When it comes to sales strategy most sales leaders simply ask their sales people to create a plan that will drive the predetermined revenue during the year. The sales team meets as a team to discuss the plans and the activity starts. Sounds simple enough right? Who are you going to call, what are you going to sell them and how much revenue can you get….Planning done!!!
If the process is that simple then why did 57% of salespeople miss there quota last year? Why does the average sales person struggle year in and year out to meet the requirements of the job? Why does it take on average 5 months for a new salesperson to ramp up in a new company? The sad truth is many companies simply hire a sales team, send them out in the field a hope for the best, and when they don’t hit their number they are replaced and the entire sad process starts over again.
Sales and Market strategy includes many steps and one of the most critical steps overlooked is the account targeting process. Account targeting is not simply a list created by the individual salesperson, it is a collaborative effort that should include many parts of the company and be based on and aligned to the overall company strategy. Whether the strategy is growth, retention, audience or simply viability it informs and directs the account targeting process
The most valuable asset a salesperson possesses is time and making the best use of that time working on the correct targets is critical to maximizing revenue production. The basic questions that inform the account targeting process are as follow:
- What is the overall corporate strategy
- What do we sell
- What market do we sell into
- What is the personality and culture of our desired client.
- What is the defined value proposition
- What is the desired lifetime value of a customer
- What is the delivery capacity and skillset of the delivery team
Once these questions are properly and thoroughly answered the sales and delivery teams can come together to determine which accounts to target. The answers to these questions allow the sales teams to become laser focused on the right targets and not waste cycles on customer that do not fit the target. This will be a challenge for the sales team as they are opportunist at heart and do not like turning down potential business, even if it does not fit the target identified.
By aligning the capabilities and capacity of the delivery team to the account targets this ensures the viability of every customer project. You can be sure the value proposition is aligned to the customer, the type of project is within the delivery teams wheel house and they have the skill sets and capability to deliver.
This process also eliminates or greatly reduces any friction between the sales and delivery teams over what is being sold and how. This is a common problem amongst many companies where the sales teams and delivery teams don’t communicate and are not aligned on strategy and targets. Proper collaborative account targeting creates a strong alliance internally and its amazing what happens when the teams are aligned.
The sales team has clear focus, is not wasting cycles and are spending their time talking with customers that are aligned to company mission, value proposition and goals. This decreases ramp up time for new salespeople, reduces sales cycle time and helps ensure the team will hit the targets.
Do not skip this step, internal alignment and focus are essential to success.
Our next few posts will focus on the creation of buyer profiles to ensure the sales team is focused on the right people within identified accounts.