Sales Management Group

Are Your Sales Reps Spending Time on the Right Accounts?

ClockRiley is a sales rep with Titan Technologies, a hypothetical company. She sells a complex $500,000 solution that streamlines manufacturing processes.

Her sales cycle is usually 12-18 months. The effort is intense and time-consuming for her.

Riley can’t afford to spend six months on a project only to discover the prospect and Titan weren’t a good fit for each other in the first place. She needs to know that before investing a lot of time.

She is considering four companies: Standard, Acme, United and Republic. Which companies should she aggressively pursue?

Riley wants to evaluate the four companies so she knows where to spend the bulk of her time. She needs a scorecard to qualify the opportunities.  Here is how she can set one up.

Scorecard Criteria

The criteria she may use are:

  • Profile – Is the company the right size, in the right industry, with the right products?
  • Relationship – Is Riley engaged with the right decision makers?
  • Mindset – Is the company willing to invest to improve its manufacturing process?

Profile –  Does this company match the profile of Titan’s successful customers?

  • Size – Are the company’s sales big enough to afford Titan?
  • Growth – Are the company’s sales growing, stagnant or shrinking?
  • Industry Segment – Is the company in a segment that can use Titan effectively?
  • Products/Services – Can Titan enhance the company’s offerings?
  • Target markets – Can Titan improve the company’s position in its target markets or open up new markets?
  • Problem/Challenge – Does the company face the problems or challenges that Titan’s solution addresses?

A lot of this information is available on the internet and through business databases such as Hoover’s, D&B and Avention (OneSource).

The basic question is which companies are a fit for Titan? Which have the capacity – and the likely need – to justify a $500,000 investment in Titan?

If a prospect is too small or in the wrong industry segment, there may not be a fit. If that’s the case, Riley should not spend a lot of time on the prospect.

Relationship – Does Riley have relationships with the key decision makers?

A company’s profile may be a great fit, but to close more strategic deals, Riley needs to develop relationships with the key decision makers.

  • What is the decision-making process and who are the key players?
  • Is the decision maker one person or a committee?
  • Who are the “influencers” who can accelerate or sabotage the decision making process?

Riley needs to know the process and the players. Navigating the decision-making process is becoming increasingly important, particularly at larger companies.

A company’s profile may be a great fit for Riley. But if she does not yet have relationships with the decision makers and influencers, her time is better spent elsewhere.

Mindset – Does the company have the right “mindset” to want to invest in Titan’s solution?

  • Is streamlining manufacturing a strategic priority?
  • How much money is the company willing to spend to accomplish this?
  • Does the company have the rapid growth and long-term profitability required to invest in a Titan solution, which has a 3- to 5-year payback?

If a company is more concerned with short-term profitability and conserving cash, they will not be a good candidate for a Titan solution. 

The Scorecard

Here is the scorecard Riley developed to evaluate the four prospects. For her to spend focused time on any company, it must generate a score of 10 or higher.

For any attribute:

  • 4 or 5 – Very strong
  • 3 – Worth working with if other factors are 4 or 5


Prospect Score Grid

  • Standard – The company is smaller than ideal, so paying for Titan may be a challenge. But Riley has a great relationship with the CEO and believes he can push through the project. The company is very growth minded. And that is in Riley’s favor.
  • Acme – The company is big enough to afford Titan and Titan is a good strategic fit for Acme. But Riley doesn’t have a relationship with the key players. Furthermore, the company is not open to new solutions.
  • United – Titan is a perfect strategic fit for United. Riley has a reasonably good relationship with the key decision makers. The company is somewhat growth minded, so it should be open to adopting Titan’s solution.
  • Republic – The company has the right profile. But Riley doesn’t know the key players well. Also, the company is not growth minded.

Invest Sales Time Wisely

Sales time is a precious commodity. Train your reps to invest their time wisely by using a scorecard to evaluate each customer or prospect. Then use metrics and incentives to reinforce this evaluation process. 

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