Harvesting Growth: A Guide to Account Farming with Playbooks

Sowing the Seeds of Success: Guide to Account Farming using Playbooks

Unveil the power of account farming playbook techniques to consistently deepen relationships and maximize profits.

Account Farming using Playbooks
Account Farming using Playbooks

In the evolving landscape of account management, successful businesses are consistently on the lookout for innovative techniques to deepen customer relationships and increase revenue. This article explores potential ways to strategize and operationalize account farming at scale.

Why Key Account Farming?

‘Account Farming’ or ‘Key Account Farming’ is an approach that focuses on nurturing and growing existing client relationships and revenue. Rather than merely hunting for new customers, account farming seeks to maximize the potential of current accounts.

A 5X higher cost of sale for new account acquisition vs increased profitability in growing existing accounts has made Account Farming a key strategy that most board rooms are pushing more and more.

 Learn more about the basics of Account Management at SmartKarrot.

Let’s delve into the four essential elements that make up the moving parts in a typical account farming initiative:

1. Identifying Opportunities

The first and foremost step in account farming is to identify areas of expansion within existing accounts. How do we do this? Let us look at a few common methods:

Customer Engagement:

Regularly engage with your clients to understand their current challenges and needs. By regular interactions and frequent business reviews, you can gauge areas where your services or products might be beneficial. This needs to be done consistently and in most organizations needs multiple roles to participate. Whilst intuitive, this simple “ask” becomes challenging for most organizations to implement and track for effectiveness.

Historical Data Analysis:

Delve deep into your historical sales and service data. Look for patterns and trends that indicate past purchase behavior and predict future buying decisions.

Tracking utilization and customer sentiment:

It is important to be on top of current delivery and product metrices. This lays the foundation of both identifying potential opportunities or risks thereof as well as figuring out the right time to initiate conversations to uncover potential opportunities for expansion.

Competitive Landscape:

Stay updated on what competitors are offering to your clients. If there’s a gap or vendor fatigue, it might be an opportunity waiting to be tapped. 

The above done consistently and across the organization should lead to a steady stream of quality opportunities being created every quarter.

How Playbooks Can Help: Playbooks, at this stage, should be used to drive regular and consistent engagement and client connects across the organization as well as other tasks which can help identify potential areas of expansion. Some potential playbooks can be:

  • Customer engagement involving multiple varied roles 
  • Playbook when project/product utilization hits a tolerance range
  • Playbook initiated by positive/negative customer sentiment
  • Playbook initiated by other business events

2. Developing a Consistent Execution Plan

A lot of times, lack of clarity on how to approach a potential opportunity causes these options to fall through. The next step is to create multiple “ideal ways” to handle situations where opportunities have been identified. Again, multiple functions and roles need some level of collaboration if these opportunities are to be closed. 

How Playbooks can help: Automated playbooks are perfect to drive consistency and achieve scale in executing your strategies. The common steps involved are:

Creating playbook templates:

Break up your ideal approach into multiple relevant playbooks and create the set of tasks you want executed.

Allocate resources:

Attach relevant roles to these tasks. This allows you to drive accountability as well as push these tasks to the respective owners

Connect the playbook data triggers:

Decide on the data triggers for every playbook to enable automation. For one off scenarios, these may be initiated manually as well but you’ll need these triggers for most playbooks to ensure maximum value

3. Implementing at Scale

This is all about execution tracking and review. Are you generating targeted opportunities every quarter? Are your desired engagement metrices being met? Are all team members being diligent in their follow ups and activities? Which set of accounts are generating more opportunities? All these and more need to be tracked regularly and appropriate follow up actions taken to drive a culture of expansion. 

How Playbooks can help: Playbooks push tasks to the relevant team members at the right time. Playbook tracking dashboards should provide you with all the answers to the above questions. Some best practices to be followed here include:

Check how many playbooks are active:

This gives you a sense of execution elements at play in a point in time. Trends around these may also be relevant

Check playbook progress:

Metrices like % complete and delay % provide you with a simple way to engage and drive your team. A drill down here will allow you to see which tasks are taking up more time and causing bottlenecks. 

Filter playbook metrics:

You’ll need to view progress and achievement by portfolio, customer segment, geography etc. to gain information about various nuances. This may be used later to redesign or include more personalized playbooks for these scenarios.

4. Measuring and Optimizing

As an extension of execution tracking, it is important to step back at least once or twice every year and optimize the playbook library as well as specific playbooks. Outcome effectiveness, execution efficiency, client and team feedback and playbook data are all required to be analyzed to achieve this. 

How Playbooks can help: By going digital in implementing your “Standard Operating Procedures”, you will have all the data and information needed. In addition you can set up regular alerts and reminders for task execution as well as these check-ins:

Connect Playbook to results:

Evaluate each playbook with the objective or outcome which it helped achieved.

Identify bottlenecks:

Some tasks may be irrelevant or taking too much time. These need to be relooked and redesigned

Check effectiveness across portfolios and business lines:

Some playbooks may be more effective in a certain segment of your organization for various reasons. Checking this may lead you to evolve your playbook strategy by creating more specific ones rather than a one size fit all approach.

 The Power of Playbooks in Account Management

As seen above, a playbook in account management is a structured set of best practices and strategies that guide Account Managers and other relevant roles in their day-day. When applied to account farming, playbooks become a guideline to spot opportunities, address pain points, and deliver value.

Discover the significance of playbooks in ACCOUNT MANAGEMENT here.

Benefits of Account Farming using Playbooks30

  • Consistency: Everyone in your team follows a uniform approach, ensuring consistency in client interactions and consistency in achieving results.
  • Predictability: With a structured playbook, you can predict outcomes and align resources accordingly.
  • Improved Customer Relations: When customers see consistent value, their loyalty and trust in your brand grow.

Account farming is a complex environment needing multiple roles working together. Whilst, the strategies are fairly simple, it becomes a challenge to implement them at scale and drive consistency across the organization and accounts. Automated playbooks are a great way to implement these operating procedures and drive farming revenue.

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