5 Goals Every Account Manager Needs
Several important roles help a business thrive and run smoothly. Each role has a specific part to play in helping client relationships, assuring product or service quality, and more. The account manager in the business plays a significant role in the company’s customer relationships. Successful key account managers serve as advocates for clients but also work internally to ensure both new and existing customers are satisfied with the onboarding process.
Account managers often strive toward consistently improving their careers, which can bring about new opportunities for them. However, you may have difficulty finding something to strive toward without the right goals. This post will explore five important goals that account managers need to have. Each of these goals plays a crucial element in nurturing relationships with customers and allowing yourself to open up new opportunities and doors throughout your career.
The Roles Of An Account Manager
If you are considering a career as an account manager and want to set up some goals beforehand, then it is essential to understand the role that you will play in a corporate setting.
An account manager actually plays a significant role in the overall success of a business. Account management is an essential factor that can help to coordinate multiple resources and work on client relationships that the company wishes to establish and maintain.
Let’s take a look at the primary roles of a successful key account manager and the tasks that they need to perform :
- Account managers require communication skills to ensure they can effectively communicate with clients.
- The account manager needs to understand the requirements that the client has.
- Most account managers are also responsible for developing relationships with the business’s clients to ensure these individuals trust the company.
- Internal communication and collaboration with various departments are also important. This can provide better fulfillment of the needs of key customers.
- Key account managers also need to have the ability to analyze the data that they collect to learn more about customer behavior and related details.
- Traditional account managers used to work with paper and pens, but today, these individuals need tech-savvy skills.
- During account management, the individual must also thoroughly understand the current industry trends.
- Using trending factors, such as sales gamification , is also helpful for account managers.
These are some of the critical account management skills you will need and the roles you will play. Account management, however, is only one part of being an account manager. You need to have the ability to harbor a relationship with the client and essentially enhance the buyer’s overall experience, all while keeping track of performance and consistently analyzing key data elements.
Important Goals That Account Managers Need To Have
Goals should play an important part in your life regarding a successful career. Not having something to strive toward will leave you simply going through your daily routine. You don’t have something to be excited about. For example, a better position or landing a job at a company you have always wanted to work at.
Setting goals can be challenging for key account managers. You need to ensure the goals you set are related to your abilities as a key account manager in a particular company, but also have a goal setup that focuses on your career in the long term at the same time.
We will discuss five of the most important goals you should set for yourself if you want to be a successful key account manager.
1 – Personal Growth
If you want to set goals for your career, then it is vital to start with yourself. Personal growth plays a crucial role in how you develop yourself, as well as within your career. Personal growth targets that you set as key account managers need to focus on your tasks.
One example of a personal growth goal is to increase sales that you can secure during the next year or financial quarter. You may be currently securing $125,000 in sales during each quarter. A personal growth goal might be to increase this to $150,000 for the next quarter.
Another example of a personal growth goal is to set a certain number of positive feedback or reviews that you want to get from the clients you deal with. For example, as the key account manager, you might set a goal for yourself to receive at least five positive feedbacks from clients every month or week. Then, as you achieve these goals, you can increase your expectations to ensure they continuously help you strive to do better and give you challenges to add more interaction to your job.
2 – Professional Relationships
Maintaining relationships with the clients you get onboard for the business is essential. One of your goals should ideally relate to harboring solid relationships with clients, the sales team, and other internal departments.
Your goal may include several steps that would help you improve your ability to create a professional relationship with the key clients that the business serves.
For example, you can set a goal to communicate regularly with these individuals. Regular communication shows that the company you work for, and you, as the account manager, genuinely care about the client.
When you focus on relationships, set a goal to solve problems as quickly as possible. This goal has a mutual benefit for both the company and the client. Your goal could include taking up a course or reading up on strategies you can use to solve certain kinds of problems that you may face while dealing with clients. This particular goal can also help give the business an edge over the competitor, as you will be able to solve problems quickly – and this helps with the retention of customers.
3 – The Ability To Identify Sales Opportunities
As the account manager, you want to create long-term relationships, which helps with retaining customers. You also want to ensure you have happy customers. It is, however, still important to focus on getting new customers to the business, which is why you should also set a goal to identify sales opportunities.
Research plays an important role here. Consider the existing top customers of your business and spend time identifying their traits. By learning more about them, you can orchestrate deals for new customers that help to increase sales and profit.
Be specific with this goal – and make sure you also consider timing. For example, aim for five new sales to customers who are not currently on the company’s database every month.
4 – The Preparation Of Reports
To offer more value to the company as a key account manager, you will need to compile various reports from time to time. Being prepared for these reports is essential. They should contain data related to the critical accounts of the business while also providing a good outline of the clients, inventory, and more.
Set a goal to prepare these reports ahead of time. Some key account managers may find that the timing of reports requested by upper management staff can be unpredictable or come at unexpected times. This makes it hard to ensure you can prepare and present the reports while simultaneously focusing on account management.
5 – Consistent Skill Development
Trends are constantly changing, and new technologies arise over time. This is why you should also aim to develop your skills consistently. This includes improving your skills and knowledge while also equipping yourself with new skills that can help you in the workplace.
You should primarily focus on skills related to communication, negotiation, and sales. Additionally, consider developing your presentation skills. How you present a service or product to a customer significantly affects how likely you are to sign them up or make a sale. For example, a profitable investment with significant value would only seem attractive to the client if you take the right approach to present it to them. You may want to learn more about sales gamification , a trending topic – you can easily take up a course to help you get equipped with the skills required to implement this strategy.
Steps To Create Your Own Goals As An Account Manager
Now that you understand the important goals that account managers should set for themselves, you should create a plan for yourself. While these goals offer a good starting point to work from, you still need to consider your factors. This can help you develop goals from a strategic perspective and also ensure you can experience continuous growth within your career.
Using a classic SMART goal system when you develop your plan is a good idea. This can make it easier to decide upon outcome options that are appropriate for yourself based on what you wish to achieve in the long run.
Here is an overview of the SMART system and how it works to help you get better lifetime value with the goals you set for yourself:
- S (Specific): When setting your goals, ensure you are as specific as possible. You need to understand precisely what goal you are striving for and how you will be able to reach it. This can help make the process of actually striving toward the goal easier.
- M (Measurable): It is also important to ensure that any goals you set for yourself are measurable. This means there should be a way to measure your progress toward the goal. If it is not a measurable goal, you will not be able to see how close you are to reaching it at any given point in time.
- A (Attainable): There is no use if you decide upon the outcome of a goal, but it is not something you will be able to achieve. Make sure the goals you set for yourself are attainable – within the specific period of time you set for yourself. For example, if you wish to develop excellent communication skills, don’t expect it to happen overnight. It can take a while before your communication skills reach the point where closing sales become second nature.
- R (Relevant): Relevancy is also a factor you should consider. If you want to be a good account manager, reach for goals relevant to the specific areas of expertise you wish to focus on. Take a look at your career from different perspectives to help you understand what goals would be relevant to what you wish to achieve in the long run.
- T (Time-Based): Goals need to have dates attached to them. Consider each goal and when you want to reach it. If you do not set time limits on your goals, you may end up postponing the tasks you need to implement to achieve them.
By using this type of system, you should have an easier time building up the skills you require and achieving your goals in a timely manner. Be sure to set out a complete document with your goals and regularly refer back to it to ensure you can measure your progress. As you see the progress you make, you will find it to be motivating.
The Time is Now
As an account manager, it is important to ensure you set goals for yourself to strive toward. While every person has unique goals in life, we suggest you keep an eye on the goals specific to account managers that we shared in this post. These goals will help you enhance your account manager performance and ensure you are consistent with building your account management skills.Spinify can help you easily track your team’s goals, keep them on track and perform at their highest! Using the world’s #1 Sales Gamification platform, you can help your team be the best they can be. Book a demo and start tracking goals today!
Put those insights into practice.
Set your team up for success by improving their performance through gamification.
Help level up your team
The Science Behind Incentives and Rewards in Shaping Positive Team Behaviors
Spinify’s Definitive Guide to Achieving Success through Gamification
Game On! How AI and GPT Supercharge Sales Gamification
The 8 Best Professional Development Goals for Managers
Ever worked with an unhappy manager? Seen them frazzled, frustrated, or run down?
Chances are, their team felt the same way.
There's even a name for it: the Cascade Effect.
According to Gallup's " State of the American Manager ” report:
"Employees' engagement is directly influenced by their managers' engagement — whose engagement is directly influenced by their managers' engagement.”
This happens all too often– especially for new managers– and their team and department suffer greatly because of it. If losing one employee is bad, imagine losing a whole team .
What can you do about it? Lots.
One of the big reasons that the Cascade Effect hits so many teams is because managers don't get the support they need.
To keep your managers engaged, you need to support them and help them grow . Especially if they're a new manager, their Task-Relevant Maturity will be low as they take on new tasks and responsibilities. That means they need more support, not less.
As Andy Grove reminds us in High Output Management , when people are doing something for the first time, they need the most structure and support from you:
So, once you've chosen a manager for the right reasons (not everyone has the qualities of a good leader) , having a plan to help them grow is critical.
However, wanting to support them and actually being helpful are two different things. You need to ask yourself: What kinds of professional development goals should you help your managers with? What skills are most important for your managers to develop?
Today, we give you the 8 best places to start developing your managers, so that you can avoid the Cascade Effect striking your teams.
Table of Contents
1. learn how to have effective 1 on 1s, 2. be a more effective listener, 3. learn how to get buy-in.
- 4. Become a multiplier
5. Learn to manage your energy and stay positive
6. become a regular reader.
- 7. Become a coach
8. Identify future leaders
- Further reading
8 of the Best Professional Development Goals for Managers
There are many things new managers need to master to succeed. Becoming a manager is a career change , so a growth mindset is critical.
Even if you or your new manager had a leadership position in a previous company, there will be things you'll need to learn about your current company's culture and system.
As Stanford psychologist Carol Dweck discussed in her TED talk , if you don't believe you can grow and improve, you won't become more or better than you are today.
For managers in particular, this is a fatal mindset; such a manager won't be able to develop the vital new skills necessary to be a good leader. Even worse, they could stifle their team by also holding them back from growing and learning new skills due to a lack of belief that they can do grow either.
If you're a senior leader looking to help your new managers succeed, read our 7 Tips for First-Time Managers: How to Succeed as a New Manager .
Then, whether you're looking to improve as a manager, or you're a senior leader wanting to help your managers with their growth and development, adopt these professional development goals:
Part 1: Develop soft skills
One of the biggest changes in becoming a manager is how much more of a people job it is than your IC work was. For many managers, this is a steep learning curve.
Here are 3 important soft skills to help your managers develop:
Hopefully, your managers already have regular 1 on 1s, but are they effective?
Many managers have one on one meetings with their team, but they make critical mistakes that end up wasting that valuable time, such as:
- Using 1 on 1s for status updates
- Not having good questions prepared to ask your team to cover the right topics, and avoid awkward silences, and/or
- Frequent cancellations
Many of these problems can be solved and your meetings will go a lot smoother with a good 1 on 1 template combined with learning how to use that template well to guide your meetings.
That involves knowing what to do:
- Before 1 on 1s : Meeting often enough (ideally every week or two), spending enough time in the meeting (ideally an hour), and be prepared ahead of time by putting real thought into it by creating a 1 on 1 agenda .
- During 1 on 1s : Asking great questions will expand what you talk about to cover all the most important topics, then setting clear next steps and expectations builds momentum.
- In-between meetings : Taking action, following up, and keeping the meetings consistently can make all the difference in the long term value of 1 on 1s.
By making the most of these meetings, it shows your team members you value them, and helps keep them motivated and growing.
Back to Table of Contents
Curiosity is a priceless skill for leaders. By developing the skill of asking good questions, you'll uncover useful insights from your team members that will help you lead better, fix problems when they're small, and learn what your team members need most to thrive.
This really comes down to two things:
- Asking great questions : Curiosity isn't passive. You need to have great questions that allow you to explore a topic and uncover insights. Every good discussion in a 1 on 1 starts with the right set of questions.
- Listening to what they have to say : No question matters if you don't truly listen to what they have to say. True listening means giving undivided attention and asking genuine follow-up questions to bring clarity.
The questions you ask in 1 on 1 s are especially powerful, because it is a dedicated private time where you can have more candid conversations with your team. That means it's particularly important to teach your managers to ask their team a variety of questions during their 1 on 1s to uncover key insights, like:
- How do you feel your work/life balance is right now?
- What drives you? What motivates you to come to work each day?
- What area of the company would you like to learn more about?
- What aspects of your work would you like more or less direction from me?
- When was the time you enjoyed working here the most?
Further reading : Check out more great 1 on 1 questions here: One on One Meeting Questions Great Managers Ask Their Teams
Active Listening skills are as important as your opening question
Yet, there's more to it than asking good questions. You also have to develop your active listening skills so that you're not just hearing what their team members are saying but truly understanding the meaning behind it:
Teach your managers to practice the highest level of active listening: reflecting .
Before jumping from one topic to another, a good manager shares in their own words what they believe their team member said. Then, you see if your team member agrees.
From there, you can either get clarification, or move on, confidently knowing they know what your team member meant, and importantly, your team member feels heard and understood.
The better listener your managers you're developing become, the more they'll learn from their teams. This will help them fix problems when their small, learn what their team needs to succeed, and ensure they have open lines of communication with everyone they manage.
As many leaders learn early in their career the hard way, before you can make big changes, you need to get buy-in .
You can't get much done as a leader if people won't follow you. However, that doesn't just happen because you're the boss. Instead, you have to learn how to get buy-in from others.
The first and most important thing in getting buy in is to learn how to get a first follower . The first person to buy in is much harder than all the others, so you need to pay special attention to them and what it takes to get them on board. Then, once they are on board, you'll find others will start to join in. Next thing you know, you have a movement and full team buy-in.
This awesome video by entrepreneur Derek Sivers captures perfectly how that happens by watching a lone dancer on the hill become the leader of a big dance party:
The biggest mistake that managers make is to make a decision on their own and then broadcast that decision to the entire team without giving them any time to offer their own input.
When you do that, you make your team feel like they don't have a say in things. You also have no idea how they feel about the decision before announcing it.
If you can uncover potential concerns and issues beforehand, you can anticipate objections and present the idea in a way that will be most exciting to them. You'll also hear potential ideas for improvement based on what they think if you give them a chance to share their thoughts.
One on ones are great for uncovering these insights and finding out what it takes to get buy in from your team members. They're also key to making the right adjustments and changes before announcing major decisions and changes, so you've already got your first follower by the time the decision is announced broadly.
Part 2: Teach them time management skills
As an IC, you spent a lot of time developing your productivity systems and little ways to make yourself more efficient.
That's fine, but only so long as you don't have a team you need to manage.
Once you become a manager, those basic time management hacks are trumped by priority management as your individual productivity isn't nearly as important as your team's.
You need to decide what the most important tasks are for you and your team, then prioritize those things above others that could easily fill your day, but aren't as impactful.
As a manager, you need to carefully consider what your team can accomplish collectively– as opposed to only measuring yourself based on your productivity individually.
What we're really getting here is that managers must develop a multiplier mindset .
4. Become a Multiplier
The combined productivity of your team is significantly higher than your own alone. Despite this, it's a common mistake for managers to still focus on their personal productivity.
Instead, you need to spend the lion's share of your time asking yourself, " how can I make my team more productive ?"
