A top objective of every sales leader should be to improve their win rates. Unfortunately, more and more companies are actually seeing a decline in win rates year-over-year. When you ask sales leaders the reasons for the decline you hear answers such as increased competition, difficult economic environment, unrealistic margin requirements, or poor company reputation.
True these factors can negatively impact win rates, however research shows two primary reasons are actually poorly defined prospect segmentation/definition and poor prospect qualification procedures.
According to CSO Insight’s 2011 Sales Optimization Performance report, of the companies’ surveyed, close rates of forecasted wins was 9% higher for companies with a formal prospect definition process (51% VS. 42%). That’s a pretty compelling reason to spend the time determining your prospect sweet spot for your company. (Try 3FORWARD’s Sweet Spot Matrix, a complimentary download from our Resources page.)
Building a preliminary profile is not difficult, start by looking at your current client base and profile your top 4 or 5 clients. Why were you successful closing this business and what are you doing that is keeping them happy? Once the initial list is established you can continue to refine it as time goes on.
Prospect Profile Categories to consider:
- Client vertical market industry (and your domain knowledge in that industry)
- Unique client needs that your firm satisfies better than the competition
- Revenue range of your target company
- Number of employees
Once the prospect profile is complete you can then begin building sales rep target lists by geographically or by vertical market, eliminating the issue of reps chasing the wrong targets.
For more help, check out 3FORWARD’s Finding Your Best Prospects Success Kit for a more thorough analysis of markets, targets and prospects.
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