. It gives dedicated enterprise sellers and customer success teams one central location to develop a long-term strategy to deliver value and expand within a prospect or customer.
Tracking and measuring efforts to iterate and improve
Account planning equally involves understanding future objectives and goals. Leverage your internal data - previous conversations, feedback, customer service tickets, etc. - to better understand the Enterprise prospect's current and future needs.
Using this data, you can continue to improve your processes, ensuring that your customer's needs are met with the products or services you can offer. With this data, you'll also gain visibility into how the typical roadmap for an enterprise customer should look.
Optimize your enterprise account planning today
The enterprise sale will continue to evolve and increase in challenges and complexities, but enterprise account planning can help your team stay prepared and agile.
Again, it's more than just selling. It's relationship building, understanding customer needs, providing value, and delivering an ideal experience, and with the adoption of such a process, success will be much easier to find.
Through Recapped's customer collaboration platform, enterprise account planning can be integrated within the customer journey and optimized to ensure success - keeping all stakeholders aligned, onboarding customers faster, and ramping up efficiently.
Start landing and expanding today, and request a consultation at https://www.recapped.io/consultation.