You have an important account you’ve been managing for years. You’ve established a great relationship with your buyer and all of the stakeholders. You build a great account plan every year and execute it flawlessly. It’s been a fantastic partnership and one that’s produced year over year. However, in spite of the strength of the relationship and the consistency of the account, things seem to be different this year. You’ve noticed that revenue is starting to slip. The account isn’t producing like it normally does. You’re starting to feel you need to address it before it gets too late.
Your strategy — set up a meeting with your CEO and their CEO as well broker a meeting between your head of product and their SVP of World Wide Marketing.
You have the relationships. The respective offices have agreed to meet, but everyone is too busy and no one is able to connect for 3 months. Meanwhile, sales are slowly declining and you’re losing wallet share.
As the meetings get closer, your CEO and head of product are pounding you with requests for information. They want to know what the problems are. They want the 411 on their counter parts. The CEO has only met their CEO once and it was via phone when the first big deal was done. Your head of product has never met their SVP of Marketing.
Although, everyone is open and willing to participate in saving the account from further decline the effort feels haphazard and everyone is scrambling. You’re nervous that your executives may screw it up. You’re not sure if these meetings will produce enough juice to get things back on track and you’re worried there maybe other problems in the organization you’re not aware of. This account is too big to lose.
To avoid situations like this and not find yourself in reactive mode with your accounts, add an account cadence to your account plan. An account cadence or account governance plan is a series of ongoing prescheduled meetings with all of the stakeholder groups across all of the affected functional groups of BOTH companies.
The purpose of an account cadence is to proactively develop the required relationships between both companies before something goes wrong. An account cadence prevents the challenges described above. If a cadence had been in place, the CEO’s would have a meeting already on the calendar. They would have already met several times before. They would have an understanding of the value of the relationship to each other companies. A rapport would have been established and a context for their relationship solidified. Getting them connected when something goes wrong is now far easier and far more productive.
The same goes for the head of product and the SVP of Marketing. With a strong and effective account cadence in place, not only would they have met several times, the head of product would keenly understand the needs of marketing and would be incorporating those needs into his product roadmap. The SVP of Marketing would have integrated your product into her overall marketing strategy. Your head of product and the accounts SVP of Marketing would have a working relationship they would have been leveraging for a long time.
Scrambling around when things aren’t going well is not a good strategy. Proactive account management is a must when it comes to farming. Pulling executives in when things are falling apart is reactive and extremely inefficient.
Farming accounts is big business. Growth depends on relationships and collaboration. Being positioned across the entire effected landscape is critical. It’s not enough to be “known.” Ongoing dialog and engagement are required at all levels. Making this happen starts with a robust, broad, complete account cadence.
To better connect your organization to your key accounts download the Account Cadence Template here. Make it part of your account planning process. The growth of the account depends on it.