Did you ever hear the story, “Drop in me Dubuck(Iowa?), and in 2 days I'll have 5 new customers for your new product or service!". The idea behind the story is that a real sales pro can be put in any new situation and within a short period of time, sell product and start making a difference.
Well, the story is over 30 years old(I actually don't remember the specifics. ) And times have changed. Businesses are bigger and more sophisticated. You have to make sure you are adding the right type of customers. Meaningful customers.
Recently a friend of mine was hired as a sales engineer for a job shop sheet metal manufacturer. He had just relocated to a new area of the country. He was hired by this company to create MEANINGFUL SALES. That is, find accounts that can contribute at least $500,000 in sales to his new company. (Current revenues of the company exceeded $25 million, any new account less than $500,000 wouldn't contribute to profits. )
So he called me to discuss strategies about attacking the territory. After reviewing the company's core competencies, we defined who should be our prime TARGETS. The list was then developed. After searching through several industries - medical, defense, instrumentation and business machines, we came up with a list of 75 companies to be contacted. We were quite confident that within that group of companies, 5 companies would stand out as the ones to work with. Remember, timing is everything.
I reminded Roger that even though he may be selling for the best and a very competitive sheet metal company in the area, most companies are not necessarily looking for a new vendors. The complex sale has a longer sales cycle than ever before. So it is very important to find the prospect that is most likely to select your company.
The key strategy for success was to limit(10 at the most) his prospects to the ones that are most likely to do business with him. And then find reasons to talk with them, meet with them, mail them stuff. So that when they are looking for a new vendor, they only think of you.
If you make your target list too big, you'll never spend the time with each prospect to ever gain enough MEANINGFUL SALES .
Carl Kruse is a sales engineer, coach and consultant in the contract manufacturing business. He travels internationally developing supply chains for his clients. His blog is http://www.manufacturingtips.com