Before completing an account plan for the first time you should set things up to reflect your customer. This does not take long and it will ensure that the content is relevant. In this section:

 

  • Select the planning horizon or clone an existing plan to a future year
  • Assign the account to the correct account type to reflect your segmentation
  • Identify the account team from your company
  • Select the Salesforce contacts you want to include in your plan
  • Build the appropriate business unit structure for this customer
  • Select relevant propositions from your company to include in your plan

Financial planning year

 

Before you can start building a plan you need to create one to reflect the financial year. To do this you need to start by selecting the financial year as shown below.

If your AccountPlan is for 2017 ( for example) select the correct planning year from the picklist options you have available. This will select the correct dates for use in the reporting, charts and other aspects of the account planning activity.

Select Plan year from the options and CHOOSE PLAN YEAR

Clone one plan to another

If you are coming toward the end of a year and want to start building a plan for next year you should clone the existing year information into a future year. This will save you time building a new plan from scratch.

Select this year as the FROM year and next year as the TO year. Hit Clone and this will copy across the all details of the plan and you can then edit this.

 

 

Account Type

 

Your company might have different customer segments. Not all account plans are the same. Sometimes a lighter touch is needed and other times a full, detailed and comprehensive strategy makes more sense.

Using ‘Account Type’  you can use the type of plan related to this customer and account plan. For instance you might have Global accounts, national accounts, key accounts, core accounts or simply bronze silver and gold.

By selecting the account type you will ensure that the Account Health questions are those that are relevant to the size of the account segment.

The account types are set up centrally for your company and you should select the right type for this customer using the pick list available. See the image in section above for this.

Select Account Type > then Save.

Some companies will have a different structure for different types of account. For instance for a small account or mid-sized customer your company may have reduced the number of sections or pages. For example they feel that the Account Health section is not required for the SMB account type. Be aware of this when you are selecting the Account Type and when selecting SMB for example, the Account Health menu item [and likely the associated KPI for Account health] will not be displayed. 

Please note that if you change the account type for a customer where you have already completed information for this planning year, the account health answers and notes you have completed will be overwritten. Also, you may need to refresh your page to use the right account plan structure once you change account type. 

 

Account Team

 

Selling into key accounts is often a team sport. It is not the case that one individual is the sole seller and account manager although this is of course possible.

In this section you set out the whole team who are responsible for engaging with the customer.

This should include managers and executives who have a part time role to play in the executive engagement. Include the service delivery and operational teams and where relevant the financial, billing and credit teams. Anyone who interacts often with the account and has a role to play in influencing them should be included.

You need to add ONE person to this team in order to use the contact section properly. 

This information is used in AccountPlan in a number of areas including contact alignment, activity and goal setting.

+add a new line then input the name of the person in ‘AP Team Member’ and their role in the team under ‘AP Role’.

If your organisation uses the Salesforce Account Team information this can now be copied to the set up page using the IMPORT ACCOUNT TEAM button on the set up page.

As shown below.

 

Contacts

 

Your contacts that have been entered already in Salesforce for this account will automatically be listed in this section.

For a large account, or when marketing have entered long lists of contacts this could be an extensive list. To avoid over complicating the plan, and allowing you as the account manager to focus on the most relevant contacts you can select the contacts you want to include and exclude from your AccountPlan.

This is shown in section 4 of this page.

To include a contact into the contact map and be available for use in the plan    > check the box. Use SELECT/DESELECT ALL buttons if it helps to speed up the process.

To exclude a contact from the plan > uncheck a box. This does not remove them from Salesforce contacts merely does not include them into the AccountPlan.

Tip : Focus on those most relevant but do not be tempted to exclude people who might have a bearing on your success. It is better to include them even though they are not supportive of your efforts.

 

Business Unit set up

 

Every customer has their own approach to business unit structure. These are the groups typically under which they have autonomy in terms of decision making.

Some companies will be set up by regions (eg EMEA, NAMER, APAC). Some will be set up by Division (eg web services, retail, managed services). Others by market unit (eg  Government, Commercial, SMB).

To allow your plan to be most relevant it is possible to customise the business unit structure for each customer and AccountPlan.

+add the name of each ‘business unit’ you would like to show in your structure for the account. this information will be used in areas such as Landscape, Objectives and goals. Remember to save any changes. An example is shown below.

 

Propositions

 

Finally in set up it is possible to select from your company’s propositions (these are all loaded from which to select). Not all of them might be relevant to this customer and to reduce complexity you should select the ones that are relevant here.

This is shown above and to include a proposition in areas such as the Landscape you simply check the box next to the proposition name, To exclude it from your planning un check the box. Remember to save any changes.

 

That’s it, you’re good to go and you should start your assessment now.

 

 

Timeline

If it is turned on for your company you will see a Timeline menu item. Selecting this will open the timeline page. 

On this page you will see a log of the changes to the Account plan, when they were made and who by. 

An example of this is shown below.

 

Printing and Saving your AccountPlan

Select the sections of your AccountPlan that you want to print or use the capability of your computer to print/save to PDF for easy sharing and distribution. .

Select Print on accountPlan and then “Print Settings” option at the top of page

Select the sections you want to print. Automatically all items are selected but you can tailor this to specifically select what you want to print.


Select the items you want and Save and the print window will open. From here you can select the printer you want to use and adjust the settings including orientation, printing background images (yes is the recommended setting), headers and footers (no is the recommended setting).

If you want to SAVE to PDF this will be a print option in your PC and you should follow the standard approach for your computer. 

 

Link to user guide

A link to this user guide has been added to the header of the application. Select the Book icon in the header to access the guide.

This opens a new window/tab and provides users direct access to the latest user guide.

 

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