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New Logos, Account Development, Hunting

by David Brock on December 20th, 2016

Recently, Don Mulhern and I were have a discussion about misunderstandings–consequently lost opportunities in prospecting, new account development, account growth.

We know prospecting is critical for all sales people.  If you are focused on new logos, you assess your territory, finding all the customers in your territory that have the problems your solutions solve.  The sales person identifies these prospects, engages them, and hopefully converts enough to POs to achieve her goals.

We spend a lot of time talking about the importance of sales people that are outstanding at hunting to find those new logos and companies, and close them.

Imagine a sales person looking at a different territory doing the same things.  That sales person is still focused on finding all the customers in that territory that have the problems the sales person can solve.  That sales person identifies these prospects, engages them, and hopefully converts enough to POs to achieve his goals.

You’re sitting there thinking, “Dave, you’ve finally proven how daft you are, you are repeating yourself, we get the importance of hunters!”

But there’s one more piece of data for the second sales person.  That “territory” represents a single enterprise.

Now you are saying, “Hold on Dave, that’s different.  That’s an account that we have to farm.  It’s different!”

How is it?  The first person’s territory may have been defined by a city, a region, an industry segment, a list of corporations.  Traditionally, we tend to think of them as customers we have not done business with.   The second sales person’s territory is defined by a single corporate name, with whom we may have done business–perhaps a lot of business.  But somehow we think of these as different.  We don’t talk about hunting within an account–but we do within a zip code.  We think the skills of someone who’s territory is a single account is different than the skills of someone who has a region.

We often label these people as farmers.  We tell them to not rock the boat, to keep the customer happy, to retain the customer, get the renewal, possibly get some upsell or cross sell.  And we ignore the opportunity to hunt within an account.

We need to change our mindsets!

We need to declare it’s our God-given right to 100% share of customer and 100% share of territory!  We need to tell our sales people that it’s their jobs to figure out how to do this!  We have to have the people with the right attitudes, skills, capabilities, to leave no stone unturned in their territories, whether the territory is a company, a city, a region, or an industry segment.  We have to have sales people that look at all the solutions/products we sell, maximizing the penetration of each into their territories, whatever those territories look like (the banking industry has referred to this as “wallet share.”)

It’s their job to find and address all the potential that exists within that territory.  This is what hunters do.  Limiting our hunting to the acquisition of new logos causes us to under perform the potential that exists in our markets and customers.

Potentially, we are under serving our customers by not uncovering every opportunity we have to create value, helping them grow and improve.

I don’t know how this misunderstanding of the potential in our accounts arose, but I see far too many organizations and sales people failing to hunt these opportunities.

I see far too many organizations falling into a “protect” mode, when they could be doing more to help their customers grow.

We need to maximize our share in all our territories, regardless of how the territories are defined!  Make sure each sales person understand that as their responsibility.  Make sure you equip them with the training, tools, programs, processes to hunt those opportunities down.  Make sure you measure and reward them on their success in doing this.

As far as I’m concerned, farming in sales is a meaningless concept.  Everyone hunts!

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