For example, a blocker may be affecting 3 separate team members. By investing some time into clearing that blocker, you've now positively impacted the productivity of all three people in one effort.
Even better, Camille Fournier does a great job breaking this down by numbers in her excellent Velocity 2014 keynote:
So, how do you get your managers to start adopting a multiplier mindset? Teach them to start looking for opportunities to be a multiplier, like the example above.
However, they do not have to think of everything themselves. Instead, they should look to their team for ideas just as much as trust their own observations. They can ask their team questions like:
- How could we change our team meetings to be more effective?
- Do you feel like you're on the same page with the rest of the team? How often do you think you need meetings to ensure you stay that way?
- Is everyone pulling their weight on the team?
- Are you uncomfortable giving any of your peer's constructive criticism? If so, why?
With a little digging and the right questions, you'll find many opportunities to unlock, unblock, and improve your team. However, you will never learn these things if you focus all your time solely on your own productivity and effectiveness.
Similar to developing a multiplier mindset, as a leader, your mood is a key way you can affect your team in an exponential way.
If you're stressed , your entire team will pick up on those little cues you're giving off (that you might not even be aware of) and become stressed, too. This goes for every emotion, from stress to positive emotions like excitement, and negative ones too, unfortunately.
Teaching your managers to take care of themselves is important for other reasons, too.
As a manager, you're often putting out fires, so it's easy to fall into reactive management mode, only hearing about problems when they're causing a big mess. This often goes hand in hand with having a crazy calendar that looks something like this:
The problem that happens when your week looks like this is you don't give yourself any room to sit back and breathe. You lose that critical time to map the vision for your team including:
- Future projects and goals
- "Forest for the trees" moments that help you better understand a problem
- Changes to team structure or processes
- Larger business decisions if you're a founder/CEO or department lead
Leadership requires looking to the future, anticipating changes, and making proactive adjustments. For that, you need to give yourself space to sit back and think. It also means getting perspective and distance from potential initial negative reactions and emotions.
To master all of this, teach your managers that it's okay, and valuable, to take a break when needed and truly reflect.
Part 3: Help them develop a growth mindset
I touched earlier on the importance of having a growth mindset. It's not enough just to want to grow your managers. What if they don't believe they can grow? Or if they do, maybe they need to develop the right growth practices.
Your managers have to believe they can improve and learn new skills both to succeed in their role and with their team.
Your team won't thrive if you don't believe they can develop new skills. They'll be suffocated and bored doing only the same things you currently trust they can do. They'll also be held back if you aren't learning the skills necessary to level up as a leader, which will allow you to better support them.
Here are 3 growth-related professional development goals for managers:
If you've been a leader for long, you know that the learning never really ends.
That's what's so great about developing a regular reading habit. You will then always be learning and leveling up.
And if you can get your managers to embrace reading, they'll always be developing their skills, too.
To get you or them started, you can put together a curated list of great books. Two of our favorites we highly recommend are:
Dale Carnegie's " How to Win Friends and Influence People "
Carnegie's classic stands the test of time as one of the most valuable books any leader can read. It will teach you so much about managing and motivating people (something most managers get wrong in the beginning) through timeless stories that make it an easy read.
In the book, Carnegie breaks down countless insights on how people work, what really motivates them, and mistakes to avoid as a leader.
It also covers key lessons on the power and best approaches to giving praise, how to retain your best employees, and how to approach written communication to get the results you really want.
If the soft skill side of management is particularly a weakness for a manager you're helping, this is the book to get them.
Andy Grove's " High Output Management "
If you had your managers read only one book, this is the one for them to read.
Written by legendary Intel founder Andy Grove , the book dives into many of the concepts we've talked about so far and even coins essential management terms we still talk about 35+ years later like Task Relevant Maturity.
The book includes lessons such as:
- How to maximize the impact you have with your team
- Making decisions with limited information
- How to manage you and your team's time effectively
- How to have high impact 1 on 1s ( we wrote about his method here)
Keep in mind, these are just a few of our recommendations for new and seasoned managers. For the complete list, see: The 8 Best Books for New Managers on Leadership and Self-Improvement .
Also, if you're a senior leader coming up with this plan, choose a book you'll read as well, or have already read. That way, you set a good example, and can discuss it with them.
And if books aren't your favorite medium, another great option are podcasts (or audiobooks). Digesting audio is generally easier and faster than sitting down with a book. Plus, you can listen while you drive, clean, etc.
As an example, you can check out this episode of Lighthouse's Creating High Performing Teams podcast talking about many ways to invest in the growth of leaders – How to Become a Better Manager in Just 15 Minutes a Week :
Reading regularly is a powerful practice for you and other leaders to level yourselves up. Yet, equally important and powerful is learning to level up others by being a great coach to your team.
7. Be a great coach
When you're an individual contributor, all you need to do is grow yourself. When you're a leader, it becomes important to not only grow yourself, but also grow your team. That's why your managers must become coaches .
This means being comfortable talking with your people about their goals and determining small steps to help them achieve those goals over time. It means taking a look at their work and giving them constructive feedback to improve , and praise to let them know what you want to see more of.
The important thing to remember is what this investment really means; if your team succeeds, so do you. If your team fails…it's a bad sign for you.
By becoming a great coach, you'll not only boost your team's performance, you'll often also better motivate them.
We are all happiest when we feel like we're moving forward and making regular progress. As researchers Teresa Amabile and Steven Kramer discovered, it's actually the #1 contributor to being happy at work:
Coaching + Regular Progress = Motivation
Especially your best people want to grow. They want to feel like they're making progress in their careers.
By becoming an active coach in their work life, you're showing an ongoing interest in their career goals and success. This is a huge motivator, and helps make everyone on your team more and more valuable; their growth means they can take on more challenges and different tasks at your company.
Keep in mind, growth comes in many forms. You can still grow a team member even if you can't promote them. Often, learning and mastering skills can be just as motivating as advancing in a job title or climbing the corporate ladder.
There are often many ways to improve in your existing job, and the best way for someone to improve is to have a coach guiding them. This is as true for the workplace as it is in sports, and a manager should be the coach for their team.
Further reading : If your manager's employees don't know their goals, have them read How to help when your team member can't answer "What are your career goals?” for ideas on how to help them.
Every good manager who develops their skills eventually has too big a team to manage themselves. When that happens, you need to start developing leaders of your own (or ideally a bit before you hit that wall).
This all depends on how your company is run, but if it's in your power, it's a great idea to try to promote from within . There is risk, and great rewards, from promoting key employees who already know your company, your values, and likely many of the people whom they'll be leading.
Fortunately, much of the risk of promoting from within can be avoided or mitigated. Some common mistakes when promoting from within to coach your manager to avoid include:
- Promoting based on individual contributor abilities, not leadership skills
- Not having consistent one on ones with those new managers to support them
- Failing to provide leadership training to prepare future managers before they take the position
Once you feel a manager you're coaching is in a position to start promoting their first manager(s), set a goal with them of identifying a few people on their team as potential future leaders. Challenge them why and ask them to discuss the idea with each person to see if they're interested.
Once they've identified one or more potential leaders, have them check out these guides to help them prepare those team members for leadership:
- 7 Tips for First-Time Managers: How to Succeed as a New Manager
- Developing Leaders: What To Do When Your Team Grows Too Big
Grow your leaders
Being a manager requires a life-long growth mindset.
There's always more to learn about how people work, whether that's on an individual basis, or how we function as groups. To develop your managers into great leaders, you need to set them up with the right game plan for developing those critical skills necessary to lead effectively.
Keep in mind, these professional development goals are some of the most important to start with, but they're not everything. Their learning– and yours– is never over. Otherwise, that's how you end up with an organization plagued by the Peter Principle.
Want one place to document all your goals for professional development? Download our free 1:1 meeting template now.
And, to keep your and their learning going, check out these posts:
For leveling up your own leadership abilities:
- 4 Reasons Why Your Leadership Skills Aren't Improving (And How to Change That)
- Leadership Lessons: How to Rapidly Level Up Your Leaders
- 5 Principles from Jeff Bezos' Leadership Style
- Low Turnover, Engaged Teams, Quality 1:1s – How Mike Pretlove of Campaigntrack Benefited from Lighthouse
And leveling up your managers:
- How to Help Your Team Achieve Their Goals
- The Hardest Skill of All for Managers to Learn and Build
- The 8 Best Books for New Managers on Leadership and Self-Improvement
- Employee Development Plans: The Competitive Edge to Winning the World Series and Helping Your Team Thrive
And if you want to create a shared language and set of habits for all your managers, then check out our software, Lighthouse.
We organize all your 1 on 1s in one place, and give you a simple framework to help make the most of these meetings through better questions to ask, easy follow-up and accountability, and a lot more built with you in mind.
We can even help you have awesome skip level 1 on 1s, and with Lighthouse Pro you'll also get analytics, educational programs, and benchmarking surveys to help you and your managers build, measure, and learn the right skills to be great leaders.
See for yourself by starting your free, 21-day trial here.
Learn something today? Share it so your friends can, too:
As the founder and CEO of Get Lighthouse, Inc , Jason and the Lighthouse team have helped managers grow their leadership skills in dozens of countries around the world. They’ve worked with a variety of companies from non-profits to high growth startups, and government organizations to well known, publicly traded companies. Jason has also been featured in publications including NPR, the Wall Street Journal, and Fast Company.
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The Ultimate One Page Key Account Plan Template
Watch this video training to learn how to create a powerful key account plan the easy way. Templates included.
7 step key account plan process
Because I know you're short on time, how does a one page account plan sound? One that's designed for maximum impact but doesn't take over your entire life. Pretty good, right?
What follows is a simple 7-step key account planning process should take no more than 2 hours to prepare and around an hour a month to maintain.
- Account Overview. Define all the important information about your client relevant to your account plan.
- Objectives . What does your client want to achieve and how will success be measured?
- Solution . Identify the potential solutions that support your clients’ objectives.
- Action plan . Decide a course of action and list the steps needed to achieve your goals.
- Change management. Evaluate the chances of success through Force Field Analysis.
- Implementation . Agree actions, assign owners and due dates.
- Review . Regularly review and adjust your plan to ensure you stay on track.
Read on for more details.
What is key account planning?
A key account plan is your compass. Your north star. It's the map that shows where your client is today, where they want to be tomorrow - and how you're going to get there.
Above all, key account planning is the process by which you:
- learn about your clients’ objectives;
- decide the actions that help achieve them;
- uncover potential risks to retention;
- opportunities to drive additional revenue.
In addition, they set your priorities, get alignment with stakeholders, improve communication and lots more stuff.
What's not to love?
Getting started with key account plans
The best time to start your key account planning is at the beginning of the year. Your clients are fresh from the holidays and full of resolutions to make this year different. So strike while the iron's hot and the motivation to change is high.
The second best time to start is now.
Things to remember:
- Just write down what you know today. Don’t worry if there are gaps, you'll fill them in over time.
- Keep it simple. You only need a couple of solid objectives for your plan, not a shopping list.
- Set targets using KPI’s that are relevant to your client , not to you.
- The secret to a successful one page key account plan is to keep it at one page. Be brief and be ruthless. Only go after the activities with the highest return on investment.
The key account plan process in detail
Just like it sounds, you'll write down the important information about your client like:
- Client name.
- Main contact.
- Client since.
- Relationship strength.
- Period of the plan.
- Plan last reviewed.
- Summary overview.
It's mostly self explanatory, however let me highlight a couple of things.
Relationship strength . I like to include a rating just to remind myself if my partnership with my client is solid or on shaky ground. Choose your own values (e.g. bad, good, awesome).
The period of the plan . This is important. You may jump to the conclusion that it's annual. It doesn't have to be. I could be a quarterly or half yearly. It often makes sense to tie your account plan with your business review cycle.
Summary overview . Write a few sentences about your plan and any relevant client information. For instance:
- their industry;
- any major news;
- buying process;
- overall strength of the relationship;
- primary objective.
Are you thinking, "I know this stuff so why bother?"
True, I get it.
However, the summary isn't for you. It's for anyone else who's involved with your plan that may not be as close to the client as you are.
Keep it updated as things change or new information is available.
Summary Overview Example
ABC Company develops packaging for the pharmaceutical industry and has been a client since 2008. They are publicly listed company and with disappointing earnings the past two years have recently implemented an ambitious plan to trim $20m from indirect costs. The focus is primarily on cost avoidance and we have already partnered with them on several projects delivering savings in excess of $3m in the last 12 months. This year's account plan builds on those achievements with forecast savings of $5m. Miriam Davis is the Procurement Director and also executive sponsor of the plan.
The fastest way to find out what your client wants to achieve is to ask. Schedule a 30-minute call with your point of contact and ask:
- What do they want to achieve in the next 12 months?
- What challenges are they facing today?
- How have they tried to solve them (what's working and what isn't)?
- How will they measure success at the end of the year?
Those four questions alone will reveal some juicy opportunities worth including in your key account plan. If they don't, then maybe your contact isn't the right contact after all and you should find someone else to talk to.
Now you know what your client wants to achieve, it's time to make a list of potential solutions. Ask yourself:
- How do your products and services support your client's objectives?
- Is your client making the best use of them? If not, why not?
- What else do you offer that could make an impact?
- What would be the return on investment for your client?
- Are there any objections (e.g. to expensive)?
- Is there any other advice can you give your client on how to achieve their goals?
4. Action Plan
You're half way there! You know the problem and the solution. That's the toughest part. Now you have to decide how you'll make it happen.
List all the steps you need to take to, who needs to do them and by when. If you don't have names don't worry. Just put a placeholder and assign owners as you find them. You'll validate all this with your point of contact anyway.
Why do you need to do this?
Because even simple tasks can turn into nightmares. If you identify all the tasks needed to get the results you want, you'll stay on track, anticipate issues and be able to swiftly change course if things go wrong.
This is a one-page key account plan, so be brief.
Just list the primary tasks or milestones. If there's lots of moving parts, consider adding a project plan to capture all the sub-tasks too.
Have you heard the expression, "In God we trust, all others bring data"?
Here's four of the best ways to measure success that will show an impact you can quantify with data. Choose those that are most important to your client.
- Cost avoidance . How can you improve results without spending more.
- Cost reduction . How can you achieve the same result but spend less.
- Satisfaction . How can you improve quality or user experience?
- Efficiency . How can you reduce the time or steps involved?
Action Plan Example
- Reduce travel and entertainment expenses by 20%
- Reduce domestic meal allowance for business travel from $50 down to $30
- Write draft amendment to meal allowance policy.
- Submit to executive committee for review and approval.
- Have ratified by trade unions.
- Publish updated policy to the HR intranet.
- Send email to all employees to notify them of the change.
- Projected savings of $175k annually.
5. Change Management
Build it and they will come. I wish.
Before you commit to an action, think about how likely your plan is to succeed. You can't do this by yourself. You'll need the support of many other stakeholders.
Is it worth the pain of change? Will it inspire action? How do you know?
An easy way to do this is with Kurt Lewin’s Force Field Analysis , based on Newton’s law of gravity that for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. In other words, the benefits of taking action have to outweigh the risks of doing nothing.
So from your plan, next to each action create two columns:
- Why change is good
- Why change is bad
Then under each write down all the positive and negative consequences of your action. Assign a strength score and total them up.
Subtract the change is good score from the change is bad score.
If it’s greater than zero, your account plan has a good chance of success. If it’s zero or less, your plan is likely to fail.
After that, you may find you have an objective that is impossible to get off the ground in it's current form. Try taking a different path and find new actions that increase the number of reasons why change is good.
