If you don't have strategic key account plans, you're not doing key account management

If you are a KAM programme director, it's worth considering the benefits of having all your key account pans in the same format, easier for everyone concerned to get used to reading, easier to compare, easier to identify worthwhile developments. This format for an account plan has been used by many international and national companies, with a few tweaks to ensure that the product groups, currency, timescales and issues particular to their sectors have been appropriately represented.

If you are a key account manager with a strategic plan to write for your key account, you should put your effort into the right content, rather than spending your time trying to decide on a layout. This format allows you to say everything you need to say, somewhere. The worksheets (see separate download item) can help you decide what you want to say.

Adapt and adopt

  • The format may look long, but you should consider that if this customer offers major business for the company, your intentions for it should be properly represented. If you decide to shorten it, think carefully first about what you leave out, and whether that breaks the logical chain of development which is important to carry your readers and decision-makers with your plan.
  • The plan is in Word, because it's the most flexible format and everyone knows how to use it. Excel isn't needed because your historical numbers should be reasonably top level, and your future numbers shouldn't be derived automatically. Far too much time is wasted on plans in PowerPoint looking for pictures, positioning objects and changing font size – so they are often content-light and have far too many pages.
  • The plan framework contains notes for the writer in red, a kind of manual to help you complete it. These notes should obviously be deleted in the final draft. In many cases they refer to the worksheets to help you look for the information appropriate to each section. You don't have to use the worksheets, but it helps!
  • Grey spaces indicate where you might have something to say. They are just a prompt – they don't define how much you write, and you can add comments anywhere else where relevant.
  • Write concisely but don't leave out anything important. If you have all the data to hand (you should, it’s your key account) the job is much quicker. Give yourself some phone and email-free time and space to think, and to write.
  • The executive summary is for senior readers who may not read the rest of the plan. Make sure it contains all and only important points.