Why have you flagged some customers and prospects as key accounts?
You did it for a reason.
The reason is these accounts are probably the most strategically important customers. They are the prospects with whom you expect to drive most future value. They are the businesses and segments on which your company’s growth depends.
You want to develop and nurture these accounts. That requires proactive management. And it requires sustained activity that consistently adds value.
That means it’s critical to be on top of key account activity.
But how best to measure this activity? How do we know these key accounts are getting the engagement they need and deserve?
Here are two essential reports for achieving that:
- Key Account Last Activity Report.
- Key Account Engagement Frequency Report.
Use these reports to plan and monitor activities on each account.
We’ll look at the impact of each in turn. But before we do, take a moment to consider the type of activities we want to consider as value-adding on key accounts. It’s these tasks and events that we want to pull onto the reports.
How to record value adding Activities in salesforce
All sorts of activities get added to accounts. Marketing emails, phone calls, voicemails, Outlook emails, meeting notes and so on.
We’re interested in those planned activities that add value. In most businesses that’s likely to include a combination of face-to-face meetings, presentations, conference calls and pre-arranged phone calls.
The key account reports need to identify these activities. Do this by having your system administrator make the Activity Type field visible (why it is invisible to users by default is something of a mystery). Modify the picklist values to align them with the activity types you consider valuable. And make the field mandatory.
In other words, on both Tasks and Events, users have to select an appropriate value from the Activity Type field.
Have your system administrator do one other thing. Make the Due Date on Tasks mandatory. That avoids having uncompleted Tasks hanging around in limbo.
Now you’re ready to create some meaningful reports.
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Report 1 – Key Account Last Activity Report
The dashboard chart below shows, for each key account, the number of days since the last completed activity.
At the bottom of the table, we can see that the last activity on Wide World Importers was today. For Fourth Coffee it was yesterday. And Southbridge Video it was 7 days ago.
Then there’s several accounts in no-man’s-land in terms of our engagement. They’re shown by the amber conditional highlighting on the dashboard table. These are the accounts in danger of neglect. We need to undertake some key account planning in salesforce and get to grips with these customers.
But look at the top two accounts. The red flag is flying. It’s over a month (two months in the case of Aethna Home Products) since the last activity. If we really do regard these two customers as key accounts, we need a higher level of engagement than this.
Here’s the underlying report and behind the dashboard table.
The numbers within the report show the number of days since the last activity. For Genepoint, for example, the last activity was 20 days ago.
The ‘buckets’ across the top of the report provide additional categorisation. It’s easy to see all the key accounts on which the Last Activity was 1 to 14 days ago, for example.
Here’s the chart that’s embedded within report.
Again it’s an ‘easy on the eye’ way to quickly see which key accounts are being neglected. It looks like we have a serious problem with Aethna Home Products.
Report 2 – Frequency of Engagement on Key Accounts
The report and dashboard table above show the date of the last activity. But they don’t tell us how often we’re engaging with these key accounts.
To understand the intensity of engagement we need a report that shows the number of activities per month. That’s what the Frequency of Engagement report tells us.
Have a look at this example.
The report shows the number of activities on each key account per month. (Remember it’s only those activities that our Activity Type field defines as value-adding that are included in the report).
We now have robust visibility on the extent to which we are managing these key accounts proactively.
Let’s take several examples.
- Aethna Home Products. We already know about this one. There were two activities in January but nothing since.
- Coeus Solutions. Good activity levels on this key account in January and February. But it looks like we need to get busy in March. Don’t let it become neglected.
- Fourth Coffee. This was a neglected key account that was identified at the start of the year as being in need of remedial action. The report shows we’ve started to address the situation.
- Genepoint. The report we looked at earlier shows the last activity 20 days ago. But the situation is even worse than we thought. This report reveals we had no meaningful activity January and thus far nothing in March. Time for action.
So the report allows us to scrutinize our activity and engagement with these key accounts. It gives us the factual information we need to manage key accounts proactively.
- Identify key accounts that require remedial action and a course of sustained activity.
- Manage key accounts that are at risk of being neglected.
- Validate that key accounts are being proactively managed in line with the account-level strategic plans you have built in salesforce.
Use these reports today to manage those key accounts that are strategically important to your company’s growth.
If you’d like a customized demonstration of how key account planning can work in your specific business then simply get in touch to arrange a short web demo.
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How To Create Account Plans That Actually Work. 10 best practices for successful account planning.
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