RAINMAKER SERIES: Becoming a top sales professional – a Rainmaker – is a goal many sales professionals have. Rainmakers know that being at the top of their game builds business, impacts relationships, and generates superior customer loyalty and referral. The series that follow will explore the characteristics and behaviors that top sales professionals embrace. We hope you find this series of short informal discussions around excellence in the sales role to be useful and thought-provoking.
How Knowing Your ABCD’s Can Help You Double or Triple Your Sales
Think for a moment about the top 1 or 2% of sales people in your company. Consider the accounts and commissions they are generating, and even if you don’t know what the numbers look like, try to imagine what it would take for you to join their ranks. How many new accounts would you have to open? How many of your existing prospects would have to be turned into buying customers?
For many, the figures that come to mind seem too far out of reach to turn into reality. We aren’t bringing this up to discourage you – we promise that you do have within you the ability to become a Rainmaker. We do want to point out another difficulty that a lot of salespeople face: they don’t know how to prioritize their prospects.
If you are going to become a Rainmaker, then you simply cannot afford to chase down every potential piece of business that might come your way. There just aren’t enough hours in the day to follow up on all those opportunities, much less serve everyone who could become a customer.
And so, if you really want to grow your customer list over the long-term, you need to think about penetrating deeper instead of wider – selling more products or services to a handful of great customers, rather than a little bit to lots of good ones. That way, you can still generate larger orders, but without having to keep track of dozens and dozens of customers at once.
The first step to reaching this goal is creating what we call an “ABCD” grid. It’s a simple yet powerful tool ¬– one that can help you bring a lot more focus to your selling activities. Here is a template to get you started:
As you can see, current customers are on the left, prospects are on the right; at the same time, those with the highest potential value are the top two rows, and those with lower or unknown potential value are listed on the bottom. By filling in the appropriate list, and thinking of customers and prospects in terms of their future sales opportunities, you can start to develop a very clear picture of where you should be devoting your attention.
For those existing customers with high potential, you want to get deeper into the accounts. Existing customers that aren’t that likely to grow into big accounts should be maintained – you don’t want to lose them, but they shouldn’t be taking up a huge chunk of your time, either. The same goes for prospects: the ones with the best potential need to be acquired, while those with lower sales potential can simply be monitored for the time being.
A lot of salespeople jump blindly from one opportunity to the next, simply hoping to make a sale and improve their production. What makes Rainmakers different is their ability to put their attention where it matters, getting a much bigger return on investment for their time and energy. This kind of focus, over time, leads them to a smaller number of higher-value customers.
If you’ve never created an ABCD grid before, give it a try. You might find that you aren’t spending your efforts as efficiently as you should be. Remember, the goal isn’t to sell to everyone, but to those customers and customers who represent the best fit, and the biggest potential for future sales.