It’s near the beginning of a year, so a lot of people in revenue-generating roles will be going through the exercise of account planning. I’ve been part of more of these sessions than I can count over the past 15 years. Many things have changed, but one thing stays pretty constant: most people HATE account planning.
But why? I decided to take an informal survey about it. The results aren’t complete yet, but I’ll share a few things as a start.
First, the perspective of a rain-maker for a professional firm:
Our account planning feels tedious to me. It revolves around filling out forms, most of which is repetitive information. It’s so long and arduous that you lose steam by the time you reach the interesting stuff.
Then, an accomplished salesperson and industry group leader for consulting company:
It’s difficult to get value from people who participate in account planning but aren’t regularly working with that client. They just don’t know enough about the client, our history with them, or the client’s industry to come up with useful ideas.
Last, a seasoned sales and marketing executive:
People hate planning, period. It involves accountability and the high probability that someone will follow up on promised actions.
Those are three themes in my informal study so far: arduous (and seemingly irrelevant) preparation, low value-added from outside participants, and the threat of accountability.
What would you add? How could we make account planning (or any planning, for that matter) better?