Last week, I had lunch with my college roommate. We’d lost touch through the years, but I recently found him on LinkedIn. He was connected through my contacts and showed up in one of my searches. We reminisced, but the subject soon turned to business and careers. He’d been successful for years and had become a top salesperson in his industry. However, even with all his success, he recently struggled in making his number.
I asked about his territory and where he was spending most of his time. He explained he’s been focused on adding new accounts instead of nurturing old ones. He felt that his current clients’ weren’t going to do enough to help. He convinced himself that a new strategy would be the answer to his problem.
New Business vs. Current Accounts
It takes longer to acquire new customers than to sell to an existing one.
Nurturing current accounts also produce shorter sales cycles and more productive sales reps. It creates a faster path to revenue attainment. However, 70 percent of firms have yet to develop strategic relationships with customers. Only 12 percent of CSO’s believe their customer view them as trusted partners. The majority consider them as only as vendors or suppliers.
Being a trusted partner with customers can improve results.
How do I know which are the “right” customers to pursue?
“You will never reach your destination if you stop and throw stones at every dog that barks.”
– Winston Churchill
The first thing to understand is that one size does not fit all. You can’t be everything to everyone. Each customer is different and has their own unique set of desires.
The goal is to identify the primary factors that define an ideal customer.
Begin by listing out as many factors as possible. Once you have an exhaustive list, assign weights to each factor according to importance.
Factors you might consider:
- Annual Revenue
- Access to decision makers
- Executive support
- Geography (Travel Time)
- Company growth rate
- Age of business
- Industry type
- Size of company (# of Employees)
- Propensity to outsource
- Regulatory issues
- Length of current contract
- Financial strength
- Changes to the budget
- Satisfaction with current provider
As you assign weights, consider how the factors might affect a target’s attractiveness score. Customers with a higher propensity to buy have a shorter sales cycle.
You have your list, now what?
“Focus on the 3, not the 30”
-Ryan Munn, Global Learning and Development
Our research shows that A-Players maximize their face-to-face selling time. They do so by focusing on their top accounts (3-5) with the highest scores.
Anymore than this is counter-productive.
Productivity increases on average 35% when Company Resources is involved early in Sales Process
– Corporate Visions
A majority of CSO’s indicated they need to improve their cross-selling and up-selling capabilities:
A-players are also constantly looking for ways to expand each inside current accounts. While in these accounts, A-players leverage everyone.
It’s not WHAT you know, it’s WHO you know.
Schedule time with your boss or team to evaluate your strategy.