Or you may just need to put it in the too hard basket and come back to it later.
OK, so this is the exciting part. It's time to bring your key account plan to life and make it a reality.
Presenting your final plan to your client and ask them to agree to:
- The objectives, measurement and actions on your plan;
- The task owners, time frames and due dates;
- The format of the plan (e.g. Excel, Word, Project management software);
- How it will be shared (e.g, is it in the cloud or sent as attachments);
- How often it will be updated.
If you're client's happy and good to go, get it in writing. Why?
If your client agrees in writing, they'll be that much more committed to your key account plan and motivated to get results.
A simple email will do.
Agreement Email Example
Please find attached our account plan for this quarter. Together we’ve developed a robust set of objectives which I’m confident will deliver real value to your business.
I’m excited by these opportunities and delighted to be working with you on making them happen.
Please reply confirming the plan meets with your approval and I’ll get started right away!
How often will you review the overall plan? Things change and you'll need to adjust it over time as you learn new information or new opportunities emerge.
Here's a schedule that works for me - it might work for you too:
- Bi-weekly . Email status update on current activities on your account plan.
- Monthly . 30-minute account plan update call to your client (you may want to do this more often if you have a lot of objectives).
- Quarterly . 1-hour progress report to your client. Include success to date, roadblocks, any unexpected events, new opportunities and decisions needed to move the plan forward.
Your key account plan doesn't have to be perfect. Start with a minimum viable plan and fine tune as you go. Remember the most important part: have fun! You're changing your clients' world for the better.
Let me know in the comments about your thoughts on key account planning or any questions you have.
About the author
Warwick Brown is one of the leading key account management experts in the world. Through The KAM Club, a global membership community for key account managers, his blog that reaches 20,000 people every month, and a range of training and coaching services, Warwick has helped thousands of key account managers get better results, faster.
THE KAM CLUB. A PRIVATE LEARNING COMMUNITY HELPING BUSY ACCOUNT MANAGERS GET RESULTS. learn more
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A manager’s guide to personal development planning
Posted by Ronny Lavie on Mar 15, 2022
As a manager, it's your job to support your employees so they can perform their duties to the best of their abilities. But it doesn't stop there. Even if they're all excelling in their current roles (and maybe especially if that's the case), you also have to think about how to keep them fulfilled and engaged, so that they don't jump ship to another company.
A great way to do this is to make it clear to your team you care about their future, as well as their current level of performance. Help them see the opportunities that your company can provide them and the steps they need to take to advance. This can be achieved by putting together a personal development plan with each team member, so that they have a clear idea of what their career path with the company can look like.
What is a personal development plan?
A personal development plan, or PDP, is a document or file laying out a person’s career goals. As well as defining where they would like to get to in their career (for example, managing a team), it also lists all the skills and experience they will need to get there.
Some people create this plan for themselves, while some work with their managers to put this together.
Personal development plan for managers
As a manager, building a personal development plan with your employees is a great idea. This can take on many different forms - from an excel spreadsheet, to a dedicated programme like Progression.
Whichever way you choose, putting the plan together will take time and will require both you and your team members to engage with the process. You will need to consider where your company is at the moment and what kind of opportunities you can offer your employees. Your team members will need to honestly and accurately assess their current skills and recognise where they might need further training.
What are the best questions to ask in a personal development plan meeting?
While being open and flexible when talking to your employees is important, it’s also good to have a plan when going into important meetings. As you prepare to discuss a team member’s personal development plan, have some questions ready that would be useful for you in offering support.
These can be different things, like:
- What do you enjoy most about your role?
- What aspects of the job are less interesting to you?
- Are there any specific areas you would like to improve or train in?
- Is this job what you expected it to be when you started? If not, how so?
- Is there anyone in the company you would be interested in learning from?
- Are there any different parts of the organisation you would like to know more about?
- What projects would you like to work on or be more involved in?
- What has been your professional and personal highlight this month?
- What do you most enjoy doing outside of work?
- Do you have any suggestions for how I can best support your career progression?
What are the stages of development planning?
A good professional development plan can’t be created in a hurry. Take the time to complete the different stages with your team:
- Self reflection. Every journey needs a starting point. By assessing where your employee currently is in their career, you can help them plan the next step. Make a list of their current duties and responsibilities, and the skills these require to excel. They will need to do some inward-gazing and be honest about what skills they are confident they already have a good grasp on, and which they need help mastering. Additionally, they should list the things they’re passionate about, what they most enjoy about their current role, what they least enjoy and what transferable skills they have (this is especially important if they want to move to a different department or role).
- Goal setting. Now that you know where your team member is, it’s time to talk about where they want to go. Everyone dreads the -’where do you see yourself in 5 years?’ question at job interviews, but this is the time to think about it and answer it honestly. It’s important to remember that climbing the career ladder doesn’t necessarily mean taking on a managerial position. Growing as an expert in a certain field can be just as fulfilling. Make sure to present all possible career paths to your team.
- Strategising. When you have a start and end point, you can see what you and your team members need to do to get from A to B. Do they need specific training? If they want to become a manager, you could maybe send them on a course to develop leadership skills. Remember that it’s not just external training that can help here - networking events, mentorship from within the organisation and time spent working with people from other departments can all be valuable resources.
- Resource list. When you’ve set out the exact steps your employee needs to take to advance, you’ll need to have a think on your own and decide how you can best support them. What courses do you have access to? Can you get a discount by sending several members of your team on the same course? What budget are you working with? You may need to seek advice from upper management or other parts of the organisation for this. You can also set them questions regarding supporting your team members from within your organisation with mentorship and secondments.
- Final timeline. We love it when a plan comes together! When you’ve collected all the information above, you can put it all together and create a personal development plan for your team members, including details of their current role, their future goals and the training and support needed to get from one of the other. Assigning deadlines for achieving certain goals can also be helpful, as it will provide some focus and an actionable course of action.
Naturally, this plan needn’t be set in stone. Plans and circumstances change, so it’s perfectly possible for your employees' life plans to change as well. A professional development plan is a dynamic thing that can grow with the person it’s attributed to.
Who is involved in a personal development plan?
In its core, putting together a personal development plan is a conversation between you and your employee. They need to be open and honest about their skills, competencies and goals, and you need to have a firm idea of what you can do to support their advancement.
However, other people within the organisation will also likely need to be involved in the process. If you are not the main decision maker in the company, you should talk to upper management about future hiring plans, so that you can be upfront with your team about what opportunities the company will be able to offer them. Promising things you can’t deliver is the worst thing you can do in terms of keeping your employees’ trust.
Depending on the size of your company, Learning and Development, HR or the finance department will need to be involved in decisions around training and development budgets, and possible secondment or mentoring programmes within the organisation.
What factors should be considered when planning for personal development?
A good professional development plan considers the past, present and future. What skills has your team member gained so far in their career? What are they doing now and how well are they performing in their role? Where do they want to end up and what support do they need to get there?
You also need to consider where your company is in terms of growth, as this will impact the type of opportunities you are able to offer your employees. Your budget will likely determine the level of external training you can send them on.
Why are personal development skills important?
Nobody likes to feel like they are stuck. A personal development plan allows employees to imagine their future and how they might achieve their goals. The job market is a competitive place, and so staying ahead of the competition by topping up skills and growing professionally is important. It can help the team stay focused and motivated and benefit not just the individual employees, but the organisation as a whole as well.
What is the difference between PIP and PDP?
A PIP, or performance improvement plan, is designed to resolve productivity issues for team members who are failing to meet expectations. This is usually put together by HR or the management team as a condition for keeping the team member employed in the company.
A PDP - personal development plan, is sometimes required by management as an assessment tool for the employee’s appraisal, but can also be created by the employee or their manager as a way of supporting professional growth and keeping the team engaged and motivated.
Essentially, the difference here is what sets performance management apart from career progression management.
What is the difference between PDP and CPD?
A CPD, which stands for Continuing Professional Development, is usually used to track ongoing development. So, noting and documenting things like training and skills gained both formally and informally in the workplace. This can be maintained in conjunction with a PDP, as that focuses on future goals and sets targets to get to them, while a CPD tracks the progress of this process.
You could technically incorporate the aspects of a CPD within your PDP, but this might make the plan a little cumbersome. Progression’s Check-ins and Wins are a great way to keep track of how your team members are doing on their way to their chosen career path in a centralised and accessible place.
How do you write a PDP?
There are a variety of tools you can use to create your personal development plan. You can make a list of steps in a Google or Word document, create a spreadsheet or even write it all down with a pen and paper.
If you’re after something a bit more structured, have a look at the tools we offer to help you put a career progression plan together for your employees (and yourself, if you fancy it!). We also have a library full of skills and templates to make building the plan quicker and easier.
Posted by Ronny Lavie
Content Editor at Progression
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Key Account Management: The Ultimate Guide
Published: February 28, 2023
A key account is one of your company's most valuable customers. These customers demonstrate value in a few ways:
- They represent a disproportionate percentage of revenue,
- they refer new prospects to your company, and
- they give your business credibility in their industry.
However, "value" is subjective, and your organization needs a strict way to define and execute key account management.
In this comprehensive guide to key account management, you'll learn:
- What Key Account Management is
- The Role of a Key Account Manager (Including a Job Description Template)
- Key Account Management Strategy (Including a Free Template)
How to Identify Key Accounts
Key account management best practices, what is key account management.
Key account management is a business strategy where an organization provides personnel and resources to valuable clients in order to develop a mutually beneficial relationship. The goal of key account management is to sustain or grow profits from these large accounts.
Free Account Management Template
A strategic template for your account-based marketing, sales, and management.
- Key Business Initiatives
- Account Competitor Analysis
- Sales Opportunities, Targets & Risks
You're all set!
Click this link to access this resource at any time.
Fill out the form to access this free template.
Businesses that use key account management strategy reap great sales volume and long-lasting strategic relationships. Not to mention, they have a better opportunity to grow revenue from these accounts through upselling and cross-selling .
However, professional services firm BTS points out , key account programs can lead to increased costs and lower margins. That's the inevitable outcome of giving a customer greater resources and often your best discounts.
But don't be discouraged, the key to successful key account management is in the longevity of the clients, not the profit margins. Their tenure with your businesses (and the money that comes from it) more than makes up for the discounts here and there. This strategy is a perfect example of the Pareto Principle where 20% of the inputs bring in 80% of the results.
The benefits of key account management are only realized when you have the right staff in place. Let's look at the role of the key account manager and how they interact with the rest of the team.
Key Account Manager
A key account manager (KAM) is responsible for being a representative of the business to its most valuable clients. KAMs manage the key account, build strong relationships with the client, identify challenges or opportunities, and find ways to maintain success within the account.
Not only do KAMs find ways to address the client's challenges and opportunities, but they also create and present reports about the client's progress to key stakeholders.
Key Account Management Skills
- Get to know the customer.
- Cross-functional collaboration to benefit the customer.
- Effective leadership of the key account team.
- Coordination and planning of activities for complex accounts.
- Strong business acumen.
- Ability to use analytical skills to support a variety of clients.
- Clear written and verbal communication skills.
Some companies assign their reps as key account managers to one or two customers. This setup isn’t ideal because selling and account management require different mindsets, skills, and objectives. Unless your team is prohibitively small, separate the sales and account manager roles.
A key account manager is focused on becoming critical to her customer's operations — not winning a deal.
Here are several unique skills critical to a key account manager's success:
1. Get to know the customer.
A key account manager must have an intimate, sophisticated understanding of her account's strategy, market position, finances, products, and organizational structure. Then, they’ll use this knowledge to make business cases showing how price changes, customization, and add-ons will add value.
2. Cross-functional collaboration to benefit the customer.
Key accounts don't usually buy off-the-shelf: They want a custom blend of products and services tailored to their needs. With that in mind, it's crucial a KAM can work across the organization to develop these offerings.
3. Effective leadership of the key account team.
A KAM needs leadership abilities to guide her team members (which might include a salesperson, marketer, technical support, implementation, and/or onboarding specialist).
4. Coordination and planning of activities for complex accounts.
Key account programs have a lot of moving parts. To be successful, KAMs should be capable of planning short-term and long-term plays, carrying them out, analyzing the outcomes, and applying those takeaways to their future strategies.
5. Strong business acumen.
A KAM should develop dynamic business acumen — an understanding of how a company makes money — to tell how its customers make money or keep tabs on any business changes.
With this knowledge, they'll be able to solidify their position as a trusted resource and advisor for their clients.
6. Ability to use analytical skills to support a variety of clients.
In addition to having business acumen, key account managers should have an analytical mindset. Their analytic skills will help them create and present business cases. They need to be able to think quickly and apply their knowledge to various clients and markets and be confident when presenting the information.
7. Clear written and verbal communication skills.
Key account managers are responsible for keeping clients and other stakeholders updated about any issues. Sometimes, these account managers are required to make oral presentations. As such, they need to be able to write and speak clearly.
Key Account Manager Job Description
Use this Key Account Manager job description to find and attract the most qualified candidates.
Key Account Manager vs. Account Manager
It's important to note, though, that key account managers differ from account managers. Account managers manage non-key clients that bring in less revenue or may not be an ideal product fit. Key account managers focus on only the most valuable clients of a business.
The relationship between account managers and key account managers is not hierarchical as account managers do not report to KAMs, but KAMs may sit in more senior-level roles on the same team or an adjacent team.
The Difference Between Key Account Management and Selling
Key account management and selling are very different. While a salesperson focuses on the short term — by necessity — a key account manager (KAM) prioritizes the future.
Sales reps also zero in on specific opportunities, while KAMs have broader goals, including collaborating with the customer on mutually beneficial projects, helping the customer meet their objectives, and making sure the customer is getting the necessary support.
If you're hiring a key account manager for the first time, one of the first duties they perform may be selecting the key accounts that they'll serve. There are many factors to consider when carrying out this task, but below, we get you started with some of the most common criteria.
SBI recommends choosing three to five selection criteria when identifying key accounts. This limitation allows your new KAM to focus on business need and impact.
Here is a list of 10 to choose from when identifying key accounts for your business:
- Product Fit: The size of the target market that this client has access to who would use the product or service your company sells.
- Average Transaction Size: The amount of money the account spends with your business, on average.
- Revenue Potential: The amount of money the account could spend with your business in the future.
- Purchasing Process: The process by which the client purchases your product. ie: Do they purchase with just one decision maker? Is there a group who decides what to purchase? How long does payment processing take?
- Partner History & Potential: Are they currently or were they formerly a partner with your company? Do they have the potential to be a partner in the future?
- Customer Tenure: The amount of time the account has been a client of your business.
- Solvency: The account's financial ability to pay their debts.
- Existing Relationships: The relationships the account has with other businesses that could potentially become your clients.
- Cultural Fit: Alignment between the way in which the account treats their own customers, and staff as well as your staff.
- Geographic Alignment: If applicable, the physical proximity to your business's headquarters or service centers.
Out of context, these metrics won't lead to a great list of key accounts. You'll want to develop a formula that weighs each criterion based on importance to your organization. Then, calculate how much potential there is to expand each account.
You can use a key account scoring matrix to identify your key accounts across these criteria. Simply evaluate each account based on the criteria you select and assign them a score from 1 to 10 in each category. The accounts with the highest scores will be your key accounts.
While it's tempting to label many customers as "key accounts" at once to alter your company’s trajectory significantly, it’s better to be conservative. You can't tell a key account they've been demoted, but you can tell a traditional buyer you're promoting them.
