Are your account managers leading the account or reacting to what happens? Where are your major accounts heading? Do you know without asking the account manager?
I know you would like to say that your account managers are in the lead with their accounts. In reality, many directors complain that their account managers are spending too much time in the operation. Not leading but being led by issues that pop up.
There is a logical explanation for this. And there is also an easy to implement tool, that will naturally elevate your account managers to the tactical level. I will address both in this article.
What is Tactical Account management?
Tactics comes from the Greek root 'taktos', meaning “ordered, arranged”. Tactics are carefully planned actions for attaining a certain goal.
Tactical account management means that your account managers set goals for their accounts, think of ways to achieve them and translate this into action plans.
This is transcending the operational level where you deal with and react to what is coming your way. Tactical Account Management is different than strategic account management. The term strategic account management is mostly used for managing strategic accounts and by interacting with the strategic level of that account.
Tactical account management can apply to all type of accounts (including the strategic accounts) and is about thinking, goals and planning.
Why are account managers so inclined to work on the operational level?
Well, that is where their attention is directed almost all of the time. How often are they asked about operational issues, revenue, client satisfaction, contract kpi’s, quarterly reports and so on? And how often are your account managers asked about their goals, strategy and action plan for their account?
When there would be more stimuli to think tactically about their accounts, they would.
The easiest way to bring account managers to the right level
Tactical account management is about planning and account plans are the tools to use to direct attention. But it will only work with the right type of plan.
An account plan template is valuable because it will help account managers focus on what is important by asking the right questions. All questions are leading questions!
With an account plan, you lead your account managers to work on the tactical level!
Account plans that actually work
The introduction of traditional account plans often fails. They take too much energy to write AND read. Them taking too long to read is actually the most important reason why account plans disappear in drawers and aren’t used in performance reviews, business reviews or progress meetings
So, use account plans that are easy to write and easy to read. Use one-pagers like visual plans.
Only when account plans are very practical, people experience value in them and will they actually be used. If your account managers visualize their plans into easy to understand one-pagers, you as a manager have grip on what is happing at your major accounts.
The right plan
When delivering products or services under contract, you will have very different objectives in the operational phase and the contract renewal phase (last 12-18 months). In these phases you need to consider different things and therefore the content of your plans needs to be different. You need an account plan AND a contract renewal plan.
Templates for you
We created two visual on-page planning tools for you. Ask us about them.