"When charged with acquiring new business, the natural and essential first questions are: “Where is the business going to come from?” and “Who should I be pursuing?” If we are putting together a prospecting and new business development sales attack, we need to know where to go and whom to target. That’s why selecting targets is the first step in the process. Quite simply, we can’t prospect if we don’t know who the prospects are.
Most salespeople spend the majority of their time in reactive mode responding to potential opportunities that come their way. The need for a defined list of target accounts does not register because, honestly, they are not targeting anyone. However, the proactive new business hunter requires a strategically selected list of appropriate target accounts in order to launch the attack.
Selecting Target Accounts Is a Rare Opportunity to Be Strategic.
It’s surprising how often senior executives or even first-line sales managers take for granted that their people are working the right accounts. Choosing our target accounts, which effectively also means choosing how we should be investing our time, is one of the few truly strategic things we do in sales. ... Choosing the accounts on which we’ll focus our proactive energy provides a rare opportunity to step back from the daily grind and ask the important, big-picture questions.
Who are our best customers? What are their common characteristics? What do their businesses “look, smell, and feel” like? Where are they located? Are they a particular size (e.g., in terms of revenue) or in certain vertical markets or niches where we have a higher rate of success? Where can we find potential customers with similar profiles?Does our best chance for new business lie within our current portfolio of existing customers? How should we rank those current accounts and then segment our focus across various types of customers, based on growth potential? How much of our time should be allocated to account penetration, to prospecting, to working referral sources? Are there certain competitor’s accounts that make sense to attack?
These are all highly significant and strategic questions, and I advocate the involvement of senior leadership in the decisions. The sales-person is entitled to input from management to ensure there’s strategic alignment between the business and the sales effort, and management should certainly have a keen interest in how the sales organization is investing its time.
Even the best talent will fail if too much time is wasted attacking the wrong targets."
Trechos retirados de "New sale. Simplified" de Mike Weinberg.