Now that you have a plan in place, the question becomes “What are you going to do with it?” Many of us have participated in account planning processes in which plans were developed with the best of intentions, only to observe later that when all was said and done, more was said than done. For most salespeople, their largest and most strategic customers are irreplaceable assets, and failing to implement plans to grow these accounts is simply not an option.
If your plan represents your intention to co-create value with your internal team and with your customer, then it’s the execution of your plan that will determine whether this value ever becomes a reality. And since it must be important to your customer (or they wouldn’t have collaborated with you in the first place), there’s a high likelihood that if you don’t deliver against your promise of value, then someone else will.
No one builds a plan to grow an existing customer relationship with the intent to fall short on follow-through, but even the best-laid plans can fall victim to non-execution. While there are plenty of reasons for execution shortfalls, the two that we see most frequently in our work are the tyranny alluded to earlier, as well as internal misalignment. Both have to do with reaching agreement on what matters most, which can be difficult when it comes to agreeing on priorities that are focused on growing customer relationships.