SUMMARY: Account planning tools analyze customer & market data to generate plans to build client revenue. Download your free account planning template.
Looking for a fast, reliable way to develop plans for your strategic account clients?
We recommend ForecastEra’s suite of account planning tools accessed from our Account Plan Navigator.
These account planning tools enable a strategic approach to finding the best solutions for strategic account clients and retaining them as customers.
What are account planning tools?
Account planning tools are a package of cloud-based software that analyzes data to generate plans for building client revenue, reducing risk, and increasing market share.
These tools pull data from strategic account client internal and external sources. Internal sources include org charts, contact records, and the client’s CRM system. External sources include AI-based market intelligence and curated news feeds.
Good account-planning tools generate analyses that show sales teams multiple views of their client organizations. These help them understand the strategic account client’s business goals, market position, and opportunities and risks. By understanding the client, sales teams can develop plans best suited to meet their needs.
What tools do I need for account planning?
You need tools that give you an overview of the strategic account client and a plan to move forward.
For example, ForecastEra’s Account Plan Navigator-generated overview provides a short bio of the client. It identifies their line of business and marketplace position, their size and customer base, their geographic location, and any challenges they face under current market conditions.
The overview identifies the client’s organizational structure and account financials, which help identify revenue sources within the client organization. Knowing these helps sales teams identify key stakeholders and sales influence paths.
You need tools that uncover upsell and cross-sell opportunities that enable you not only to make additional sales, but also provide better products and services to clients.
Where can I find these tools?
The best sources for strategic account planning tools are companies that specialize in offering AI-based analytical products and solutions. ForecastEra offers this suite of tools in its Account Planning Navigator. The Navigator’s integrated system covers all aspects of strategic account planning.
The platform provides easy access, and the tools are simple to use. They give valuable strategic account and market data in real time. The deep insights and quick turnaround obtained through the Account Plan Navigator help you retain strategic account clients and increase sales.
Do I really need account planning tools?
Robust, responsive, data-driven tools are essential in account planning. Populated with customer relationship management (CRM) and external data, account-planning tools can provide quick access to essential account-planning information.
Account planning becomes the framework for delivering appropriate services to strategic account clients and retaining them as customers.
Increasing customer retention by 5%, increases profits by 25% to 95%, Forbes.com reports.
Account-planning tools increase revenue, retain customers, and identify untapped opportunities for upsells, cross-sells, and new sales.
Account planning tools provide a framework for your service offerings to your clients. Using them allows you to focus on client needs and deliver tailored solutions.
Why do I need tools for strategic account planning?
Real-time tools that provide information on strategic accounts are vital to your success and the success of your strategic account clients. Cross-platform tools that integrate data across departmental silos are easier to use and yield faster results. They enable rapid-response decisions with detailed analyses in graph and chart form.
They are your lifeline for staying in business and building your revenue and market share.
What tools are essential for strategic account planning?
Essential tools are those that identify key stakeholders, relationships, and unrecognized opportunities, and analyze these in graphs and charts.
Information captured in graphs and charts is easily understood and shared, helping sales teams and strategic account client stakeholders make decisions.
The ForecastEra Account Plan Navigator provides a consolidated platform of essential tools that:
- Identify white space to:
o Assess current offerings to strategic account clients
o Analyze spend within the strategic client organization
o Propose upsells and cross-sells based on white space assessments and analyses
- Identify key relationships between and among strategic account client personnel
- Identify influencers who may support and promote, or oppose and block, sales proposals and enterprise purchases
- Evaluate, using a BANT (budget, authority, need, timeline) framework, the suitability of enterprise sales proposals
- Update critical account information with AI-based market intelligence
- Score the strategic, operational, and commercial risks of strategic account organizations
- Guide sales through actionable plans that assign tasks to reps and monitor outcomes, based on realized revenue and cost reductions
- Generate competitive assessments that compare clients to competitors
- Conduct what-if simulations to obtain account insights, including CSAT (customer satisfaction), open and closed sales opportunities, strategic account client challenges, and SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats) analyses
- Assess your alignment with buying centers, or decision-making units, to identify the service products they have implemented under your guidance and where your offerings fit
How do I select the right tool?
ForecastEra’s Account Plan Navigator displays an intuitive tool menu that makes it easy to select the right tool at the right time. Tools and their specific purposes include:
- Dynamic Relationship Map – displays the client’s org charts, identifies key relationships among account personnel, and develops influence paths. It’s important to identify key stakeholders and their roles to know whom to target in communications and planning strategies.
- Opportunity Influence Paths – or “guided sales path” displays a communication matrix that the sales team can use to identify and target key strategic account influencers for upselling and cross-selling.
- WhiteSpace – or “Whitespace Analysis” uncovers opportunities in the account for additional sales and revenue. It displays gaps between the strategic account client’s service offerings and the products and services that customers want.
- Account Overview – displays charts and graphs of the client’s revenue projections, risk relationship scores, goals, and actions.
- Curated News Feeds – Displays news feeds pertaining to the strategic account client and the client’s reported activities
- Account Plan Portfolio Analytics – Displays analytical charts that depict total pipeline amounts, the number of accounts, the number of relationship managers, and the number of countries the sales teams operate in.
You may select the tools in any order, depending on your current needs.
Where can I download a free account planning template or free account planning examples?
ForecastEra offers a step-by-step free account planning template that you can download here:
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