When looking at account management and development we all have (or should have!) a contact plan.
This can be simple or complex, but generally includes a list of people within an account that we want to talk to.
However there are common mistakes that we make when contact planning that means that we don’t get the most out of our account relationships and neither do our customers!
Let’s take a look at some of the more common ones:
1. If it’s not written down it doesn’t get done
There is a paradox of experience that new account managers may not know how to plan properly and so don’t do it well. The other side of the paradox is that experienced account mangers think they know how to plan and so start taking short cuts which ultimately leads to poor planning!
Whatever you system and method, it should be written down and followed. This includes all actions following contact meetings, phone calls and discussions. We have a mantra that says “If it’s not written down it doesn’t get done“!
2. Plans are not shared
There are some very intricate account planning tools around but in reality we find they are only used when your boss asks to see your account plan.
A good plan doesn’t have to look fancy but should be used every day, and it should be shared with the team!
This is a great way to make sure everyone is working together and that all resources are maximised. You may find that one of the team already has a contact that you need, or you may be able to help someone else, but you won’t know unless you communicate your plan.
3. You aren’t going wide enough
We often get an account and then make a contact plan based on
- Who we already know
- C-Level contacts we would like to speak to
This is not thinking wide enough or deep enough and a good contact plan will include as many people in the account as possible.
Everyone may have a different view on the current challenges the company faces, and you never know where new business might come from and who might be sitting on the other side of the desk in your next deal.
4. Go cold – not when there is a deal on the table
One of the biggest mistakes is that we only start to talk to people in the account when there is a red hot deal on the table.
You should already have been in contact with the account, found out the challenges, qualified your opportunities and built your relationships before you get to this.
Just speaking to your contact when you are about to win business will not only make you seem disingenuous, but may actually mean that your contacts can’t give you information you need due to a tender process or purchasing policies.
This information might have been easy to get when there was no deal on the table.
5. Add value
You plan should not only include who you want to see but also why you want to see them and why they should see you.
It’s easy to easy to say that you want to see the CEO of a company because they may make the decision on your proposal. However, why would they want to see you? What value can you offer to them personally and their organisation?
Answer these questions before picking up the phone.
There are many more points that we could add here and we cover this topic in detail during our Transformational Account Development Planning course. For the next date of this course go to http://rdc-uk.com/open-courses or call us +44(0) 151 2077745.