In addition, you don't want to overcommit yourself. Starting a KAM program requires organization-wide change, support from the C-suite, hiring and training employees, and implementing new processes. Starting small allows you to focus your efforts.
Key Account Management Strategy
- Set objectives.
- Deliver exceptional products and services.
- Measure account growth outcomes.
- Anticipate future account needs.
You've got a short list of your key accounts, and you've hired the right folks to be key account managers. Now, it's time to execute the strategy. But how do you do that?
This four-step process will guide you through a key account management strategy.
1. Set objectives.
Before you can share the great news with your customers that they're being promoted to key account status, you need to level-set expectations internally and externally. The way to do that is by setting key account management objectives.
This process works just like it would for any other strategy. Using the why, how, what objective-setting framework , you can get to the root motivation of having a key account management strategy and come out the other side with measurable results.
2. Deliver exceptional products and services.
Next, you've got to act on the objectives you've set by outlining how you'll deliver on those promises.
Whether you're selling physical products like clothing and accessories, or a pioneer of a new software-as-a-service, you want to have a sure way to deliver those products to your key accounts consistently.
Your key account manager is responsible for ensuring this happens and that the account is delighted every single time. This means they'll need to work closely with sales, service, and operations teams to get everyone on the same page for the key account.
It could also be worthwhile to set up key account-specific processes and procedures so that the client knows what to expect and your team knows how to deliver.
3. Measure account growth outcomes.
Over time, the end goal of a key account management strategy is to grow the account in terms of revenue and client-business relationship. This should be straightforward to measure because you can use the metrics that correlate to the criteria you used to select the key accounts in the first place.
For more quantitative criteria, like product-market fit, you can look at adoption or usage rate within the account to determine how useful your product or service is to the client.
4. Anticipate future account needs.
The strategy doesn't end with measurement, though. The final step is to bring it full circle by anticipating the future needs of the key account. If they're purchasing more units than they did before, there may not be any more opportunities for volume growth, but it's possible that the average transaction size has room to increase.
Or there may be an opportunity to have the key account beta test a new product or offering that would align closely with their target market.
The takeaway here is to keep the account engaged, even beyond monetary transactions. Remember, key account management is all about building and maintaining mutually beneficial relationships, so be sure to think outside of the invoice when looking for ways to strengthen the relationship.
Key Account Management Plan Template
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Is Key Account Management the Right Strategy for Your Business?
Despite the potential benefits of key account management to your bottom line, it's not a good fit for every organization.
Consider the following points before you go all-in on a key account strategy.
1. How transactional your current sales process is.
If your sales cycle is relatively short and your sales reps have minimal interactions with prospects, key account management probably isn't the right choice. Key accounts require consultative selling techniques — and it will be hard to teach your salespeople to adopt entirely new processes for just a few clients.
2. If your product has upsell and cross-sell potential.
There's little point in continuing a relationship with the customer after the sale if they're not going to buy more. (Obviously, you still want to provide excellent customer service and support to promote word-of-mouth marketing and high retention rates.)
3. Your ability to 'land and expand.’
The above rule has an exception: If you can get your foot in the door of the prospect's company and then grow the account by selling to other departments, offices, subsidiaries, etc., a key account strategy may be a good investment.
4. The competitive landscape you're facing.
A key account program can serve as a competitive advantage. For example, imagine your customer has narrowed down their choice of vendor to you and one another company. If you can promise to make them a key account — and your competition can't do the same — you're likely to win the deal.
5. Company capacity and resources.
Successful key account management depends on company-wide support, executive buy-in, and a dedicated key account team. You'll also need enough runway for an investment that might take 12, 24, or 36 months to recoup.
According to RAIN Group , the most significant difference between high-performing companies and everyone else is an effective account planning tool.
A key account plan helps you identify the most significant possibilities for growth, potential roadblocks, threats from the competition, and more.
You can tailor an existing framework to your own needs or create a customized plan.
Whatever option you take, your account plan should include:
- Your relationships within the account
- The customer's current business plan, objectives, and financial health
- Your targets for the account
- Your strategy for hitting those targets
Let's delve into each of those in more detail.
Map out every customer stakeholder . This information will help you figure out which relationships you need to build and maintain — as well as anyone who could potentially derail your plans.
Note each person's title, role in the decision-making process, how much contact you've had within them, and how "friendly" they are.
To provide value to the account and find mutually beneficial opportunities, you need an in-depth, sophisticated understanding of their business.
Stay up-to-date on their key business goals, financial health, and current initiatives. You should also regularly run a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, external Opportunities, external Threats) analysis.
This section should cover how much this account is currently worth, which opportunities you've lost, won, where you see potential revenue growth and your projected value for those opportunities.
It should also outline your short-, mid-term, and long-term goals and the owner of each. For example, maybe your sales engineering team is responsible for getting a meeting with the CTO by January. A less immediate goal might be getting 60% of a new department using the free version of your tool. Your ultimate objective is to transform the entire department into paying users.
This section is arguably the most important. It takes your goals (in other words, your account wishlist) and breaks down the actions you need to take to reach them.
Use the same structure you used for your objectives: Short-term, mid-term, and long-term.
To give you an idea, the key steps you'll take for your January meeting with the CTO might be:
- Strengthen relationship with VP of Engineering
- Develop compelling value proposition for meeting with CTO
- Ask VP to request a meeting with CTO on your behalf
The more specific and actionable these actions are, the better. Strategic account management involves juggling several initiatives, priorities, and campaigns at one time. Without clear direction, your team will go off in a thousand directions. Plus, you can continuously adapt your strategy down the line if something changes.
Wondering how to get the optimal results? Follow these best practices.
- Select the right accounts.
- Build a dedicated team.
- Consistently measure account performance.
- Invest in the right tools.
1. Select the right accounts.
A winning strategy hinges on being selective. Make sure you pick the right key accounts and apply the same criteria to each one.
Regularly review your key accounts to verify they still require additional time, energy, and resources. If they perform as expected to justify the resource allocation, then continue on. However, if for some reason they are underperforming or the account no longer feels like a good use of additional resources, you may want to consider scaling back.
Additionally, keep track of non-key accounts. For example, if a customer is about to experience significant growth, they may qualify as a strategic account. Courting them now will earn you their loyalty before any other company in the space.
Periodically assess your selection criteria. Are your current key accounts generating as much ROI as you anticipated? If not, it could be a sign you're using the wrong measures.
2. Build a dedicated team.
Even the best KAMs can’t get the job done alone. Ideally, the KAM role is not performed by someone who has sales rep duties on their plate simultaneously.
Each account manager should have a cross-functional support team to support the proper execution of deliverables related to the client’s account. These teams should include a range of skills, disciplines, and expertise to serve your clients well.
If possible, name an executive sponsor to each account. They can play a significant role in getting the necessary resources, connecting with the C-suite at the target account, and providing high-level guidance.
3. Consistently measure account performance.
What gets measured gets done, so staying on top of account performance is critical for success. Set a cadence for internal account reviews. Depending on the team size, account’s value, and the relationship’s dynamic, these might be weekly, monthly, or quarterly.
Consistently measure the account's engagement and loyalty. Both should trend upward. From here, you should also schedule recurring check-ins with the client to get their feedback, address any issues, and find areas for improvement.
4. Invest in the right tools.
Having the right tools in place can make the job of a KAM a lot easier and more effective. For example, use a CRM to keep track of your communication with the account stakeholders, give everyone on the account team visibility into what's happening, and minimize duplication of effort across the team.
If you are having a hard time getting responses to your emails, implementing an email tracking and notification tool can help. This type of tool will let you know precisely when your recipients open your emails and click any links.
Use LinkedIn (either the free version or LinkedIn Navigator ) to monitor changes in your account's market and industry, strategic shifts, hiring and firing decisions, and more.
Eliminate back-and-forth emails about meeting scheduling by using a meetings tool to make the process seamless for the attendees.
You can also try investing in a video platform such as Loom so you can create personalized videos for prospecting and relationship-building.
Grow Your Business With a Key Account Management Strategy
A well-planned, comprehensive key account management strategy won't just keep your best customers satisfied — it will also provide opportunities to grow the relationship exponentially. As a result, your retention rates and bottom line will both benefit.
Editor's note: This post was originally published in March 2020 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.
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Strategy Development and SWOT Analysis for Key Account Managers
A SWOT Analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats) is a powerful tool that businesses both small and gigantic have used for decades to evaluate their position in the market and to help them formulate strategic plans around their threats and opportunities. SWOT analyses are for more than just businesses, and every Key Account Manager should be taking advantage of this tool to help them formulate their own strategy geared towards success by leveraging their strengths.
By utilizing a SWOT analysis, you’ll be an all-around better account manager. In this post, we’ll take a look at how you can leverage each component of the SWOT analysis to improve your account management to provide your organization and your accounts with phenomenal success.
Where Are Your Strengths?
It is always easier to focus on creating a plan that is developed around your strengths than to spend time trying to iron out every weakness you have (although weaknesses do need attention; more on this later). When you work to determine your strengths, you need to ask yourself “Where do I shine in this role? What skills do my accounts usually compliment me for?”
Answer honestly here — this step isn’t about finding the skills that you want to have, but instead identifying the positive skills you currently have. Are you a good communicator? Do you strive at all costs to provide your accounts with the results they need to succeed? Are you habitually organized with a keen eye for the tiniest details that can make or break a relationship?
These are just a few of the skills needed to be a superstar Key Account Manager. Once you’ve honestly identified your strengths, write them down, and keep them in mind as you move forward with the analysis.
What Could You Do Better?
Everyone has weaknesses and flaws in their game; that’s just a part of life. The goal is to shine a light on your weaknesses, so you can work around them, instead of ignoring them and hoping that they will just fade away with time. Ask yourself, “What could I do better as a Key Account Manager?” The answers might surprise you.
Don’t be afraid to be honest with yourself and you’ll be able to identify the weaknesses that you’ve been hiding. Once you have identified your strengths and your weaknesses, you can more effectively craft a plan that works for you individually that will bring your key accounts great success while seeming easy for you.
Craft Your Strategy
Your key account management strategy should rely heavily on your strengths while working around your weaknesses. If you were able to identify your strengths and weaknesses correctly and were genuinely honest with yourself, your personalized key account management strategy should be almost like second nature and incredibly simple for you to follow
With a personal key account management strategy in place, you will end up being a much more thoughtful account manager with your accounts’ best interests in mind in your methodical approach. Here is an example of how you can better craft your key account management strategy with your strengths and weaknesses in mind.
Let’s say that you are an excellent communicator, but you aren’t the most organized person. While you remember speaking with someone and you were able to ask the in-depth questions that provided useable answers with a better insight into their situation and expectations, you don’t know how to organize these answers in a way that is usable for the future.
In this case, it would be best to keep focusing on the communication strength and to instead use a tool to help manage customer comments especially from Voice of Customer interviews. With this example, the Key Account Manager’s strength is effectively capitalized upon while the weakness is overcome with a different solution.
Where Do You Fit In?
Among all of the other account managers either in your organization or elsewhere, where does your unique approach and strategy fit in? What do you hope to bring to your key accounts that other account managers can’t? As with any business, you must fill a niche and focus all of your efforts on catering to that specific segment of customers. Whether this means that you will be the trusted advisor accounts turn to for up to the minute solutions, or whether you are the long-term, strategy-oriented account manager thinking about where the relationship will be in five years, you must identify the role you will play in your key account’s success.
Uncover Hidden Risks
There are risks floating around that you are probably entirely unaware of. Once you perform a thorough SWOT analysis, you’ll be able to better identify them so you can create contingency plans should the risks become real problems for both you and your key accounts.
Identify Promising Opportunities
Opportunities are everywhere; you just need to look for them. By performing a SWOT analysis, you’ll be able to sit and think about potential opportunities for you to improve your key account management services and practices, along with new ways that your company can help key accounts succeed.
What potential problems do you see your key accounts encountering in a year and how can you promote your products today to help them avoid them? This is just one of the many questions you can ask yourself to help stimulate your strategic mind to find new and inventive ways to provide value to your customers while maintaining your role as a trusted advisor.
How Kapta Can Help
With a solid understanding of your personal strengths and weaknesses, along with the external opportunities and threats that you can develop a plan around, you will become a better account manager all around, and you will be able to provide even more value for your key accounts.
SWOT analysis and account strategy are considered the fundamental basics that lead to success. Want to brush up on your account management skills and build a stronger foundation? Take our new account management training videos. Watch in-depth videos from Kapta CEO Alex Raymond that cover each of the five fundamental account management tools you should use in your day-to-day.
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Personal Development Plan Examples & Templates for Success
Did you know you can make your dreams and aspirations a reality by focusing on your own individual personal development plan ?
Your potential is limitless, and investing in personal development is a way to harness your many talents.
Establishing goals for what you want to achieve — where you would like to go in the short term or long term — can improve your personal development.
In this guide, I’ll help you understand what personal development means and its importance, what a personal development plan is and why you should make one, and how to write a personal development plan.
I’ll also share with you my personal development plan template to get you started on your path to reach your personal development goals, complete with helpful examples and resources to support you.
Table of Contents
- What is a Personal Development Plan (PDP)
The 7 Categories of Personal Development
- Why Make a Personal Development Plan
How to Set Personal Development Goals
Personal development plan template, personal development courses and programs, what is a personal development plan (pdp).
A personal development plan is a guideline for your life and your future success.
Personal development is the process of improving oneself through conscious habits and activities. It is the pursuit of personal growth to enhance your quality of life and to achieve your dreams and aspirations.
When you create a personal development plan, you start to define the kind of person you want to be, skills you want to have, and accomplishments you want to achieve. And then you map out your long-term and short-term goals to realize these aspirations and set timelines for when you want to reach them.
Many people underachieve in their careers because they do not realize the areas of personal development that can help achieve mastery in any field.
Effective leaders focus on continual self-improvement and know there is no substitute for hard work.
When you practice self-discipline by setting a goal, making a plan, and working on it every day, you will see personal development and progress within your career.
The Importance of Personal Development
Most of the time, what you think about is what you become. From the moment you wake until the moment you close your eyes at the end of the day, everything you experience plays a factor in your development.
When you take greater control over your experiences, you are able to guide your personal development and accelerate toward what you want to become instead of leaving it to chance.
Setting, striving for, and meeting personal development goals opens up a world of new possibilities for you to increase your quality of life.
For example, as a result of creating and following your personal development plan, you may gain more responsibility for work and open up opportunities for higher pay. This growth could qualify you for a better career trajectory to increase your overall happiness, job satisfaction, and ability to provide for the life you want for you and your family.
Focusing on your personal development also gives you better decision-making abilities so you can avoid problems that may have plagued you in the past or are holding you back now.
At the end of the day, personal development helps you create more positivity and harness the power of positive thoughts , which can transform your life.
When you give time to yourself by focusing on your professional and personal growth, you are better able to achieve your version of success because of personal development.
Personal Development vs Self-Improvement
Recognizing the difference between self-improvement and personal development can be a little tricky.
While they are similar in that they are both very instrumental in achieving your goals and improving yourself, there are key differences between a self-improvement plan and a personal development plan.
Personal development is the work you are putting in to transform yourself on a daily basis. It’s the efforts you’re making to advance in your work, lifestyle, attitude, physique, and sociability.
Setting personal development goals and creating a plan helps you take full advantage of any opportunity that may come your way and make the most of your potential.
Self-improvement is an inner transformation. It is a self-motivated study to improve one’s character, status, or knowledge by their own efforts.
