Account planning is underused. But it shouldn’t be.
According to a recent study by CSO Insights, more than half of sales professionals don’t take advantage of account planning to map out the pursuit of strategic accounts. Yet the top challenge many account managers cite is having effective — and strategic — account planning.
When done correctly, collaborative account planning can mean the difference between a renewal and churn. In order to work well with clients and grow key accounts, account managers need to intimately understand their biggest pain points, goals and market landscape.
But clients aren’t the only stakeholders account managers should collaborate with. Internal partnerships with everyone from marketing to data to the payments team can ensure a client receives appropriate messaging and metrics that show your product is delivering ROI.
“The knack to call in the right people at the right time is critical for success in seizing opportunities that can further the relationship with your client,” said Steven Prince, a senior manager working in enterprise partnerships at DailyPay.
When doing account planning, how do you work with the client to create an account plan that helps them meet their strategic business goals?
One quality that someone in my position needs to possess is being a problem-solver who is sensitive to a client’s needs. You need to become an expert in your client’s business and make the connection between the client’s needs and your company’s ability to help. After identifying your main point of contact at the client company who is responsible for helping drive the partnership forward, it’s imperative to ask a multitude of discovery questions so that you can holistically understand their business better.
The main focus areas that I try to pinpoint from an account planning perspective are communications, recruitment, new hire onboarding process, reporting and KPIs, pay cycles, company initiatives, and hierarchy. Getting insight into these areas helps me understand the full scope of who from the client’s leadership team is involved. Typically the key stakeholders in this process are members of the HR department, whether that’s payroll or benefits managers, or someone else that is responsible for driving the employee experience from day one to their last day at the company.
You need to become an expert in your client’s business.”
Who are the critical stakeholders you work with internally? How do you leverage the unique perspectives of each of these individuals to create a holistic account plan that supports both your business and the client's?
One of the best aspects of being a partnership manager at DailyPay is that you get to work with so many different teams internally that all have a hand in building and growing your relationships with clients. I work with our marketing team to create customized communication strategies that are relevant to my client’s needs. I work with our payments team to ensure that all of my client’s employees can receive their earned money seamlessly and efficiently. I work with our data team to provide top-of-the-line reporting and metrics to share with the client so that they have insight into employee usage. I work with our implementation managers to make sure all things from a data exchange perspective are flowing seamlessly. It’s important for me to get input from all of these teams when formalizing an account plan to present to the client as they are experts in their field.
Educating the customer about insights relevant to their business is a major focus in my role. Partnership managers also need to have credibility and the ability to triage internal resources when necessary. The knack to call in the right people at the right time is critical for success in seizing opportunities that can further the relationship with your client.
Can you share a success story from this type of collaborative account planning?
When working with the client on an account plan, you better understand some of their problem areas that could use strengthening. In particular, recruitment of talent and retaining talent, especially in a competitive environment, is challenging for many of our clients.
A partner of mine in the quick-service restaurant industry had this unique issue. After understanding the different mediums the client leverages for recruitment, I collaborated with our marketing team to create customized DailyPay messaging relevant to their business that the client could implement on various job boards where they post openings. As a result, the client’s applicant funnel was filled quicker, which helps save on costs, time and effort. Furthermore, the client saw a reduction in employee turnover with the DailyPay offering as these employees were grateful to have it and more motivated to work harder and longer.