Selling – go where the money is

There are several key considerations if companies are going to maximize revenue and optimize profit.  Some receive a lot of attention, some not so much.  One that might deserve a brighter spotlight is customer targeting. Bain published an insightful article entitled – How leaders get the most out of their sales force. One of the points highlighted by the authors was leading organizations “zero in on high-value customers.”  Let’s take a look at what it takes organizations and sales reps to execute on that idea. At the organizational level the authors point out companies that are getting it right not only figure out how to identify and qualify these customers, they also create the messaging and value propositions to use with these customers at each phase of the sales cycle. So what do we need to do when it comes to training the sales rep if this targeting is going to be successfully operationalized?  Four skill sets standout:

  • Decision Process. What is the decision process and who are the key players for high-value customer?  In addition what are the decision criteria these customers will use to decide between you and your competitors.
  • Value Proposition. How do you position the value proposition to the various key players involved in the decision process and how should that positioning different at different stages of the buying process and for different competitor profiles?
  • Success Stories. Being able to relate past successes related to high-value customers that resemble your prospective customer is an extremely powerful sales technique.  Reps require help developing the skills to tell those stories.
  • Buying Signals. What are the relevant buying signals for the high-value customer?  How does the rep know when to double down on the effort versus walk away?

As an expert in a totally unrelated field responded when asked why he robs banks – “That’s where the money is.”   The quote is attributed to Willie Sutton the best of the best when it came to bank robbing during the Depression era.

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©2012 Sales Horizons, LLC

About Richard Ruff

For more than 30 years Dr. Richard Ruff and Dr. Janet Spirer - the founders of Sales Horizons - have worked with the Fortune 1000 - such as UPS, Canon USA, Smith & Nephew, Boston Scientific, Owens & Minor, Textron - to design and develop sales training programs. During his career Dick has authored numerous articles related to sales effectiveness and co-authored "Managing Major Sales", a book about sales management, "Parlez-Vous Business" which helps sales people integrate the language of business into the sales process, and "Getting Partnering Right" – a research based work on the best practices for forming strategic selling alliances. Dr. Ruff received his Ph.D. in Organizational Psychology from the University of Tennessee and a B.S. from Rennsselaer Polytechnic Institute.
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