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What is Account Planning? An Introduction to a New Competition Role-play


NSEC 2019’s technical sales competition introduces a new account planning roleplay designed to challenge the competitors’ collaboration skills within an organization. This roleplay introduces competitors to their account representative counterpart. The account representative and the competitors work together during this roleplay to understand each other’s goals and motivations, explore a new opportunity for a customer, discuss the feasibility of the opportunity, and understand the timeline to act.

Understanding the Role-play

Account representatives and sales engineers must understand each other’s goals and motives. An account representative receives a financial quota each year and he or she is evaluated on the given quota. Sales engineers also deal with financial quotas, but a quota is much more important to an account representative while solving a technical problem is more important to the sales engineer. This is why account representatives and sales engineers fit so nicely together. Account representatives keep an organization financially stable while the sales engineers make sure to solve customer pain as a trusted advisor, creating long lasting relationships.

During the planning session, competitors will be briefed on the current status of the customer and learn about a new opportunity the account representative discovers. This is a time for competitors to ask questions about the new opportunity. First, competitors should understand how the opportunity fits into the selling company’s strategic plan. This will not be the time to dive into the specifics of the technical problem, save that for the customer! After understanding the larger picture, competitors should ask more about the feasibility of the sale and make sure the selling company offers solutions necessary to tackle the customer’s problem.

Finally, competitors should align with the account representative on timeline and the buying process. This meeting is a good time to ask about previous sales, find out the key decision makers you need to talk and demonstrate to, and, with all of this information, make sure the account representatives timeline of the sale is realistic.

The account planning roleplay does not need to follow the exact process above, but judges will be using this process as a guide to evaluate teams. Competitors often have creative ideas we would never think of and we encourage teams to follow these ideas. Judges are not limited to a rubric.

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