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The 100 most important days of the year

If you run a B2B business, this is “go time.” We’re in the playoffs. It’s showtime. Use whatever metaphor gets your juices flowing, but it’s a crucial time to set your business trajectory for 2021.

Over the next 100 days, your clients are making plans for 2021. They are setting priorities, creating budgets, and laying out their key initiatives.

You want to be a part of that conversation!

At the same time, they are trying to spend down their 2020 budgets and finish up their 2020 initiatives.

You want to be a part of THAT conversation too!

The uncertainty that 2020 has brought complicates both of those conversations. Most of the plans made boldly in the Fall of 2019 have been adjusted, or perhaps wholly torn up!

I’m also expecting that the plans we’re going to see our clients make are going to be more modest. Instead of proposing bold initiatives, we’re likely to see more defensive maneuvers. We’re going to hear a lot about “downside risk” and conservative budgeting.

Sometimes it takes someone outside the business to inspire the bold actions that are needed. Are you that outsider for your clients?

It’s account planning season

To prepare for those crucial budget battles, I’m having account planning conversations with my agency clients where we take a look at their client’s businesses one at a time and ask:

  • What worked well in 2020? What should they be doing more of?
  • What didn’t work so well? What should they be doing less of?
  • If I was running my client’s business, what plans would I want to make for 2021?
  • How can our agency help with those plans?

Having that discussion internally helps us to have a more intelligent and proactive conversation with our clients when they are ready for those discussions.

It’s our job to lead our clients, to help them to see a future that they couldn’t see without us. This account planning exercise helps us to get our heads right so that we can be that leader our client needs when we’re face to face.

Is account planning a discipline that you engage in annually? How do you take those account plans out to your clients? When do you start the conversations about how to spend down their 2020 budgets and how to set their 2021 budgets?

Hit reply and let me know.

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