Self-improvement is a lifelong process of constantly searching for ways to change your habits so you can reach your fullest potential.
The specific efforts you put into personal development lead to self-improvement.
Start Achieving All of Your Goals Today! Download my FREE Personal Development Plan Template
Focusing on personal development categories such as personal skills, personal growth, and personal power can create habits for personal improvement.
Personal growth is founded on education and skill. Through education and experience, you increase your skill level and your ability to succeed in your field.
There are seven main categories of personal development.
Personal skills can be ones you were born with as well as skills gained through deliberate practice. They’re often referred to as soft skills.
Examples of personal skills are decision-making, teamwork, organization, and communication.
If you’re interested in growing your skills at work, try working on your personal skills. The highest-paid, top individuals in their field are the ones that focus on growing their personal skills.
Knowing what areas you excel in and which need development is very useful in your personal and professional life.
Having a personal growth plan is one of the first steps toward bettering yourself and stepping out of your comfort zone.
Humans and the human mind are constantly evolving. Think about it: you are not the same person you were a year ago. You’ve learned more, grown in many different ways, and have experienced more life events to further shape your personality, beliefs, and world outlook.
In order to experience personal development and growth, strive to be a better version of yourself today than you were yesterday.
Personal power is the authority others believe you to have in certain situations and is fueled by your contacts, knowledge, and financial status.
Developing an ever-widening circle of contacts, seeking to learn more, and growing financially increases the number of doors that others will leave open for you to step into.
Expanding your network, knowledge base and financial status will also allow you to help others do the same, further increasing your personal power and opportunities for personal development and growth.
Personal improvement stems from good work habits and having a positive mental attitude.
Thinking before you act is critical to developing a strong amount of personal improvement. To help you think first, try to set priorities on a list and consider the likely consequences before beginning.
Working on personal improvement and generating a positive mental attitude will also reduce the amount of time that it takes you to achieve your goals.
Personal empowerment is similar to Personal Power, except empowerment is the power you see within yourself, instead of how others view you.
Promoting a positive image and adopting creativity within your daily life can speed up the time it takes to achieve personal empowerment and your goals.
To help you increase your personal empowerment, consider looking for new, creative ways to finish a project in a faster, easier or cheaper way without compromising the end result.
It is very important to be conscious of areas in which you are naturally gifted as well as analyze areas in which you need improvement. This is called personal analysis.
Being truthful about where you currently stand is the first step to moving forward. You should be constantly evaluating where you are in relation to achieving your goals and ambitions.
Ambition goes to waste when there are no clear goals in sight. Developing short-term and long-term goals is a pivotal step in actually accomplishing them and growing as a person.
Having a set plan will help you have a clear understanding of which strategies are necessary in order to reach your desired destination.
Why Make a Personal Development Plan?
The reason you need a personal development plan is that making a plan will help guide you to better decision-making and remind yourself of where you want to go.
In other words, good preparation increases the probability of success and decreases the risk of things going wrong along the way.
Creating a plan for personal development helps you get a better sense of control over your life and will make you better prepared for whatever comes your way.
Consider these benefits to having a personal development plan:
- It brings your vision to reality.
- It ensures you take appropriate and logically planned action.
- It helps you improve your time management skills so you can achieve your goals.
- It’s a plan to keep track of progress, which serves to motivate you when you want to give up.
- It’s been proven to reduce stress, improve balance in life, and increase self-confidence.
Developing personal development goals for work can make the difference between success and failure. Creating a self-growth plan for your personal life can mean the difference between life-long happiness and regret.
Skills & Objectives
The objectives of personal development are continuous personal growth, increased potential for success, and capitalizing on potential opportunities.
You can practice your personal development skills by setting aside time for the important people in your life, performing action exercises that force you to perform at the highest level, and studying growth performances to help ensure you continue to climb the ladder of success.
An action plan has to include measurable objectives so you know the exact steps it will take to reach your goals. Objectives break your larger personal developments goals into bite-sized pieces so you are able to know where you are headed and check off your progress along the way.
There are no limits except for the limits you place on yourself with your thinking.
Commit yourself to a life of constant learning. Even if you are at the top of your field, there is always something to learn.
Once you have mastered a new skill, move on to learning another one. Constantly learning new skills keeps your mind fresh and active and opens doors that would otherwise be closed to you.
You will become unstoppable and you will see your entire future open up in front of you if you live a goal and growth-oriented life.
Before you can set up a plan, you need to do some self-reflecting and answer personal goal questions.
A few questions you should develop before laying out a specific plan of action are:
- What do I want to make out of my life?
- What are my goals and ambitions?
- What is currently standing in my way of achieving these goals?
After answering those questions, you can create a personal plan that contains a few key components.
The key components you should focus on are having a specific outcome that you are constantly working towards, planning and paving a path towards achieving it, being mindful of the obstacles, and understanding the bigger motivation behind your actions.
When developing a personal development plan for work, you should focus on SMART goals. SMART stands for “Specific”, “Measurable”, “Achievable”, “Relevant”, and “Time-Bound.”
By following this easy-to-remember acronym when goal setting , you can improve both your personal and professional life:
- Specific: Write goals that are detailed and clear instead of broad and general.
- Measurable: Set milestones that will let you know you are achieving your goal.
- Achievable: Make goals that are challenging yet can realistically be achieved.
- Relevant: Align your goals with your personal self-improvement plan.
- Time-Bound: Pick an end date by which you want to achieve your goal.
Set Goals for Professional Life
In order to make progress that you can see and track in your professional life, you need to document a detailed plan of action for your personal development.
Some personal development plan examples for work include answering the following questions:
- What do I want to learn?
- What do I have to do?
- What support and resources will I need?
- How will I measure success?
Be as specific with your answers as possible. The more precise, the easier it is to track your progress.
Seeing how far you have come and how your hard work is paying off will give you a boost of confidence and provide a sense of accomplishment.
Some examples of personal development goals for work include the Golden Hour and the 21-Day Mental Diet.
The Golden Hour Rule
The Golden Hour Rule steers the trajectory of your day.
Beginning your day early and investing your first hour in yourself will make a tremendous difference in the way you feel, and you will begin to see positive results in your day.
You will begin to see yourself in a more positive light and improve on your personal development.
The 21-Day Mental Diet
The 21-Day Mental Diet personal leadership plan example means waking up early and investing at least the first two hours of your day in yourself.
With this extra time, set clear goals you can work to achieve in the workplace. This can be improving your productivity and efficiency to help you get that promotion or earn a raise.
Your goals may also include education. You need to learn more to earn more.
Try setting a goal to read something educational, motivational, or inspirational every day before you go to work.
Set Goals in Your Daily Life
Outside of the workspace, it is important to be focusing on some personal goals as well. Similar to the work plan, the personal plan requires you to focus on key points in order to achieve your goals.
Here is a personal development plan example:
- What are the important goals that you want to achieve?
- When is your set deadline?
- What are your biggest strengths?
- Who or what are your biggest threats?
There are several aspects of personal development disciplines that will make achieving success possible if developed correctly.
A few of these disciplines include goal setting, planning and organizing, and concentrating on your high-value activities.
Goal setting can be done in the early morning and take only a few minutes of your day.
It can be as simple as purchasing a spiral notebook and writing out your ten goals at the beginning of each day. This will program them deep into your subconscious mind and help you actually follow through on accomplishing them.
Planning Your Day
Planning and organizing at the end of the day can help you better prepare for the coming day.
When you plan out your day, putting it down on paper, you can begin to visualize your important tasks and make sure you are working to complete them throughout the day.
Concentrating On Your High-Value Activities
High-value activities are the things you choose to do throughout the day that will give you the biggest return on your efforts to get you closer to your goals.
Concentrating on your high-value activities will help keep you focused and contribute to your success as much as any other discipline you can develop.
Promoting the highest value activities will make a powerful difference in how quickly you achieve them and the goals they relate to.
Creating a plan for personal development will help you get a better sense of control over your life and your goals…and it doesn’t have to be a daunting task!
Follow this template for writing a personal development plan to get started in achieving your goals.
There are six core steps in this template that will help you take action and measure your progress.
Step 1: Set Your Goals
Write a list of the top 10 most important goals you would like to achieve. I encourage you to really write them down somewhere — on paper or on your computer — instead of just keeping them in your head.
People who write their goals and have a clear plan are 30% more likely to achieve their goals.
Search deep within yourself and identify the things you really want out of life. Do not be hindered by thoughts of roadblocks that may get in your way. Open yourself up to all the possibilities that would make you truly happy in life.
These are life goals. Life goals are meant to be challenging, so they may seem huge, overwhelming, or even scary. But that’s why they will be broken down into digestible and manageable smaller goals.
For example, providing for your family is an important long-term goal, but figuring out the steps to get there is the challenge. Your smaller personal development plan objectives will help you identify those steps so you have a clear road map to follow.
With each of the 10 goals you identify, also define your “why:” Why do you want to achieve this goal? What will it mean for your personal life, your career, your health, your loved ones?
Knowing your why will help set you up for success. It will keep you motivated to continue progressing forward until you have achieved what you want to.
Step 2: Prioritize Your Goals
Once you have identified your top 10 goals, write which of those 10 is the most important to you and why.
Starting with your highest priority goal, identify the short-term goals and steps that are needed to achieve your long-term goals.
What needs to happen today so you can move on to tomorrow?
This may require some research on your part, depending on your goal.
For example, say your goal is to become a leader in your field. Some of the short-term goals you will prioritize to reach this personal leadership plan example may include the following:
- Choose a topic or niche in your industry that you want to specialize in.
- Learn everything you can about the issue by talking to people in your industry, reading about your topic, attending seminars and webinars, and so on.
- Educate others by writing regular blog posts.
- Start a podcast and offer valuable information.
- Give interviews on podcasts, local radio and TV stations, and news outlets.
- Write a book and get it published.
- Become a public speaker at industry conferences or hold your own conference.
Step 3: Create a Timeline for Achieving Your Goals
Setting deadlines in your personal development plan template is crucial. Without them, your goals can get lost in the everyday chaos of life or forgotten completely.
Write down a specific timeline for achieving each of your goals, but be realistic in your timing and know the likelihood ahead of time of achieving your goal within a certain timeline to avoid discouragement.
While you may want to become debt-free by next year, you will first need to do what is necessary to earn more income or reduce your expenses. This could involve getting more education, finding a better job, or making major life changes, which could take more than 365 days.
Once you assign a due date to each of your short-term goals, tackle the hardest goal first . This will help you realize you can actually achieve your goals faster and give you the motivation you need to propel yourself forward.
If you’re unsure of the timeline you should set for accomplishing your goals, speaking to other people who have achieved the goal you are striving for will help you set a realistic deadline.
Conducting online research could also help in defining a timeline to accomplish your goals.
Knowing that it takes four to five years to earn a Ph.D. in business lets you know how long it will likely take you. If you can only attend school part-time, you know it will take longer, perhaps twice as long.
Step 4: Analyze Your Strengths and Weaknesses
Write down your strengths and weakness. Remember that skills like perseverance, positive attitude, and creativity are strengths and weaknesses as much as educational level, experience, and having a strong network of professional contacts.
Focus on the attributes that are needed to achieve your goal. Then, write how your strengths can help you achieve this goal and how you plan to overcome those weaknesses.
Use a SWOT analysis to organize your thoughts and develop a strong strategy for achieving your goal. SWOT stands for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.
Ask yourself questions similar to these to help you develop each part of a SWOT analysis:
- What sets you apart from your peers?
- What is your competitive advantage?
- What do others regularly praise you for?
- What do people ask you to help them with?
- What parts of yourself are you confident about?
- What values are important to you?
- What do you usually avoid doing because you don’t think you can?
- What kind of tasks do you procrastinate?
- Where are you lacking in skills, experience, or education?
- What resources do you lack?
- What areas do you feel you need improvement?
- What gets in the way of your work performance or relationships with others?
- What technology can help you achieve your goal?
- What promotions or financial incentives are available at work?
- Who can help you reach your goal?
- What changes are happening or are projected to happen in your industry or personal life?
- What conferences, classes, or networking events are available to you?
- What are your competitors failing at that you can learn from and improve on?
- What obstacles do you face that may hinder your progress?
- Which of your weaknesses could lead to threats?
- Who is trying to achieve the same goal that may get in your way?
Step 5: Write an Action Plan
Write actions that you need to take in order to achieve your goal. These can be things you need to add to your daily routine as well as things you need to eliminate from it in order to achieve the success in life that you are looking for.
Doing this will help you to achieve each goal faster.
Whether you use a notebook or your computer, just make sure you’re also physically writing down your plan so you can see it every day and hold yourself accountable.
Step 6: Measure Your Progress
The final step in your personal development plan template is to mark your progress.
Write down what has been working well, what you have accomplished, what you still need to improve, and what skills or knowledge you have gained along the way.
People who set up a system to report on their goals weekly achieve 40% more than people who do not.
To help you in this final step, consider using a tracker to take notes, measure progress, and be analytical about what works and what does not.
Sometimes it is necessary to change courses midstream or add a step that you were not initially aware of. That doesn’t mean you should abandon your goal out of discouragement. It just means you need to adapt, and this is where a tracker can help you determine if it’s time to pivot.
Remember it’s okay to be flexible. Doing so will allow you to make changes when needed that will propel you toward your goal more efficiently.
This could be a good opportunity to use another piece of data about how people who write things down/journal are much more likely to be successful.
Personal development courses, coaches, and programs can also help you hit your goals.
A personal development program accompanied by a personal development coach helps to keep you disciplined and moving forward.
If you are looking to transform your life, check out these courses and programs that include all of my knowledge, distilled into powerful lessons to help you achieve immediate success in your own life. They will teach you how to stop worrying and stressing out and how to take control of your life, forever.
Power of Personal Achievement
Learn the right way to visualize your ideal future. This course will teach you how to set your goals and methodically achieve them with more efficiency than ever before.
This program will teach you how to ditch the negative emotions that have been hindering your success as well as how to redirect your energy and resources towards your personal mission.
The Science of Self Confidence
In this course, you’ll learn just about everything I’ve learned about self-confidence during the past four decades.
I reveal the secret of the four Cs that teach you how to escape the endless loop of failure. You will find your true self and, as a result, finally feel truly confident.
This course will equip you with the skills to discover your special calling. You will learn everything you need in order to know how to take the shortest, fastest route possible to your destination.
Ultimate success is achievable when you know how to dramatically improve your productivity.
Create Your Personal Development Plan Today
Don’t wait to start improving your life.
Follow a personal development plan for work and your personal life or use a template to start accomplishing your goals and improving your life.
For the easiest way to get started, download my free Personal Development Plan Template to organize your goals over the next few months and years and optimize your success.
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Key Account Management Plan Template
Co-Founder & Chief Executive Officer at DemandFarm
Key Account Management Plan
As the saying goes, ‘failing to plan is planning to fail’. This could not be more true when it comes to Key Account Management . Creating and maintaining a Key Account Management plan can be critical to the success of your business. After all, your key accounts are the customers that bring the most revenue and profit. So it only makes sense to invest the time and resources necessary to keep them happy. But what goes into a Key Account Management plan ?
A Key Account Management plan will help you map out your approach, stay organized, and on track as you work to grow and nurture your relationships with your key accounts. If you are not sure where to start, don’t worry. We’ve got you covered with this Key Account Management plan template . We provide a systematic approach to analyze your customers, identify key areas, and adopt best practices of Key Account Management planning.
