Missed_QuotaYou’re half way through May.  You missed the Q1 number and Q2 isn’t looking too good.  You’re worried.  And you should be. Over 60% of sales leaders who trail through Q2 don’t make the number.


There are many possible reasons for missing the number.  Here are some of the most common:


  • Lack of quality leads
  • Not enough A-players
  • Too much rep turn-over
  • Can’t get new-hires productive fast enough
  • Reps don’t follow the process or use the tools
  • Too much admin, not enough selling
  • Reps don’t focus on the right opportunities


Anyone of these can sink the ship.  You need to figure out which one is your Achilles heel and solve it.  In this blog, I want to concentrate on the last one – focusing your team on the best opportunities.

There are two steps to getting your reps focused on the right opportunities: Identify and Qualify.


Identify the Best Opportunities

The first step to getting your reps focused on the right opportunities is providing them a prioritized list of accounts to call on.  The key is prioritization.  Too many reps call on 2nd and 3rd tier accounts wasting precious selling time.  It’s critical to understand which accounts in your market are going to generate the most revenue over the shortest period of time.


Prioritization is the output of an account segmentation analysis.  A well done account segmentation project delivers the following:


  1. Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) Definition – The ICP defines the characteristics of the types of clients who have proven to derive the most value from your products or services relative to the effort it takes to complete the sale.
  2. Account Potential Assessment – The assessment determines the revenue potential by product or service offering for each account/prospect.
  3. Account Scoring Methodology – Leveraging 1 & 2 above, create a methodology to score accounts against your ICP and potential spend.


Qualify the Opportunities

The next step in the process is teaching your reps to qualify the opportunities.  Step #1 delivers a prioritized list, but it’s still just a list.  Your team must figure out which account on the list is ‘in the market’ for a new solution or service.


Let’s face it, most buyers are ‘not in the market’.  They are happy with the status quo.  Or the thought of change is too painful to drive change.  This is the selling environment your reps face each day.  As such, they need to learn to be world class at qualifying prospects.


There are three tools that will enable your team to qualify opportunities effectively:


  1. Buyer Personas – Companies don’t buy; people buy.  It is fundamental your reps know the key players in the buying decision process.  Buyer Personas are research-based representations of who buyers are, what they are trying to accomplish, what goals drive their behavior, how they think, how they buy, and why they make buying decisions.
  2. Buying Process Maps – A Buying Process Map (BPM) documents how each of the buyers involved in the buying decision team of your target accounts make complex purchase decisions for your products or services
  3. Trigger Event List – Trigger Events are occurrences in the lives of your buyers that move them into an active buying cycle.  Something happened in their environment that stimulated them.  They moved from ‘Not in the Market’ into a buying process.  Note that each persona has different trigger events.


Personas, BPMs and Trigger Events enable a rep to diagnose an opportunity quickly.  The best reps actively monitor their accounts looking for trigger events.  They use social media tools like LinkedIn or Google Alerts to watch for major changes in their buyers’ environment.


Call to Action: If your team is struggling to make the number, they might be focusing efforts on the wrong accounts.  You have two quarters to turn things around.  Focus your team on the best practice of Identifying and Qualifying opportunities.  Download the Opportunity Score Sheet, and get your team back on track.