August 3, 2010

Attacking the Right Targets?

When preparing for battle, a critical first step is the strategic selection of targets to attack. Along those lines, how strategic and clearly defined is your Target Prospect List?

It sounds like a ridiculous, elementary and unnecessary question. But in my
experience, more often than you’d believe, senior and sales management take for granted that the sales team is calling on the right prospects.
A lot of what we do in sales is rote, repetitive and more about doing than thinking. Target prospect selection is one of the few chances we have to be strategic. It is perplexing why sales organizations don’t spend more time ensuring that they have radar-lock on a clearly defined, focused and finite list of targets.

I’ve compiled my list of the most common reasons salespeople fail at new business development (eBook in the works). Poor Prospect Selection/Focus is surprisingly near the top. I consistently see under-performers who can’t produce a specific, written list of targets on-demand. Even more damaging is the easily frustrated hunter who has neither the tenacity nor discipline to maintain a new business attack against a specified group of targets. These frequent direction changes prevent the salesperson from building momentum or gaining traction with a defined group of prospects and usually results in failure.
New Business Basics:  Select & Segment Targets.  Create & Deploy Weapons.  Plan & Execute the Attack. Most sales training and B2B sales coaching is focused on improving Weapons proficiency. But my evidence shows a whole lot of salespeople…
a) Shooting at the wrong targets
b) Can’t readily tell you whom they’re shooting
c) Constantly changing direction to shoot at different targets
Would we be more successful if less energy was directed at how we’re shooting and more toward ensuring proper target selection and focus?