6 Steps of Key Account Management plan
Broadly, a Key Account Management plan can be divided into 6 categories or steps: account analysis, self-analysis, business development, action plan, monitoring, and reviewing the plan. Each of these sections will provide you with an opportunity to capture information that you need to improve your business and ensure customer satisfaction.
Step 1: Account analysis
When creating a Key Account Management plan, start by analyzing your current accounts . This will give you a better idea of how to focus your marketing efforts. Also, it will help you identify the pockets of potential growth. For example, do you have any new customers on whom you are not able to collect data? Are there existing customers who are not satisfied with their experience? These and other questions can help you identify areas where you need to improve.
Get to know their business better – what are their goals, what are their challenges, what are their priorities? Here’s a list of questions to guide you through some research:
- What is their company culture like?
- How do they view themselves?
- What is their budget like?
- How many employees have they hired?
- For each employee, what is their role description?
- What are their key performance indicators?
- What are the challenges the key account is facing?
Best practice: You may find it helpful to create a diagram or table that illustrates the relationships between these various parts of your key account. Invest in an automated solution that can improve the integrity of your data while enhancing the research process.
Step 2: Self-analysis
What analytics can help you to understand is what type of information you need to focus on in order to improve your business. This includes customer requirements, competitive analysis, product development, and technical excellence. Depending on the situation, one or a combination of these elements will need to be emphasized.
Current customers can be analyzed using a number of tools. You can use analytics and automation to get a handle on how your customers interact with your business. This will help you identify customer pain points that you can address with changes to your product or service. You can also analyze performance data to identify how your products perform. This can include identifying customer complaints, feedback, and satisfaction issues. Lastly, you can analyze sales projections to determine how much revenue you will be making in the coming year.
These projections are based on estimated sales growth, which uses data from your previous experiences with similar products and services. All this information will help you create a list of initiatives that you need to address in your key account management plan. Define your objectives by answering questions like: What is your key account trying to achieve? What’s the bigger picture? Differentiate yourself by linking your capabilities to their key objectives.
Best practice: Clearly define your objectives and allocate specific business units to a generic team rather than a specific account manager – it will foster a creative, collaborative culture.
Step 3: Business development
In order to sustain growth, businesses must constantly look for ways to improve their offering. This can include new products, processes, and services. However, innovation is not just for startups. Even large companies must continually look for ways to improve performance. For example, how can a company increase sales by 10% without increasing prices? How can they do this by improving their service? Or by adding new products that are both cost-effective and attractive to customers?
Analyze the current state of the account and the factors that affect it. Consider this
- Market position (leadership, growth potential, share of market, price sensitivity)
- Business unit performance (income, cost, margin, growth potential)
- Current contracts (length, renewal likelihood, value, special terms and conditions)
- Customer service/relationship quality ratings (impact on new business opportunities )
- Competitors’ status (what are they doing?)
- Potential business opportunity value (current and future)
- Critical success factors (what would make the account happy?)
- Optional technology benefits
Knowing this will help you frame how you approach the project. Also, it will help you identify the type of research needed to understand the client’s industry better.
Best practice: Depending on the type of research you are doing, you can either outsource it to a specialist, or hire a professional researcher to do it for you. If you are conducting consumer research , you can create a survey or you can ask people who are familiar with the company to complete questionnaires for you.
Step 4: Action plan
Once you’ve done the research and analysis, it’s time to create your plan. Don’t worry about being perfect at this point – just get your plan drafted and then review it with your key account manager. Ensure everyone is committing to achieving the goals. A successful Key Account Management plan will show you where you need to go next to grow your business and build more value for your customer.
Define timelines that are achievable and align with your objectives.
- What’s the short-term goal?
- What is the best time to do it?
- How will you achieve your goal?
- Who is responsible for each task?
Focus on high-leverage activities to understand what takes up your time. What is unlikely to generate new business? Eliminate or reduce these tasks to make way for more productive activities. Focus on activities such as one-on-one meetings, phone calls, writing, project reviews, and research.
Best practice: Don’t overload yourself or your team at first – ease into your plan gradually. This will help you get used to the process and avoid procrastination. Focus on one task at a time to ensure consistency and improve your performance. Celebrate your victories (big or small) to keep yourself motivated.
Step 5: Track and monitor your progress
Once your Key Account Management plan is underway, you need to make sure you’re tracking and monitoring your progress. Did you commit to too much? Are you going to get done on time? Ensure that you take some time to review your progress so that you can course-correct if necessary.
In addition, review your customer’s performance. Did they meet their commitments to you? If not, why not? This will give you insight into what they are seeing or feeling so you can position yourself for future advantage.
Set up a progress report template to ensure that you are able to capture all the data and information that you need to compile a report on your key account management efforts. A template will ensure that you do not miss any important information and that you can easily compare your progress between different reports.
Best practice: Set up a Key Account Management software to manage and organize all your key accounts and objectives. You can set up a project for each of your key accounts, or you can create a general project for all of your client work. Using software will ensure that you don’t lose track of any elements of your work and can easily revisit past projects or templates to ensure consistency between projects.
Step 6: Revise and improve
No plan is ever set in stone. Your Key Account Management plan isn’t any different. Don’t be afraid to review and revise your plan. Keep records of your Key Account Management activities to ensure you can recognize your successes and learn from your failures. Review your activity logs at the end of each month to evaluate your performance and effectiveness.
Keep a PMO (project management office) or project management software can help you manage and organize all of your
- Does the plan reflect the results of your analysis?
- Are the goals realistic and achievable within the timelines?
- Are there any parts of the plan that need to be revised or updated?
Best Practice: Review your plan on a quarterly basis at the very least.
How to overcome challenges while creating a KAM plan template?
Although a Key Account Management plan can provide tremendous benefits to both you and your customer, the process of developing and executing such a plan is not without challenges. Challenges such as time, resources, information and organizational culture can impede your team’s ability to succeed with the plan.
Time is a precious resource, and your customer may not have much of it to invest in you or your organization. You need to ensure that you don’t put unnecessary pressure or demands on them that they can’t meet. Similarly, you don’t want to delay delivering on your promises because you’re waiting on a customer to meet you halfway. Be creative and resourceful in meeting both of your obligations.
Your team may not have the resources (human or technical) necessary to complete Key Account Management activities. Ensure that you thoroughly review the requirements and focus on those that provide the most value. Then prioritize the requirements and take time to prepare yourself and your team to tackle Key Account Management plan requirements from both a quality and time perspective.
Incompatible organizational culture
Although most organizations attempt to integrate their culture with that of their customers, in some instances the two are fundamentally incompatible. If this is the case in your scenario, then it is likely that you will not be able to change your customer’s culture. Instead, you will need to carefully strategize how you will adapt yourself and your operations to accommodate your customer culture.
Your customer may have conflicting priorities which prevents them from fully engaging with you. For example, they may have a new product launch they are prioritizing above all else. This may mean that they are unavailable to participate in any collaborative events you plan with them or their other key accounts. Ensure that you have a backup plan that allows you to engage with them in some way to ensure retention of the relationship.
Uncertainty surrounding Key Account Management plan effectiveness
The results your organization achieves when performing key account management activities are often uncertain until some time has passed. Ensure people from all departments are prepared for this and ensure leaders are able to course correct if required.
Cost-effectiveness of activities
It is possible that the time or costs associated with an activity designed to nurture your customer could result in a negative return on investment (ROI). Ensure you’re not unnecessarily draining your resources. Eliminate or reduce the impact of activities that are not worth the cost or time required to deliver them.
Lack of or ineffective tools and systems
There are many technology solutions available to help you manage your key accounts more effectively. A common complaint we heard was that the tools and systems provided by the company were underdeveloped or clunky, so much so that they frequently caused more headaches than they alleviated. Ensure that the tools and systems you require to manage your key accounts are state-of-the-art and functional.
As you can see, there are many different elements that go into a successful key account management plan. Success with your key account management plan will require commitment and discipline from you and your team. Prepare yourself and your team before you launch the plan. Ensure everyone is clear on their responsibilities and timelines. Use resources such as one-on-one meetings, group meetings, phone calls, or a virtual meeting platform to engage your team and address any concerns early on.
By taking the time to put together a detailed and well-thought-out plan, you can increase your chances of success and make it easier to manage your key accounts. Use this template to keep your key account management plan organized and ensure that you are providing the best possible service to your most important clients.
Ready to discuss your Account Management Needs?
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About The Author
Co-Founder & Chief Executive Officer at DemandFarm, Abhijit Gangoli, is a seasoned entrepreneur with over two decades of experience in successfully building businesses in the Sales and Marketing domain for the B2B Tech industry. At DemandFarm, he focuses on business and sales strategy to drive growth and innovation in the company. His past venture, DemandShore, now a part of Spiceworks Ziff Davis, is an omnichannel B2B performance marketing company. At DemandShore, he also successfully conceptualized and launched martechadvisor.com - one of the leading digital media publications in the marketing technology space globally.
- Internet , Productivity
25 Personal Development Goals For Managers
- Tom Clayton
- July 8, 2022
Personal development is all about making a commitment to do things that will help you better yourself and grow as a person or professional.
Continuously striving to improve yourself will increase your chances of making progress and achieving success in various aspects of your life.
Whether you are a manager or you are aspiring to become one, setting actionable and leadership-oriented development goals will improve your skills and perform better in your role.
In this post, we are going to discuss some examples of personal development goals for managers that you can set for yourself or incorporate into your existing development plan.
Keep in mind that merely setting goals is not enough, you have to follow through and put in the effort to accomplish them.
Personal Development Goals For Managers
1. work on your powers of motivation.
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio
As a manager, you need to be able to motivate yourself and your team members to reach their targets and maximize productivity. You can improve your motivation techniques by praising and encouraging your teammates when they do great work.
Assign them tasks that will challenge them and commend them when they start showing signs of improvement. Prompt them to reflect on what they want to get out of the job so they can self-motivate by reaching towards that goal or vision.
Treat everyone fairly, reward employees who perform well, show respect for their ideas and approaches, and encourage people to take breaks or time off when they need it.
Also Read : Goal vs Objective
2. Learn to give and take constructive feedback
As a manager, the people on your team are going to look up to you for guidance. It’s your job to help them sharpen their skills, perform better in their roles, and advance to the next rung on their career ladder.
To do this, you have to be able to provide feedback that is constructive, valuable, and reassuring. You should be able to tell the employees what they have done right and where tweaks need to be made to bring their work up to the level that you expect from them.
Feedback is a two-way street so you also need to be open to listening to constructive criticism. Creating an environment that encourages your employees to share feedback with you can help you become a better manager and also help boost performance and morale around the office.
3. Improve time management skills
Learning how to manage time is one of the most important skills a manager can have. How can you inspire your team to properly distribute their time and deliver their projects on time if you are not able to do so yourself?
Your ability to efficiently manage your time will come in handy whenever you have an uptick in your workload or competing tasks vying for attention. It will also prevent you from crashing under the weight of pressure and stress, and free up time that you can reinvest in other tasks.
You can start by using apps to keep track of how you use your time and then review the data to see where you are using up too much time and devise strategies to speed up your workflow.
4. Take a leadership course
Being made a manager doesn’t mean you know everything there is to know about leading a team and getting people to do their best work. Make it your goal to get formal management training to see what you can improve about your leadership style .
There are lots of free resources and courses online that can help you refine your people management, project management, strategic thinking skills, and a host of other skills that can help you perform exceedingly well in your role.
Learn from other professionals with extensive management experience to find out the mistakes they made early on so you can avoid the same pitfalls, and help steer your team towards success.
5. Be a more active listener
Photo by Edmond Dantès
It can be tempting to interject with remarks or even take over the conversation when someone is speaking, but that just makes you a bad listener and conversationalist.
Learning to listen attentively, not just to hear, but to understand what is being said can cut down on miscommunication and confusion at work.
Give your undivided attention when listening and ask questions to uncover additional insights on the subject of discussion, and clarify any points you don’t understand.
This will help the other person feel heard and leave with the confidence of knowing the purpose and meaning behind the conversation.
Becoming a better listener will equip you to learn more about your team, the challenges they are facing, and how you can support them to achieve personal and collective goals.
6. Practice kindness and empathy
A little bit of kindness goes a long way. It can help boost team morale , uplift someone’s mood, bring some sunshine to their day, and create a warmer impression of you in people’s minds.
Whether it’s with your employees or some random person you hardly know, strive to always approach all your interactions with patience and kindness.
Learn to be more mindful and understanding of other people’s feelings, thoughts, or experiences, and respond appropriately to them.
Give people your full attention when needed, take an interest in their lives, acknowledge their feelings, ask how you can help, and don’t be too quick to pass judgment. These are all ways you can practice showing empathy and kindness.
7. Increase adaptability to change
Photo by Jopwell
As a manager, there will be times when you need to rebuild your operations or refocus your company’s resources to accommodate changes. Only leaders who are flexible enough to quickly pivot and embrace the new state of things will succeed.
This is why nurturing your ability to adjust to change is one of the most important personal development goals you can set. You can do this by avoiding getting stuck in your ways and being open to implementing new initiatives.
Planning for other possibilities will also help you be better prepared to deal with changes if things don’t work out as expected.
8. Develop transdisciplinary skills
Start seeing learning as a lifelong project and be intentional about learning new things and growing as a person and as a professional. Read more, take courses, embrace new challenges, and do whatever you can to polish your existing skills.
Be open to learning brand new skills from other areas because you could pick up knowledge that can be applied to your role.
Look to other departments in your company to gain an understanding of how they work and how their activities contribute to the company’s bottom line.
9. Get better at managing stress
Photo by Kampus Production
Being responsible for the successes and failures of an entire team and having to push everyone to do their jobs and ensure they are doing them well can be very challenging and stressful.
If you allow this stress to fester it can cause problems with your mental, emotional, and physical health or lead to chronic burnout. That’s not an outcome you want to have to deal with.
Knowing how to deal with stress can prevent it from happening so make it a personal development goal to reinforce your stress shields. A quick internet search will help you find different stress management tactics that you can start implementing right away.
10. Become more proactive
This skill is what separates a great manager from a great one. You shouldn’t always wait around for problems to arise so you can react to them, train yourself to anticipate issues and make plans to address them before they blow up.
Being proactive will allow you to maintain control over the situation rather than being controlled by it, so you won’t be completely thrown off balance.
The trick to enhancing your proactiveness is to focus on solving problems and doing the work ahead of time.
Stay updated on emerging trends, current best practices, and new research in your field, and see how you can apply the insights to your work or organization right away.
11. Identify and work on weaknesses
Photo by Alex Green
Another personal development goal for managers you can set is to know your weaknesses and take steps to improve on them. Start by accepting that you are not perfect and that having a weakness doesn’t detract from your leadership abilities.
Be honest with yourself about your problem areas and what you think contributes to them. After doing some self-reflection, reach out to someone who knows you well and can be trusted to tell you the truth to get their own opinion.
They might help you uncover some weaknesses that you may not be aware of so you can develop an action plan to raise your competence in those areas.
12. Learn to show appreciation
Employees are a manager’s greatest asset, so make it a goal to show them that their efforts are deeply appreciated. When your team achieves a goal they have been working towards, don’t be stingy with the praise.
Publicly recognize people who do good work or who go above and beyond. Let them know you are grateful for what they do or have done.
When your workers feel appreciated, they will work harder and want to stick around your organization for a long time rather than leaving to join a different company .
13. Create work-life balance
Photo by Helena Lopes
Although work is important, it should not be what rules over your life. It’s important to create strong and realistic boundaries to separate your professional life from your personal life.
