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If you haven’t, you need to…

Everyone talks about creating an ideal customer base… based on an ideal customer profile – yet the majority of organizations I work with, are full of people who HAVE account bases.
This means to have the time – energy – effort to build something, they first have to clean up / clean out what they have!
Back in November, I posted three blogs that I’m combining here because it seems (based on recent conversations) people skipped steps or might have missed a post.

Off the TOP of your head
without cheating and looking at reports or CRM

List your 10:

  1. top accounts
  2. top contacts
  3. opportunities

Could you think of ten? of EACH?
Don’t worry, most people can’t (back to that monkeysphere idea – you can’t keep track of more than 150 total relationships… not business, total).
Here is what I’ve found inside salespeople do when asked to participate in my off the TOP of your head exercise in actual training classes:

  • get frustrated
  • give up
  • say it’s stupid
  • write what they know
  • find it funny
  • say it’s enlightening

All that and we haven’t done part 2: check your accuracy, yet!
That is when we pull the actual reports, looking at the current year AS WELL AS the previous year.
Who are/were the top 10 accounts?
Who, as an individual, did the most business – both by sheer dollars AND number of “deals”?
Then look at individual opportunities.
The crazy thing is – for everyone who has ever played this game. Someone WAS not on the top of their head, but ended up in the statistical top 10 list. PLUS most people had something on their TOP of head list that wasn’t in the stats.
NOW that you thought about the very top of your list: accounts – contacts – opportunities:

NEXT I want you to look at
the accounts – contacts – opportunities
that have GOT to GO!

Be your own referee and start handing out red cards. In case you don’t know when to give a red card:

  1. a player who has committed a serious offense such as violent conduct or an illegal and purposeful obstruction of a goal-scoring opportunity for the opposing team.
  2. a player who accumulates two yellow cards for more minor offenses.

That means you’re thinking about both as you choose your list of 5:
Accounts: what makes an account most annoying? I can’t tell you – it’s a personal call – a leading indicator is you roll your eyes when activities come up in the CRM, you find reasons NOT to call, or apply basic avoidance techniques when their name is brought up.
Contacts: it’s easier to identify those non-responsive people in your sales world. They never return calls, send you emails, or think of you. When you do reach them they say things like “oh I just bought that.”
Opportunities: Years ago I worked for Charlie Lewis – he is the one who taught me about “rolling turd opportunities.” Right now look at the deals in your pipeline that have been pushed out – from a close-date perspective – more than twice. NOW, ask yourself is it a real opportunity? or do you feel like you’ve put so much effort in you’re hoping it closes?
Next, have a conversation with your manager to make sure your logic and feelings either show a serious offense or accumulated minor offenses that justify handing out a red card.
Once you’re done you have permission to THROW THEM OUT of your personal game of sales, stop wasting your time! 

Monkey in the Middle Accounts:
Might be your NEXT top account if you gave them attention
instead of throwing the ball over their head…

In the past, you’ve paid them just enough attention to have them continue to buy from you.
Yet if you did a bit of research, talked with more people, bothered to understand THEIR business: they would turn into your next BIG account. They’re doing business with other people, not just you *gasp*.
The key is to choose one at a time and really dig in.
Look at the people who didn’t make your top 10 and it wouldn’t occur to you to give them a red card.
PICK the one that feels best and start playing ball with them, instead of monkey in the middle.
Once you understand them fully and know if they can be a top account, move on to another.
Those three activities are the key to having your most profitable year YET.

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