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    Six common account planning challenges that you need a solution for

    There is a direct correlation between effective account growth planning and sales success. In times like these, it’s of extreme importance to stay on top of your clients and help them get out on top of this crisis. Unfortunately, effective account planning isn't always easy and comes with challenges.

    Even when account planning itself goes well, it may end up as an intellectual exercise that is hard to execute in the field. Membrain’s new "Account Growth" module changes that forever.

    In addition to the mindset challenge about account management - which I have written about previously - here are six common account growth challenges that we’ve made easy:

    1. Know where to focus at a glance

    One of our hottest new features is an account grid view that shows you at a glance which accounts to focus your attention on. Along one axis is value, and along another is untapped potential. Those with the highest untapped potential are the accounts that have the most room for growth.Top right are clients who have purchased a lot from you and could buy more. Bottom left are clients who have not purchased so much from you, nor can they buy much more, from your perspective.

    agp_screenshot_gridThe account growth grid in Membrain

    The data on which the grid is based is customizable and flexible, allowing you to design the characteristics that determine the value and potential scores of each account. They’re also dynamic, allowing the grid to change over time as each account’s value and potential change or as the characteristics on which you base them change.

    The grid is interactive. During account planning, sales teams and their managers can quickly see which accounts have the most growth opportunity, and then click on the account in the grid to open that account’s dashboard.

    2. Create dashboards for your most critical information

    Membrain’s new customizable account growth project dashboards allow you to display all the most important information about each dashboard in an intuitive format. You can show scorecards, which products and services each client is using, how many people are in the account, their technical environment, billing details, key contacts, or any other information that your salespeople need to know.

    Example of an account growth project in Membrain

    3. Customize to fit your unique needs

    Every account selling environment is unique. In our organization, we track the number of users, percent of them that are active, and other data related to the type of product we offer and the way we sell and grow our accounts.

    Membrain’s account growth module allows you to customize what you track and how the module works according to your unique environment. You can create checklists, graphs, org charts, process steps, and more. Like the grid, the dashboard is interactive, so the team can get more detailed information and collaborate to improve the content and the plan.

    Don't allow account planning to stop at planning, with no doing. 

    4. Make it actionable

    At the heart of Membrain lie our process tools. They give the software much of its power, its ability to make your sales strategy actionable. These are also what make our new account growth module different from anything else on the market.

    Too often, account planning ends up being a mostly intellectual process. A manager and a few team members meet to discuss how to approach an account, and then they all go out and try to do what they discussed. But there’s no direct connection between the discussion and what happens in the field, except what is held in the brains and, perhaps, notebooks of the meeting participants.

    With Membrain, in real-time, plans can easily be built directly into each team member’s workflow using our built-in process tools. When the team leaves the meeting, everyone has their checklists and process steps already inside the workflow they use every day.

    5. Connect sales with customer success

    With traditional account management, it can be tough for the account manager to know whether the customer service team has delivered on the value that was promised during the sales process.

    This, in turn, can impact account growth opportunities. I like to imagine that the customer has a grid showing all of the companies they buy from and that in that grid, they evaluate the value and cost similarly to how we evaluate value and potential. If your company is in the lower left-hand corner, they know not to buy more products and services from you. If you’re in the upper right-hand corner, they’re very likely to turn to you when they have needs.

    Most customers may not literally have a grid view like this, but they are certainly aware of the value and cost equation when making decisions about who to work closer with.

    We encourage our customers to stop thinking of accounts as something you withdraw from, or “win a larger share of wallet.” Instead, think about how you and the customer can grow together. When your product or service provides them with value, it helps them grow. And when you help them grow, they help you grow.

    You both end up in ones "upper right-hand corner."

    Membrain has a unique set of tools that enable a clear and clean connection between the sales side and the customer success side. When you make a sale, the account’s customer success team has access to all of the relevant information and can be held accountable to provide the value that your sales team promised. Using the same process tools that make account growth easy, customer service knows exactly what to do to meet the expectations set during the sales process.

    In turn, the sales team can use information from the customer success team to provide more value and create more sales opportunity within each account.

    6. Create a loop back to marketing

    Just as sales and customer success should be connected, so should sales and marketing. With Membrain’s new account growth module, it’s easy to get information about the customer’s needs back to the marketing department so they can create content and awareness to serve those needs.

    Some of our best customers and partners have been telling us for years that because Membrain is the best product on the market for sales teams with complex sales processes, it’s also uniquely situated to serve account management teams. We’re excited to be launching the module that will finally provide all of the functionality our account growth teams have been asking for, plus more.

    Early access for a select few

    This new module is now in early access for select customers and partners (it will be publicly available this fall.) I would love to give you a demo and get your feedback, and discover with you how it might help your teams be more effective in growing with your best customers. Contact us today.

    George Brontén
    Published May 20, 2020
    By George Brontén

    George is the founder & CEO of Membrain, the Sales Enablement CRM that makes it easy to execute your sales strategy. A life-long entrepreneur with 20 years of experience in the software space and a passion for sales and marketing. With the life motto "Don't settle for mainstream", he is always looking for new ways to achieve improved business results using innovative software, skills, and processes. George is also the author of the book Stop Killing Deals.

    Find out more about George Brontén on LinkedIn