This will positively impact your well-being, increase your happiness, work satisfaction, and performance. Some steps you can take towards establishing a work-life balance include leaving work at work and home at home.
You can also try sticking to the prescribed 8-hour workdays and creating a to-do list every week/day to help you stay on top of your work and personal responsibilities.
14. Improve problem-solving skills
Rather than complaining when challenges or problems arise, you want to be the kind of person who rolls up their sleeves and gets to work on fixing the issues.
Focus on finding solutions to whatever issues you are facing instead of waiting around for someone else to resolve it.
That is the mark of a great manager. Achieving this personal development goal will not only establish you as an exemplary leader at work, but it will also place you on the path to success because you will be more committed to tackling problems instead of grumbling about them.
15. Learn to delegate more and micromanage less
Photo by Anna Shvets
You’ve probably heard the saying “if you want something done right, do it yourself,” but following it is the easiest way to make yourself go crazy with stress. The best managers know not to fill their plates with more tasks than they can handle.
You have to learn to delegate tasks to other people and trust them to successfully get the work done. Don’t try to supervise every aspect of the task as they are doing it because that undermines the skills, processes, and unique point of view that they have to offer.
Beyond easing your workload, learning to delegate without micromanaging will help foster confidence in your employees’ abilities and in their regard for you as a manager.
16. Enhance your strategic thinking
Learning how to think about things and approach problems with a strategic mindset is one of the most important personal developments you can aspire to as a manager.
Fortifying your strategic thinking skills will enable you to overcome challenges and take the best approach that will guarantee success and move you closer to your goals.
You can achieve this by always creating a strategy for any task or project before you embark on it.
Think about what you want to achieve, why it matters, the perception you want to create in people’s minds when they encounter the work, and the concrete actions you are going to take to bring the ideas to life.
Also Read : Best Thank You Messages For Boss
17. Develop coaching and mentorship skills
Photo by Christina Morillo
Being a manager means having people rely on you for guidance and direction. You need to get better at sharing your knowledge with the people you are managing.
Not only will this help them improve their skills, but it will also give you increased confidence in your skills and experience, and even help you realize the knowledge areas to brush up on.
Set goals for your team and ensure everyone perfectly understands the responsibilities and expectations of their roles.
Make yourself available to your employers; listen to their concerns, opinions, questions, or problems and try to understand where they are coming from, and provide solutions or advice where possible.
18. Build better work processes
Another personal goal you can work towards that can make you a better manager and maximize your team’s potential is to set up effective workflows.
Refining your processes will empower your team to get more work done in less time, without expending greater effort or sacrificing the quality of their outcomes.
You can make a plan to optimize processes by getting to know the strong suit of every member of your team and assigning tasks in a way that leaves everyone assured of what they are supposed to do.
Help them understand what’s expected of them and when they are expected to complete it and put measures in place to help them get results.
Explore : Attention To Detail – Examples & How To Improve
19. Expand your peer network
Photo by Henri Mathieu-Saint-Laurent
Having a solid community of talented, ambitious, and like-minded people can be a great source of support and motivation.
Finding and connecting with other people and managers who are committed to advancing their careers and making a name for themselves in their respective industries will help you realize that you are not alone in your journey.
Try to reach out to other professionals whose careers or accomplishments resonate with you and slowly cultivate relationships with them. Attend conferences and other events to get to know other players in your field.
Explore : Best Elevator Pitch Examples
20. Move past limiting beliefs
Clinging tightly to your limitations and letting them dictate what chances to take or what you can or cannot do will only hold you back.
It’s normal to be scared of failing, losing face, or getting hurt when you step out of your comfort zone or try to reach for the things you want, but try to go ahead and do them anyway.
Work on identifying the beliefs that are preventing you from going after the things you desire and take steps to conquer them by replacing them with positive and supportive thoughts. Instead of why, start asking yourself why not.
21. Work on your emotional intelligence
Becoming a successful leader often requires considerable emotional intelligence. If you want to be a better manager or climb higher up the professional ladder, you need to make improving your EQ one of your personal development goals.
Some people naturally have a high emotional quotient or intelligence. But the good news is, even if you are not one of them, it is something that you can acquire more of and get better at.
You just have to create a plan to bolster your capacity for emotional intelligence. Doing this will help you become more self-aware and socially aware, and improve your ability to motivate, communicate, self-regulate, and process the emotions of people around you.
Also Read : Best Impromptu Speech Tips
22. Make time for self-care
Paying attention to your mental, physical, and emotional health and embracing measures to help you keep them running in tip-top shape will only help you become a better manager, friend, partner, sibling, or parent. You can’t neglect to treat yourself right and take care of your own needs.
You have to be intentional about caring for yourself, the same way you are committed to your work and other responsibilities.
Make self-care a priority; meditate, eat nutritious foods, exercise regularly, find hobbies to dabble in, declutter your surroundings, embrace journaling, and take time to actively rest.
23. Focus on building professional relationships
Photo by Alexander Suhorucov
Team productivity and effective collaboration are bolstered when there is a cordial relationship in the working environment.
As a manager, you should strive to strengthen the relationship you have with your coworkers and the relationships team members have with one another.
Nourishing these relationships will allow everyone to work harmoniously and give their best to their role because they know that their performance will feed into other people’s roles.
Be open to learning from everyone, show your colleagues that you value them, be open and honest in your communication, and help others whenever you can.
Also Read : How To Write A Mission Statement ?
24. Sharpen your persuasion skills
One essential quality that managers must have is the ability to get people to buy into their ideas. You need to be able to sell people on your plans, motivate them to do the work, and help you make your vision a reality.
You can accomplish this by explaining your ideas in a captivating way—creating a story around it for example—and explaining what they stand to gain from their contributions to the project.
Let people offer their input on the subject to make them feel involved and gauge how they feel about the idea before work begins on it.
25. Build a growth-oriented mindset
Photo by fauxels
The way you view things in your mind will impact how you approach situations and the kind of results you get out of them.
If you are of the mindset that trying new things is inviting trouble or you believe things won’t work out, it will become a self-fulfilling prophecy.
You won’t be willing to actually put in the work required to succeed because you believe it won’t be worth it in the end.
This is why working on your attitude and adopting a positive and progressive mindset is one of the most important personal development goals you can set.
Also Read : Best Udemy Alternatives
Having clearly defined goals is the key to improving and motivating yourself to attain the personal and professional growth you desire.
If you want to be a great manager, you can start by using these constructive personal development goals to help you develop critical skills for effective leadership.
Tom loves to write on technology, e-commerce & internet marketing. I started my first e-commerce company in college, designing and selling t-shirts for my campus bar crawl using print-on-demand. Having successfully established multiple 6 & 7-figure e-commerce businesses (in women’s fashion and hiking gear), I think I can share a tip or 2 to help you succeed.
- Leadership Development
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Individual Development Plans Examples for Managers – Crucial Goals to Include
- by Sreyashi Chatterjee
- August 11, 2023
Recent studies have shown that organizations with effective individual development plans (IDPs) for their managers experience a significant boost in productivity and employee engagement. According to a survey, 94% of employees in companies with well-structured IDPs reported higher job satisfaction and a more substantial commitment to their organization.
Having structured and targeted examples of IDP goals for managers can be a game changer. It can help you with the positive outcomes for your teams and the organization.
Let’s understand what IDP goals for managers are. We will also discuss individual development plan examples for managers that will help you implement and monitor tactics of managerial IDPs, and on how to overcome the challenges for the same.
Understanding Individual Development Plans (IDPs) for Managers
Individual Development Plans (IDPs) serve as personalized roadmaps that outline managers’ specific objectives and development areas, facilitating a well-structured path to success.
Unlike regular performance evaluations that focus on short-term performance, IDPs extend beyond the scope of reviews and concentrate on long-term career aspirations and skill enhancement. This forward-thinking approach empowers managers to take charge of their professional development and align your growth with the organization’s strategic objectives.
According to McKinsey , organizations that actively support employee development experience higher retention rates and are more likely to attract top talent.
By adopting IDPs, managers gain the tools and insights to nurture the potential of their team members effectively.
The IDP process encourages managers to develop coaching and mentoring abilities, fostering a supportive and growth-oriented team environment. This not only enhances employee performance but also contributes to the overall productivity and success of the organization.
Individual Development Plan Goals for Managers
Setting individual development plan goals for managers is a pivotal step in their professional growth journey. These goals are the building blocks for enhancing managerial skills, fostering leadership qualities , and driving overall team success.
Let’s dive into the key objectives
1. Self-Assessment and Identifying Skill Gaps
Self-awareness is the foundation for a successful IDP. By conducting thorough self-assessments, managers can identify areas for improvement and skill gaps that might hinder their success.
Addressing these gaps through targeted development plans , such as attending workshops or training sessions, can enhance their capabilities and transform them into more effective leaders.
2. Leadership and Communication Skills Enhancement
Strong leadership and communication skills are game-changers for managers in the business world. With enhanced leadership qualities, they can inspire and motivate their teams to achieve remarkable results.
Effective communication skills enable them to build better relationships with clients and stakeholders, leading to improved collaboration and successful business deals.
3. Goal Setting and Time Management
Setting clear OKRs and achievable goals is instrumental in driving success. Using a goal-setting platform can streamline the process, helping them align their objectives with the organization’s and track progress efficiently.
Effective time management ensures managers prioritize tasks, leading to better productivity and timely execution of projects, ultimately elevating business performance.
Managers can learn to set OKRs with the best OKRs & strategy execution software like Peoplebox, they can build a truly goal-driven and time management culture to accelerate their business growth.
4. Conflict Resolution and Problem-Solving
Conflict resolution and problem-solving skills are game-changers in handling challenging situations.
For managers, navigating conflicts with clients or team members effectively can preserve relationships and strengthen partnerships. Additionally, adept problem-solving skills enable them to overcome obstacles swiftly, ensuring smooth project delivery and enhancing the organization’s reputation.
5. Coaching and Mentoring Abilities
Investing in coaching and mentoring team members transforms managers into an exceptional leader.
By guiding their team’s growth and professional development, they foster a culture of continuous improvement and employee engagement. This approach can significantly impact team performance, leading to higher levels of productivity and innovation.
P.S. – You can even track your employees’ engagement insights with our employee engagement software .
6. Adaptability and Change Management
If managers embrace change and adjust their strategies quickly they can seize new opportunities and stay ahead of the competition. Their adeptness in change management ensures smoother transitions during organizational shifts, minimizing disruptions and maximizing productivity.
7. Delegation, Empowerment, and Succession Planning
Skillful delegation and empowerment empower managers to focus on strategic initiatives while building a capable and autonomous team. Effective succession planning ensures a seamless leadership transition, safeguarding the organization’s future.
Managers who excel in these areas create a resilient and agile workforce that can respond to challenges and drive long-term success.
In general, collaboration between managers, HR, and higher management is crucial to implement and monitor IDPs effectively. This allows managers to track their development and make necessary adjustments.
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Implementation and monitoring of managerial idps.
Once managers have established their development goals, it is essential to have a well-structured approach to implement and track their progress.
Let’s dive into the key implementation and monitoring
1. Collaborative Approach with HR and Higher Management
A successful implementation of managerial IDPs requires a collaborative approach with HR and higher management. Managers should actively involve HR professionals in the creation and implementation of IDPs.
HR’s expertise can help tailor IDPs to meet individual managerial needs while ensuring they align with the organization’s overall objectives. This collaborative effort ensures that IDPs are well-integrated with the organization’s strategic priorities, contributing to long-term success.
When higher management is committed to managerial development, it sends a powerful message about the organization’s investment in its leaders’ growth. Support from higher management equips you with the necessary resources and opportunities to succeed in their development journey.
2. Regular Progress Assessments and Feedback
Regular progress assessments are mandatory to monitor the effectiveness of managerial IDPs. They should conduct periodic reviews to track their development progress against set goals.
These assessments help identify areas of improvement, reinforce successes, and keep IDPs on track. By measuring progress over time, they can gauge the impact of their efforts and make data-driven decisions.
Gathering feedback from peers, subordinates, and superiors adds valuable insights to the assessment process. Feedback from different perspectives provides a holistic view of a manager’s performance and development. It allows them to understand their strengths, identify blind spots, and uncover opportunities for growth.
Based on performance evaluations and feedback, they can make necessary adjustments to their IDPs. Flexibility in the development process enables managers to respond to changing circumstances and refine their goals as needed. They can use goal tracker apps that will help them with creating and tracking individual development goals. With a user-friendly interface and easy-to-use features, seamlessly set SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-bound) objectives and monitor their progress over time.
By continuously improving and adapting their IDPs, they can ensure you remain on the path of growth and achieve long-term success.
Overcoming Challenges in Managerial Individual Development Plan
Challenges are inevitable in any development process, including managerial IDPs.
To ensure successful implementation, managers must know potential obstacles and strategies to overcome them.
1. Constraints and Workload Management
Managers’ days are often filled with various responsibilities and tasks, leaving limited time for their IDP. To address this challenge, managers can prioritize their development by allocating specific time each week for IDP activities. They can leverage performance management or goal setting software to help streamline their time and workload while staying focused on their development goals.
Delegate non-essential tasks to their team members and seek support from HR in creating realistic timelines for their growth. By involving their team in the process, they can collectively find solutions to manage their workload and create a supportive environment for their development.
2. Resistance to Change and Learning
Change can be met with resistance, and managers may hesitate to embrace new development initiatives. They can overcome this challenge by fostering a growth mindset and recognizing that continuous learning is essential for their leadership growth. They can –
- Look out for training programs and resources aligned with their goals and interests.
- Engage in conversations with mentors or peers who can provide support and guidance.
By actively seeking learning opportunities and embracing change, they can accelerate their development.
3. Lack of Resources for Skill Development
In some cases, access to formal training programs or resources may be limited due to budget constraints or other factors.
To address this challenge, managers need to be resourceful and explore alternative learning opportunities. They should –
- Look for free or affordable online courses, webinars, or workshops that cater to their needs.
- Tap into their professional network for mentorship or skill-sharing opportunities.
By leveraging their connections and seeking digital resources, they can continue their development journey without depending solely on formal training programs.
4. Lack of Clarity in Setting Goals
Setting meaningful and achievable goals is crucial for the success of your IDP. If managers find it challenging to define clear objectives, take a problem-solving approach. They can –
- Break down their larger aspirations into smaller, actionable steps
- Consult with their team or supervisor to align their goals with organizational objectives
- Ask for feedback and guidance to refine their goals and ensure they are realistic and relevant to your career progression
By taking a proactive problem-solving approach and leveraging strategy execution software like Peoplebox, managers can overcome challenges in their IDP and create a roadmap for their success. Remember, a growth journey is unique, and with the right strategies and resources, managers can achieve their personal and professional aspirations.
Fuel Your Individual Development Plan Goals with Peoplebox
Building a strong and sustainable future requires investing in skill enhancement through IDPs. To make this process seamless, consider leveraging Peoplebox, the best strategy execution software designed solely for your managers. With its user-friendly interface and comprehensive features, your managers can:
- Connect with their goals
- Ask for feedback
- Immerse themselves with the best OKR coaching
- Seek employee reviews
This platform helps managers get the best of all the world making it the ideal solution for their IDP. They can gain valuable insights into their strengths and areas for development through talent assessment and strategize their goals accordingly.
So, leave behind all the fuss and upgrade your managers to full potential with a comprehensive and effective IDP.
