Account plans? No! Make an Action Plan!
The writing of major plans is still the norm, whereas there are often better options available. The government publishes major documents, whereas an infographic about the problem would often suffice. A major bank might request a business plan, whereas the business model canvas is increasingly becoming generally accepted.
And why should we all spend time writing major, comprehensive plans? Who reads those plans? And aren’t these types of plans too rigid? Do they allow you to move with the market? After all, isn’t the world changing rapidly? And is it worth the time invested? Unfortunately, we often have to conclude that such major plans are not often useful and therefore aren’t being used. Which is a shame...
Naturally we see this with account plans too. A company or team wants to penetrate a market or approach specific companies, and is the first to create a plan. What are the challenges, what proposals will we use, what do we need, what competitors are active? Unfortunately, this is often a major plan, soon totalling dozens of pages. But why is this? Because the entire team contributes to it and all the gathered information is included in it. However, often people forget to state the actions, tasks and deadlines, whereas this is the most important component, of course: who does what, how and when. And then from a sales perspective, the account plan is worthless.
How can you prevent that? Don’t create an account plan but an action plan.
The difference is that an action plan is a short, dynamic plan, which is subject to certain conditions; not a comprehensive plan. It must also be possible to draft it with ease in just a few hours. In principle, an action plan such as that consists of a number of components:
- What market or company do you want to approach?
- What are the main urgencies and challenges?
- What proposal do you want to use?
- What specific actions are you going to take?
- What deadlines are you setting yourself?
And that’s it...
The major benefits are: you have a brief overview of all actions to be taken, you can switch quickly and it doesn’t take long to create. And you can spend that time on the actual acquisition. Otherwise known as a: win-win-win-win situation.
Frank Op den Kamp