Many reps echo this very statement, using it as an excuse to not put more effort into actively prospecting. It’s a common explanation of why the rep in question does not need to spend more time hunting.
This response is a clear sign that your sales force has grown stagnant and needs to be challenged.
Let’s put this concept into practice. Your rep makes the statement that he or she “knows all the major companies in his or her territory”. As a sales leader, you need to put this claim to the test. How do you do this?
Using a sales analysis framework will test the claim. The following process details the best sales strategy practice to find the answer to this question:
1) Review and analyze the rep’s customer base.
2) Build a profile based upon firmographic information for your best customers. Firmographics is a fancy word used to reference any piece of information that describes a company or firm. The following are examples of Firmographic data:
- Annual revenue size
- Year-over-year sales or income growth
- Number of employees
- Industry/vertical type
3) Use the best client profile to predict the companies most likely to buy your products. The profile will identify organizations with the highest affinity to your product portfolio. For example, your business might achieve most of its sales in the pharmaceuticals industry combined with organizations with a minimum of 500 total employees.
4) Once you have identified the “Ideal Client Profile” for the businesses most likely to buy your products, search a business database and pull companies that fit the profile in your rep’s territory. Many strong business database options are available to run this analysis. Below are several examples:
(Let us know in the comments area what your favorite business databases are and if you have used them for similar sales analysis & territory prospecting)
5) The output of this exercise reveals how many true prospects actually exist in your rep’s patch. Compare this analysis to your sales rep’s homegrown prospect list and/or opportunities loaded into your CRM tool, and you will have the result.
The outcome of this exercise will give you a good feel as to whether or not the territory is truly covered and understood by your sales rep. Is there more potential, or does the rep have a handle on it? More often than not, the result will surprise you!
As 2012 approaches, it is crucial to answer this question. Challenge the status quo. Don’t simply rely on what you are told. Use this sales analysis methodology to fully understand true territory potential.