Great Fruit Salad or just Apples and Oranges? A recipe for managing customers and prospects

January 12, 2011 - 2 minutes read

Sales organizations — particularly inside sales — choose between reps managing only customers, only prospecting, or having both in their portfolio mix. This happens for a lot of reasons, such as geography, industry and product specialization of the rep or even workload and efficiency considerations.

While customers are often measured by trailing twelve month sales, prospects are all about future revenue. So which prospects does a rep focus on, and how can sales reps allocate time that yields the best future gains from both prospects and customers?

There are several simple ways you can guide sales reps towards managing their time to call these diverse customers.

1. Rotate based on value: Set up a pattern where the reps are calling out from low to high value, of course where the current low value customers are prioritized through scoring. For every hour, allocate 15 minutes for low value customers and prospects, 15 minutes for high value prospects and 30 minutes for high value customers. Something like this should help them work across the entire portfolio every 60 minutes:

Customer Value

2. Standardize on future value only: Using modeling and predictive methods, create a future value index for both customers and prospects. You do not have to predict an exact number. Even a range is sufficient to initiate prioritization and encourage sales reps to think about customers and prospects in the same value buckets, and keep future sales in mind.

Future 12 Month Sales

3. Concentrate on similar industry or needs: Consider this scenario. A rep just sold XYZ Widgets to a customer in manufacturing in the Midwest, and you know the customer is high value, and this industry has recently shown high propensity for XYZ Widgets. Doesn’t it make sense to put it all together for the rep, so he can make the next calls to prospects that fit the same profile?

 Prospect Calls

Taking real lessons learned from customers and applying analytics to a streamlined process can ensure that your reps are focused, forward thinking and acting on emerging trends and propensities. This can also avoid the partial treatment customers often get at the risk of growing your future business.

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