Take the first step towards success – get started with Peoplebox today!
What are good professional goals for a manager?
Good professional goals for a manager encompass a range of areas that contribute to their overall effectiveness and leadership.
Some examples of these goals include enhancing communication and delegation skills to build a cohesive team, improving conflict resolution abilities to maintain a harmonious work environment, setting clear OKRs (Objectives and Key Results) to align team efforts with organizational objectives, and fostering a culture of continuous learning to stay updated with industry trends and best practices.
How do you write a personal development plan for a manager?
Writing a personal development plan for a manager involves a structured and goal-oriented approach.
Firstly, conduct a comprehensive self-assessment to identify strengths and areas for development.
Then, set specific and measurable goals based on these findings. For example, a goal could be to improve coaching and mentoring skills to enhance employee performance.
Next, outline actionable steps and a timeline to achieve these goals. Regularly review and update the plan based on progress and changing priorities.
What is an example of a SMART goal for a manager?
A SMART goal for a manager could be to “Increase team productivity by 15% within six months.”
This goal is Specific (increasing team productivity), Measurable (15% improvement), Achievable (based on the manager’s capabilities and available resources), Relevant (contributes to the team’s success), and Time-bound (within six months).
How can managers build effective cross-functional collaboration?
Managers can build effective cross-functional collaboration by promoting open communication and fostering a culture of trust and mutual respect. Encouraging regular team meetings and cross-departmental interactions can facilitate knowledge-sharing and problem-solving.
Additionally, setting common goals and recognizing team achievements collectively can strengthen collaboration among different teams.
What strategies can managers use to handle employee burnout?
To address employee burnout, managers can implement various strategies, such as promoting work-life balance by encouraging time off and flexible working arrangements. Providing recognition and appreciation for employees’ efforts can boost morale.
Additionally, offering opportunities for skill development and career growth can re-energize employees and reduce burnout risks.
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You may also like to read:
- 55+ Employee SMART Goals Examples to Empower Your Team
Leadership Smart Goals Examples: Unlock Your Potential
- Fueling Growth with Effective Employee Review Examples
- 54 Must Ask Questions for Newly Joined HR on Their First Day of Work
- 6 Ways HR Teams Can Play a Strategic Role in Driving Business Impact
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Use peoplebox to drive high team performance & faster business results.
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- Central hub for goals, KPIs & Projects
- Run OKR-centered business review meetings (MBRs, Weeklies) effectively
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8 best practices for successful strategic account management
Reading time: about 8 min
For most organizations, the old business adage rings true: 80% of your sales come from 20% of your clients. It would make sense, then, to treat these valuable assets with greater care. Yet, too often, companies don’t have a dedicated process to nurture those key business relationships.
The work isn’t done when the sale closes. Customers big and small can churn for many reasons. The best way to avoid a costly breakup with your most valuable customers is to implement a strategic account management program.
Read on to learn strategic account management best practices and how you can nurture key relationships for long-term success.
What is strategic account management?
Strategic account management (SAM) or key account management focuses on building long-term mutually beneficial partnerships with key customers.
Through in-depth research and assessment, strategic account managers find opportunities to drive value for their partners by identifying problems, offering creative solutions, and leveraging partnerships to move both organizations toward their strategic goals.
A formal strategic account management program can:
- Foster customer loyalty.
- Stimulate growth.
- Increase profitability.
- Drive innovative and scalable service solutions.
Sales vs. strategic management
Unlike a sales program, which focuses on short-term selling cycles and customer acquisition, strategic management goes a step further to develop deeper relationships with a small number of core customers over time.
In short, sales is about the present. Strategic management is about the future.
While the gains may not be immediate, strategic accounts are a vital part of an organization’s long-term success and profitability.
Strategic account management best practices
An effective SAM program isn’t something you stumble upon. The most successful organizations rely on formal, measurable, repeatable processes to develop and maintain their most valuable customer relationships.
Whether you already have a process in place or plan to implement a new strategic account program, use these account management best practices to put your organization ahead of the curve.
1. Assign dedicated strategic account managers
The first step to a successful program is to assign dedicated account managers who are separate from sales. The best programs don’t have managers that must split their priorities or switch focus between making sales and developing strategic accounts.
Instead, create a team (or teams) with dedicated accounts and team leads focused solely on strategic management.
When filling these roles, keep in mind that sales and strategic management have different objectives and require a different skill set and approach to customer relationships.
Strategic account managers should be both analytical and personable. They need to build rapport with customers, think strategically about partnership opportunities and solutions, collaborate and communicate with high-level stakeholders and decision-makers, and lead a cross-functional team.
2. Develop selection criteria for key accounts
While all customers are valuable, not all customers can be elevated to a key account. Be selective. Strategic accounts are reserved for customers whose partnerships can propel your organization toward its goals.
How can you determine which accounts are worthy?
You’ll need to develop a shortlist of selection criteria that hone in on alignments between your two organizations. Focus on three to eight objective criteria, weighted in relative importance to your organization.
These criteria could include:
- Product fit
- Revenue potential
- Growth potential
- Cultural fit
- Geographic alignment
- Existing relationships
- Potential channel partnership
Senior management should take the lead on this stage rather than the sales managers. Selection criteria are based on the organization’s high-level strategic goals and vision, so senior managers are the best fit for this role.
3. Polish the handoff from sales
An oft-overlooked step in the SAM process is the transition from sales to account management. How well you handle account transitions is an important part of building a trusted relationship with your customers.
For best results, follow a formal, scripted handoff from the sales team to the account management team. Each customer (whether they become a key account or not) should be methodically organized and tracked in your account system.
Make sure to communicate clearly with the customer, so they understand who their points of contact are and what to expect going forward. For example, how often will you touch base with them via phone or email? Who can they talk to if they have questions or concerns? Setting clear expectations (and following through!) will foster a trusting relationship with your customer.
Learn how our sales and customer success teams at Lucidchart have perfected this handoff in this article .
4. Create a comprehensive customer profile
Once you have a selection process in place and you have identified and assigned your key accounts, you’ll need to develop in-depth customer portfolios.
The strategic account manager has to know their customer inside and out. To do this, they need to conduct research on the client company to build out a comprehensive profile.
Investigate and assess the company’s:
- Business and markets
- Goals and initiatives
- Stakeholder roles and responsibilities
- Key decision makers
- Analyst reports
The aim is to understand your customer’s pain points and goals in order to identify opportunities for added value and collaboration. Our thorough customer model overview template can help.
5. Conduct a needs assessment
With your portfolio of customer research, the next step is to conduct a needs assessment.
- What are the organization’s pain points?
- Where do your needs or goals overlap and how can you help each other progress?
- Are there any problems looming that you can anticipate and address for them?
Use your data to find ways you can help them, and assess opportunities for collaboration and partnership. Strategic accounts are long-term investments. Instead of a typical 3-12 month transactional lifecycle, you are creating a strategy for the next 1-3 years. Keep that in mind as you assess strategic needs and opportunities.
Remember: The ultimate goal of strategic account management is to grow with your customer.
6. Draft a strategic plan and proposal
Based on your needs assessment, drill down to the best strategic opportunities and draft an account plan. This plan is your strategic roadmap for the next 1-3 years. Once you polish the plan, approach your customer with your proposal.
Your proposal should include things like:
- Strategic recommendations (e.g., potential partnerships with other companies, creative solutions, etc.)
- Specific long-term goals with short-term benchmarks
- Resource requirements
This is your chance to demonstrate to the client that you’ve gone above and beyond to understand and address their needs and that your company is invested in their success.
7. Set a cadence for contacts, meetings, and follow-ups
Once you have a strategic plan in place, set a regular cadence for ongoing communication with your key accounts.
Outline a schedule for each touchpoint, meeting, and follow-up to ensure your customer is in the loop and has the opportunity to give feedback, communicate changes, or ask questions.
This schedule will help you stay updated on what your customer needs, how they are using your product or solution, and how you can help. Clear communication is vital to a strong working relationship with your customers. Our customer journey map template is a perfect way to start.
8. Monitor performance
Continually monitor and measure your performance on each account. What progress have you made on your short-term and long-term goals? How do your results measure against your KPIs?
Monitoring performance is not only important to ensure you deliver on your end but also to track how well the key account fulfills its obligations to you. While you want to drive value for the client, the goal is one of mutual long-term benefit. If the relationship no longer holds the same strategic value for your organization, it’s better to identify that sooner rather than later.
Measure your account performance continually so you can keep the plans on track and pivot or reassess as needed.
Lucid can help with your strategic account management
Strategic account management is complex. With so many moving parts, it is easy for data, insights, or people to fall through the cracks. Yet, key accounts represent the most valuable customers, so you can’t afford to drop the ball.
Lucidchart helps sales teams manage their processes seamlessly. From account maps to process flows , Lucidchart helps you visualize relationships and stay on track as you move through the account management process.
With our Salesforce integration , you can import your CRM data directly into Lucidchart to create account maps. Account maps help managers and teams:
- Identify key relationships in an organization.
- Track the progression of a sale or relationship.
- Transition accounts between reps and teams.
- Document a shareable account plan.
Key accounts are 60% to 70% more likely to close, and key accounts make up the lifeblood of many companies.
Don’t miss out on your best relationships. By implementing a formal strategic account management process, you can reap the benefits of long-term partnerships for many years to come.
Lucidchart serves as a dynamic roadmap to help your team close bigger deals faster.
Crash course in key account management: How to improve your KAM strategy
If you haven’t created a key account sales strategy specifically for your business and your clients—or if you are looking for ways to improve your current key account management process—take a look at our tips.
Why account management is key to business success
Account managers are essential to maintaining strong client relationships and a healthy bottom line. Learn the roles and responsibilities of account managers and the ways they contribute to the success of their clients and business.
How to Have Meaningful Conversations That Triple Your Sales
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Why Strategic Account Management Is Key To Business Success
Drive sales growth with existing customers through strategic account management, what is account management.
Existing customers are a critical revenue source for almost every organization. Meeting organizational growth target requires sales leaders to establish key account management processes and tools that not only retain clients, but also enable account teams to identify, develop and execute on growth opportunities within their account base.
However, Gartner research reveals that the traditional account management strategy may actually stunt sales growth .
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Role of Account Managers
Key account managers are now expected to provide service, resolve issues and maximize consumption and ROI — all while selling additional new products and services. Account managers are also expected to achieve growth by connecting multiple products together into complex solutions.
Selling these solutions is time-consuming and difficult, requiring a distinct skill set and attitude for account managers. Yet in many instances, these additional growth responsibilities have simply been added alongside traditional retention responsibilities for account managers. The result is a role so expansive sellers must inevitably choose among competing demands on their time.
Sales Account Management Channels are Falling Short of Goals
As part of the broader move to solution sales, many organizations have expanded their product and solution sets; on average, sales leaders report a 2.3x increase in the size of their sales teams’ product portfolio over the past several years.
Despite this increase in portfolio size, account management channels continue to perform below growth expectations, with cross-sell and upsell revenue falling short of targets.
Account Management Strategy
World-class organizations focus on customer improvement. However, most sales organizations have account management functions that inadvertently reinforce or even encourage the natural inclination of account managers to focus on retention through product success and service before pursuing growth.
Account managers who practice customer improvement deliver future-focused, supplier-agnostic messages on how customers can improve their business, securing both retention and growth.
How Gartner Helps CSOs With Account Management
Gartner insights, advice, data and tools help sales organization develop strategic account management and enables a seamless shift from product success and service to customer improvement. Sales leaders can start by focusing on four critical tactics:
Simplify the identification of customer improvement opportunities within accounts
Enable sellers to confidently drive growth conversations — provide them tools and support that make it easier to identify and pursue improvement opportunities.
Measure and track account growth potential
The extent to which customers believe their relationship with the supplier improved their business — a metric we call the customer improvement score (CIS) — is a strong predictor of retention and account growth. By tracking account health and viability, account teams can better determine where to direct customer improvement efforts.
Build growth-oriented account teams that can deliver customer improvement
Selling is a team sport. Structure and staff account teams to drive growth-oriented behaviors: critically evaluate customers’ businesses, deliver unique perspectives and creatively brainstorm customer improvement opportunities.
Clarify account management roles and job definitions
Provide clear delineations between customer service, customer success and customer improvement roles and responsibilities to reduce role complexity, improve efficiency and lower churn.
Questions about becoming a Gartner client?
Gartner Account Management Case Studies
What challenges were you facing that led you to seek support from Gartner?
When I first started looking at the Gartner resources, I was new in my role and had come into a company that was growing but perhaps not as strategically as they wanted to be.
What we knew is that we wanted to build a professional sales and marketing organization and we wanted to go looking for help and decided to partner specifically with Gartner for that assistance.
How did Gartner help you with this initiative?
One of the analysts helped us identify that we had a combined program for account management and sales and that the research had shown that they were, rightfully so, allocating all of their time to service and to retention and not enough time to growth. And so working with that analyst crew, we were able to go through a series of tools and actually reorg the department in order to build out a separate sales team, which led us to some really strong new growth numbers as well as retaining and growing the current clients.
Have you seen a return from working with Gartner?
Well, this year our sales growth is up 20 percent, so I certainly think that the changes in our organizational structure and the support that we got from Gartner is a part of that.
How does Gartner help you address your critical priorities?
One of my favorite resources through the Gartner relationships is actually the in-person meetings for the leadership groups. So getting to be in a room with 20 or 30 of my peers listening to the research and then talking that through with other individuals who are going through similar challenges is really valuable to me. And then following that up with the one-on-one interactions with the analysts and being able to ask questions and sift through the research individually has been tremendous at making sure that we could execute after the good ideas were surfaced in the room with the peers.
How Does Gartner Support Growth in Account Management?
Gartner helped 3pillar Global, a custom software development company, identify that their account management teams were allocating all of their time to service and retention and not enough to growth. With the support of Gartner experts and tools, 3pillar restructured the department to build out a separate sales team, which led to a 20% increase in sales growth year over year.
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Account Management FAQs
What is account management.
Account management is the practice of providing customers with service, support and improvement opportunities to increase their consumption of a product or service and maximize retention, cross-sell and upsell opportunities within the customer base.
What are the key tips required for successful key account management?
The key tips required for successful key account management:
- Recognize the “anti-shrinkage” system for what it is.
- Realize that service does not drive growth; customer improvement drives growth.
- Simplify customer improvement opportunities within accounts.
- Enable account team effectiveness.
- Get a more accurate measure of account health and viability.
How to develop an effective account management strategy?
To develop an effective key account management strategy for growth, CSOs should:
- Define what is meant by “key account” by establishing enterprise-driven key account criteria to target accounts with true growth potential.
- Align the enterprise in managing key accounts by pursuing a formal, iterative approach with stakeholders to design, develop and deliver on enterprise key accounts.
- Partner with key customers by engaging them in discussions to jointly calibrate on the right level of partnership, systematically testing account potential.
- Maintain key account program performance by systematically monitoring the health of key account relationships. When key accounts do not live up to engagement and performance standards, review those accounts’ eligibility for key account status.
What skills does an account manager need?
The key skills account managers need include:
- Strategic Account Planning
- Risk Management
- Network Building
- Product/Solution and Brand Knowledge
- Solution Building
- Customer Relationship Building
- Sales Innovation
- Customer Business Improvement
- Business Acumen & Incorporating Economic Drivers
What are the key challenges in account management?
Some of the key challenges in account management include:
- Inaccurate account management plan
- Unable to identify growth opportunities
- Prioritizing customer service and support at the expense of growth