Designing a strategic key account plan

03 Mar

There is no hard and fast blueprint for a Key Account Plan. Blueprints and pro forma tend to result in box ticking rather than thinking. Also they are not likely to meet the requirements of your own situation.

Some things that must be in the plan:

  • What do we wish to achieve for the customer and ourselves?
  • How will we achieve it – action plan and timetable
  • Who will be involved – from the customer and from our team?

Never accept a template for a KA plan from anyone outside your business. This applies to style and content both of which must relate intimately to the nature of your own customers and challenge.  And if the format is developed by people within the business make sure that they include those who know your customers.

There are several purposes of the strategic key account plan:-

  1. A repository for all the data and information on the account;
  2. Getting your own thoughts together;
  3. A means of communicating the importance of this customer to the business as a whole;
  4. A means of communicating objectives and actions to key account team members;
  5. The best way of tracking progress against targets and so determining the success of your efforts
  6. Ensure that the appropriate value proposition is developed, communicated and rewarded.

It is the 4th and 5th uses we should focus on.  These are communicating objectives and actions and providing a way to track progress.

How long?  As short as possible!!  Plans that run to tens of pages and overflow with analysis and background data are not very helpful in this respect. 

The ideal plan should be focussed on objectives and the actions required to achieve those objectives.  If this can be condensed onto 3-4 pages then all the better. 

The format used for an account plan will vary depending on the type of business involved, and whether a high priority customer account is involved and should cover at least the sections as shown below:

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