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How to develop a client plan to drive growth

Growing your existing clients is a low-risk, high reward way to grow your overall business - but it's not always absolutely apparent where to start.

Below we describe a framework for developing a client plan. When we implemented a version of this in our consulting business, it helped turn 5 and 6-figure existing clients into 7-figure accounts.

You'd probably want to apply this in team workshops with a lot of brainstorming - steps 1-3 being pre-preparation to ensure that the team taking part is fully up to speed.

Ten steps to your client plan

  1. create a client background summary: key products / services, how are they structured, overview of financials, geographical presence;
  2. summarise your history with the client: what projects/services have you delivered and what were the results?
  3. summarise the client's business environment: what is the trading climate, what's their business strategy, who are their key competitors, what existing initiatives do they have?
  4. pain / opportunity mapping: brainstorm with your team - what key challenges is the client facing, and what business opportunities are they missing (because of performance issues, for instance)? What are their key metrics / goals (e.g. increase growth, increase operating margin, improve asset utilisation / release working capital, enhance customer service, better competitive positioning)?
  5. match to your services (existing services or needing development): where can you realistically help?
  6. quantify impacts on client: at a broad level categorise and quantify benefits of engaging your company in terms of the clients' goals.
  7. define your value advantage vs competition: confirm why you have a right-to-win over competitors, or versus the client doing the work themselves.
  8. define buyer roles: who are the decision-makers and influencers? Are they supporters or against your company?
  9. create your overall strategy (what your ideal outcome is with the client) and create a roadmap of key programmes of work
  10. develop your action plan against each key programme, including how you need to communicate with the decision-makers and influencers

Example Template for Client Plan

As you can see, depending on your business and sector, there can be quite a lot involved in this framework - you'll obviously want to think through what will work best for you.

To help in that process, we've attached here a visualisation of the output in a spreadsheet.

This is a real example from a consulting business, slightly redacted. Before we had this framework in place, the only client planning was in the heads of one or two people and was reactive at best. By involving more of our team, we were able to map out a small number of high value interventions to propose to our top clients, which had fantastic results* 

Interested to hear if you choose to apply some of this thinking... and how it works!

'Phil

P.S. You could use PYXI to help manage your process - for example, to manage all the data and notes about your clients, the opportunities represented by potential projects and the task-lists of actions.

You can try out PYXI business administration software free for a month with no strings attached. 

Sign up now and give PYXI a try 

Or contact us and we can talk you through the benefits and how it could work for your business.
Phone +44 (0) 845 834 0853
or email customerservice@pyxi.co.uk  


 

* we never quite got Project Guildford off the ground, though!

Published: 04-06-14 by Phil Baxter

small business, client planning, selling