Are Your Sales Reps Failing to Prioritize Accounts?

Sales Team Skills
by Liz Alton

One of the most common causes of sales reps failing to hit their goals each quarter or year is a lack of prioritization. When the pressure is on to close deals, sales reps sometimes focus on accounts that have been in development for a long time rather than focusing on the accounts that are most likely to close.

Here’s a closer look at why prioritizing your target accounts matters and some strategies for helping you effectively identify active buyers.

Length in pipeline doesn’t always signal maturity. One of the most important things successful sales reps learn is that the length an account has spent in your pipeline doesn’t always signal maturity. In fact, it can signal a lead that has gotten stale or that a buying decision won’t be made. That’s not always the case, but it’s important to look for signs of life when a deal has been languishing for a long time.

Have a process for determining prioritization. Part of a sales rep’s workflow should include asking questions to determine how likely an account is to close and which ones have the shortest timelines to maturation. By taking a deeper dive into which characteristics signal a likely buyer in your organization, it’s possible to make significant progress toward a close. Teach your sales reps to make this a regular and priority component of their ongoing vetting process and how they structure their daily, weekly, and monthly follow-up.

Focus on use case alignment. A use case explores what the need is in the client’s organization and how buyers would put your solutions into effect. When there’s a tight alignment between the buyer need and your solution, there’s a higher likelihood of a timelier closure. What issue does the client need to solve? Does this match up with your solution? The more directly you’re positioned to solve the client’s immediate problem, the better chance you have of making a sale.

Qualify by decision maker. Take the time to understand the buying process within your prospect’s organization. Does one person hold the power to make the buying decision, or are there a number of decision makers who come into play? Determine how close you are to the person who can say “Yes.” If you’re working directly with the decision maker, it’s important to escalate communication with that person in your process.

Escalate by issue. Another way to vet your sales accounts is by what issue is driving the next step. If a previous customer is contacting you and asking about another offering, for example, there’s a higher likelihood of closing the deal that is based around impetus from the client.

Not every sales account is equal, and while chasing long shots can lead to a big close, it’s important to have a prioritization strategy that helps reps identify which accounts they can close now. From gauging how close you are to the final decision maker to finding cues that a sale is imminent, asking the right questions can help your sales reps identify the quick wins they need to make a big difference in their business results.

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