The latest CSO insights survey1 reported that approximately 43% of sales executives believe their organization’s ability to prioritize accounts and focus sales efforts needs improvement. If you are in this group, here are some considerations to help ensure that sales efforts are aligned to the highest priority accounts and prospects:
- Business Planning – Business plans should prioritize accounts based on current and potential revenue, with prospects based on potential revenue. Far too often, sellers spend a majority of their time focused on high revenue accounts that have limited growth potential. While these accounts need to be maintained, a far greater ROI can be realized by focusing selling efforts on high potential accounts and prospects. In addition to prioritizing accounts and prospects, business plans should also identify and prioritize corresponding sales activities.
- Sales Management Cadence – Developing a business plan is a great way to identify and prioritize sales activities; however, to ensure that planning translates into actions and results, a sales management cadence should also be implemented. The first sales management activity is the annual review of each seller’s business plan with sales management. Quarterly reviews should then be conducted to review business plan goals and progress towards the goals and to identify any sales activity adjustments. Lastly, sales managers should review business plans before field observations and 1×1 meetings with sellers to ensure that sales activities are being executed and that the time being spent on lower priority accounts and prospects is minimized.
- Productive Sales Time – Increasing productive sales time will allow sellers to focus on a greater number of high priority accounts and prospects. Conduct a survey or observe how much productive sales time an average seller has in a typical week. You’ll often uncover administrative time savings or in-person meetings that can be accomplished via the phone. Also, ensure that sales meetings are productive by having sellers consistently develop and execute pre-call plans. These plans should clearly state the sales meeting objectives and the tactics for how those objectives will be achieved.
- Coverage Analysis – Rolling-up business plans will give you an indication of the total current and potential revenue across all territories. Given this information, define an “ideal territory” that consists of a target mixture of current and potential revenue; then, compare individual territories to the ideal to determine outliers and opportunities for territory and coverage realignment. Also, consider placing your top sales resources in the territories with the highest revenue potential.
Implement these four practices, and you’ll soon become part of the 57% of sales executives who are satisfied with the way their organizations prioritize accounts and focus their sales efforts.
1 2014 Sales Optimization Survey from CSO Insights