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Can you add Major Account Planning to HubSpot CRM?

Hubspot CRM is a fantastic tool, and it's free! If you're looking for an easy to use, yet powerful, CRM system you really can't ignore it. You can have unlimited customers, deals and users and loads of great features. But (and you knew there would be a but) there are some limitations. For me the reporting is limited and the upgrade expensive - but I can get around that. What I really miss, what I need, is to do Major Account Planning and this is simply not there in Hubspot. Now, this is not just a complaint about Hubspot, this functionality is not available on the the full cost alternatives (Salesforce.com and Microsoft Dynamics) either. It seems that this kind of functionality is always an add-on, and that's surprising to me; but there its is. As a Salesforce user I can add a simple version of Major Account Planning for free, or buy a sophisticated add-on that might cost the same as Salesforce itself. And for our larger clients that's perfect. But what about our smaller clients, is there any option that will add this functionality to the free version of Hubspot CRM? Well the simple answer is no, there wasn't, but I'm very close to making it.

Before I start to explain how, lets backtrack, what do I mean by Major Account Planning (sometimes called Sales Account Planning), and why am I looking for an online solution? 

 

Why a Major Account Plan?
I'm mostly involved with B2B sales. Usually the sales value is high, revenues are concentrated in small number of large customers and often the sales cycle is long. If you recognise any more than two of these conditions in your business, you'll know how important those large customers are to your overall business. You can't treat them as regular sales, they are not run of the mill and they need to planned as a campaign. Whether they are existing customers or prospects you'll want a coordinated plan to make sure that everything is done to win big! Hence a Major Account Plan.

PS: I didn't invent this. Account Planning is a old as the hills, because it works and its essential. There a dozens of different types, often touted by different training companies who promote their particular flavour. In my years in Sales I have been trained in a number of them, I can't recall which, they blur as are very similar.

 

What's in a Major Account Plan?
There is a certain amount of core information that's required.

  • What's the target revenue and profit for the Account (this year)
  • What needs to happen to hit that target - what products and services will the the Account buy and by when
  • Why will the Account do this? What will it do for them? 
  • What are the threats to our plan (including competitive) and what will do to counter them?
  • What's the decision making procedure, how well are well connected to it?
  • What resources do we need to win


But that's what the Account Manager is there for...

You may be thinking that this is all the things you expect your Account Manager to know and manage; and that's true. But you can't afford to leave the planning of large sales over long sales cycles to large customers to any individual. No matter how talented they'll need help, and that they'll need co-ordination and resources. And you certainly can't rely upon the memory any individual to be your only record of what you are doing with your major customers. 

Major Account Plans are essential to inform, collaborate and share the load; but mostly they help to focus resources for the greatest results. 

 

So why do I want this on online, and why in Hubspot?
First of all Major Account Plan comes to life when its shared, regularly reviewed and updated with the latest information. And the other important point is that the different Account Plans must be comparable to each other; so that the management can see, clearly, where all the best opportunities lie. Static documents written in Excel, Word or PowerPoint just don't cut it. Even shared versions of these aren't great - sure they can be shared, but they are too flexible - and the result will be that each plan will end up being to different to the rest. And static tools are no good when you want to incorporate the latest information from your CRM system (like Hubspot). What's needed is a shared online tool, where this Plan data will sit naturally and where the sales data is totally integrated. 

Hubspot CRM is the natural home for customer data and latest opportunities (Deals) for many of our customers, and for tens of thousands of businesses around the globe. And so I want Major Account Management on Hubspot, but it's not there. And there is no Add-in, or upgrade, that offers it either.

And so .... I have started thinking about how to add it ... see next post.

 

 

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