Key Account Blueprinting

Key account management is HARD, with customer decision-makers often Hidden, Abundant in number, Reluctant to meet, and in Disagreement with each other. These problems disappear when you apply Blueprinting to a single key account. Your Discovery, Preference, and Market Satisfaction Gap meetings will impress them with your facilitation skills, and ensure you precisely understand their needs.

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PREVIEW: Key Account Blueprinting

New Product Blueprinting is the world’s leading B2B voice-of-customer methodology. It’s typically used to understand the needs of an entire market and leads to superior new product development for that market.

But some clever Blueprinting users have applied the same interview methods to one large account at a time. This is what we call Key Account Blueprinting. When they do this, they reap three benefits:

  • Retention: They work so closely with the key account that this customer doesn’t want to use competing alternatives. Competitors are stuck at a tactical relationship, while theirs becomes strategic.
  • Expanded business: They behave less like a supplier and more like a facilitator who helps the customer improve their business. Customers naturally want more of this help, including other parts of their business.
  • Pricing: They learn how to modify their products and services precisely in the ways the customer values most. Higher customer value leads to higher pricing.

To implement Key Account Blueprinting, follow these guidelines:

  1. Help your key account uncover, prioritize & decide: With traditional New Product Blueprinting, you run Discovery interviews to uncover all customer needs, Preference interviews to prioritize these needs, and Market Satisfaction Gap analysis to decide which to work on. You’ll run these same three meetings with Key Account Blueprinting, but a) hold just one Discovery and one Preference session, and b) you’ll analyze the Market Satisfaction Gap data with your key account.
  2. Facilitate like a professional consultant: When companies employ Key Account Blueprinting, they demonstrate their expertise, much as a professional facilitator or consultant would. Here are some tips to facilitate like a pro: (a) set your scope, (b) bring your top team, (c) use world-class probing skills, (d) add AI-generated problems, and (e) use Trigger Maps.
  3. Analyze the results together: This is the biggest difference between Key Account Blueprinting and traditional New Product Blueprinting: Since all the input came from this customer, you should analyze the results together. Data analysis in Key Account Blueprinting impresses customers with your process savvy and facilitation skills. While your competitors would love to know this account’s priorities, you help them decide what those priorities are!
  4. Engage all customer decision-influencers: The Challenger Customer research showed many buying teams are diverse in their job functions, geographies, and objectives. And this buying team diversity can lead to buying team dysfunction. If they can’t agree, simply ask, “How important is this from the perspective of your entire company?” It’s only when you facilitate this conversation with all the major decision-influencers that you get an accurate view of what’s important.
  5. Create a strong follow-up plan: If you do everything we’ve discussed so far—and then stop—you’ve failed at Key Account Blueprinting. Your third meeting—data analysis—is devoted to making decisions with the bubble chart and Market Satisfaction Gap charts… but also to creating an action plan. After you get agreement from your customer on which outcomes to pursue, it’s time to develop this action plan. Assign owners and timelines on the actions for each outcome: Who does what when. With rigorous follow-up and timely updates, you’ll be seen as a rare kind of supplier they’re eager to do business with.

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