How key account planning boosts customer experience and revenues

In today’s competitive landscape, only 22% of B2B companies consistently act on their customers’ experiences (Bain). And, shockingly, more than half of key accounts fail to meet their committed quotas (Gartner). This leads us to a critical question: is there a link between elevating customer experiences and revenues?

Exploring this question further unveils the complex dynamics at play. It also underscores the pressing need for businesses to reconcile these seemingly distinct challenges in a cohesive strategy. One aimed at achieving both customer-centric excellence and sustainable financial growth.

While empirical evidence of correlation remains limited, one technology company found that their promoter customers have a 10-percentage point higher renewal rate than detractors, and a 2-percentage point higher revenue growth rate. Beyond statistics, we’ve found that the age-old wisdom still rings true: satisfied customers are more likely to remain loyal and continue doing business with us.

Cultivating happy and loyal customers is not solely the responsibility of the sales department, however. Successful key account planning requires a concerted effort across the entire organization. This includes operations, sales, customer service, finance, and senior management. Together, they must ensure they meet customer expectations and, if necessary, reset those expectations.

Many forward-thinking companies are embracing this company-wide collaboration, using strategic account planning for key accounts, even if loyalty and revenues aren’t explicitly linked and measured.

The results are compelling …

  • Cross-functional collaboration

Gartner reports that high levels of cross-functional collaboration more than double the amount of key customer spending compared to poor to mediocre collaboration levels. 

  • Account planning impact

Properly executed account planning can deliver 10%-20% topline growth from account management and sales strategies. Along with 3-5 times pipeline growth for target accounts (Bain). 

  • Comprehensive account planning

Effective organizations adopt a comprehensive account planning logic, involving all functions necessary for business success. This drives Key Account Management (KAM) excellence (Roland Berger).

  • Operational resilience

McKinsey found that fast-moving organizations with cross-functional collaboration reported 2.1 times higher operational resilience, 2.5 times higher financial performance, 3.0 times higher growth, and 4.8 times higher innovation.

  • Multi-contact structures

In today’s integrated buying centers, major supplier decisions are no longer made in isolation. Roland Berger recommends a multi-contact structure (where a decision maker at the client has several contacts, not just the KAM), which involves decision makers at the company having several contacts, as it often leads to commercial success. Providing the right counterpart who truly understands the clients’ needs, improves customer experience and loyalty.

So, what hinders companies from elevating customer experience and revenues? 

Limited impact of customer satisfaction

In B2B, measuring customer satisfaction is common, but the results often remain with customer service and marketing, lacking company-wide integration. 

Resource allocation challenges

Over 70% of key account managers still rely on internal relationships for resource allocation (Gartner), showcasing a need for formal, iterative processes and consistency. 

Lack of follow-up

Even with formal plans involving all relevant departments, most companies fail to follow up periodically (Bain), leading to a lack of accountability, shared ownership, and, most importantly, results (Gartner).

There’s ways to overcome these challenges and discover the full potential of improved account planning. 

The solutions …

  • Embedding customer satisfaction and cross-functional collaboration

    This demands finding the right sponsor, initiating clear communication, and driving profound internal changes to dismantle silos, adapt targets in alignment with strategic priorities across different departments, and maintain unwavering top-down support. 

  • Measurable satisfaction

    Make customer satisfaction measurable and create formal, iterative, cross-functional processes for action planning. Ensure corrective actions are based on customer feedback, with periodic follow-ups and “lessons learned” sessions. 

  • Process, accountability, and technology

    Support activities with the right processes, accountability, and technology. Transparency and real-time visibility into baseline, targets, actions, and progress are crucial. Encourage all employees to contribute and be heard, improving both customer satisfaction and employee morale. 

  • Effective communication

    Continuously work on improving customer satisfaction, while maintaining clear and honest communication with customers about what is feasible within given timeframes. 

How key account planning is elevating customer experience and revenues 

So, the journey towards elevating customer experience and meeting quotas through elevated key account planning is both a strategic imperative and an attainable goal for organizations in the competitive landscape of today’s B2B environment. As we’ve explored, the correlation between customer satisfaction and revenue growth may not always be evident through empirical evidence. But there is a clear and compelling case to be made for nurturing satisfied, loyal customers. 

 Forward-thinking companies are recognizing the importance of company-wide collaboration, even when the direct links between customer experience and revenue remain elusive. The results of such collaboration are undeniably promising. Cross-functional teamwork significantly enhances key customer spending, and properly executed account planning can deliver substantial growth and pipeline expansion. 

Comprehensive account planning, which involves all functions essential for business success, drives excellence in key account management

In today’s complex buying landscape, the importance of multi-contact structures cannot be overstated. Engaging decision-makers with several contacts and counterparts who truly understand client needs improves customer experience and loyalty. 

However, challenges persist in realizing the full potential of improved account planning. Customer satisfaction measures are often confined to specific departments, resource allocation remains reliant on internal relationships, and follow-up is frequently lacking, leading to missed opportunities. 

Solutions lie in finding the right sponsors, fostering clear communication, and driving internal changes that break down silos, align targets with strategic priorities, and secure top-down support. Furthermore, process optimization, accountability mechanisms, and the right technology are essential for success.  

Elevating customer experience and revenues through key account planning 

In essence, the adoption of CI principles and the effective resolution of accompanying challenges pave the way for organizations to secure a strong foothold in the market, ensuring not just short-term success but long-term sustainability, growth, and profitability. 

By consistently striving to enhance customer satisfaction and maintaining transparent, honest communication regarding realistic goals and timeframes, organizations foster a climate of trust and cement lasting relationships with their customers. 

Elevating customer experience and revenues is not just about chasing short-term gains; it’s about building enduring partnerships and delivering exceptional value to customers. This is the true foundation of sustainable business growth: echoing a commitment to meeting customer needs and consistently exceeding their expectations, even as market dynamics evolve. 

To find out more get in touch with a member of our team today!