Client Account Planning
Watch Andrew’s Video: The Seven Questions You Must Ask
Do You Involve Your Clients in the Account Planning Process
In working with many client teams on account planning, I’ve learned that there really is not a “one-size-fits-all” approach. The planning process and the tenor of your discussions for an existing multi-million dollar, mature client relationship will be different from that for a relatively new client that you are trying to take from Level 2 (expert) to Level 3 (steady supplier).
Broadly speaking, the following elements should be present in a good planning process:
- Upfront involvement of the client to provide input on key issues, needs, and goals for the coming year
- Leadership of the planning process by the most senior professionals on the client team. You cannot delegate the plan to junior staff!
- Periodic meetings of the full team to reflect and strategize (at least once a year and probably two or three times a year)
- Development of a written account plan. This can be brief, however—too many long, complex plans get created and then deposited in a file somewhere and then never used or referred to.
- Weekly or monthly update calls or meetings
- Individual follow up between the relationship manager and individual team members
For any client, the core of the client account planning process is a team planning session to reflect on the seven key questions (see the video) and strategize how to improve and grow the relationship. A best-practice planning process, set against a calendar year, should reflect the kinds of activities listed in the graphic, “The Account Planning Cycle.”