Sales Best Practice #27 – Has a systematic set of criteria for classifying customers and prospects into ABC categories

A best practice for sales people by Dave Kahle, author and leading sales educator.

Are you Reactive or Proactive?

Today’s selling environment is jammed with an unbelievable array of “things to do.”  Left without any mechanism to take control, salespeople can easily default to a way of going about their jobs that is characterized by being extremely busy at all the wrong things.  We spend all day reacting to the pressures and demands on us.  At the end of the day, we have been busy, but we’ve accomplished little of value.

The best salespeople understand that daily temptation to give in to the urgent in place of the important.  They understand the need to prioritize.  And, when it comes to sales, the most important aspect of your job to prioritize is your list of customers and prospects.

Look at Future Potential not Past Volume

The best salespeople spend the most time with the highest potential customers and prospects.  In order to consistently do so, they need a system for classifying customers and prospects into categories based on potential – ABC.  The “A” customers are the highest potential 20 percent of their account base.  The “C” customers are the lowest potential 30 – 50 percent, and the “Bs” are everyone who is left in the middle.

Note that the discriminating characteristic is “potential.”  So many salespeople erroneously categorize their accounts based on the quantity of their purchases.  Thus, the A accounts are those who bought the most last year.  But that view is historic – who bought the most last year.  In our rapidly changing economy, that historic basis for investing your sales time is misleading.  The issue is not who bought the most last year.  It is far more effective to determine who could buy the most this year.

The best salespeople understand this, and develop a systematic way of determining the potential in each account.  Having a defendable basis for their decisions, they are then free to invest their time where it will get the best results – one of the hallmarks of the high-achieving salesperson.

This may seem so simple and common sense, yet the vast majority of sales people don’t have the discipline to adhere to a methodical system.  Those who do can see a transformational change in their results.

The best place to visit in order to dig deeper into this best practice is chapter six of my book, Ten Secrets of Time Management for Salespeople.  Visit www.salestimemanagement.com for additional resources.

If you prefer a multi-media training program, consider Pod-138 and 139 in The Sales Resource Center®.

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