For all the money wasted on sales training, there are many companies where when just one tenth of the same previously wasted resources are invested in refining the targets of the team for a multi-fold return.
Is it possible that you could double the number of customers that match the size of your top 10 or 20 percent of customers? If so, what would the impact be to your bottom line? Divide that incremental value by the hours it would take to accomplish the following and see how it stacks up to your other areas of focus.
In 20 years of facilitating sales strategy and sales innovation sessions, improved targeting has consistently been an area that has yielded millions in increased sales and profitability for our clients. In fact, even the sales reps instinctively know that this is a priority. When we facilitate our growth sessions with the sales teams, we’ve consistently seen the following to be the top two areas sales reps will identify as what they believe is most in need of improvement; productivity, and the quality of their targeting. The latter of which gets our clients a far greater return on their investment.
Although most individual sales reps know that they could improve the quality of prospects on whom they are calling, management and marketing usually are doing little to help them refine their target lists. Demand a quarterly review and facilitation around your priority of targets, or prospects as they are called in many teams’ vernacular.
In your efforts to greatly accelerate growth, improving the quality of the prospects and customers on whom you focus can often be one of the highest return efforts that you can pursue. If you took the 80/20 rule and applied it to existing customers and told your sales and marketing team to only focus on selling the top 20 percent of customers, would it improve your results? That is an extreme example, but we have often seen where that is the wise path in a turnaround or an accelerated growth effort. Often “firing” the bottom 20, 50 or even 80 percent of the current prospect list and only focusing on the top 20 percent may have a very profitable result. We can’t tell yet if the above strategies apply to your situation, but it proves the point about the leverage you can have in accelerating the growth of revenues and profits with this area of focus.
Having your teams and sales producers create target lists with what they believe to be their most significant and likely growth potentials and the process of auditing those lists can be a powerful focusing agent. Placing focus from farming old worn accounts and markets; to increasing time invested with much greater growth potentials. A common problem you must stop is the “trap line fishing,” which is the sales rep’s habit of calling on the older, more comfortable customers, because they are the ones with whom the rep is most comfortable but not necessarily the ones most likely to deliver the most new business.
Often our recommendations to change the commission structure to more heavily weight new customer sales versus existing turns out to be a perfect lever for accelerating growth, yet in other situations, mining existing customers for more of their potential dollar can be the more effective focus. These are just a few of the many areas we must discern in the process of targeting.
If you would like a list of growth ideas and strategies for improving your targeting and customer focus, send us an e-mail. Bottom line, investing time on prioritizing your targets will consistently build your bottom line.